The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation ➤ The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation Ebook ➪ Author Carl Benedikt Frey – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk How the history of technological revolutions can help us better understand economic and political polarization in the age of automationFrom the Industrial Revolution to the age of artificial intellige How the history of technological revolutions can help Trap: Capital, MOBI ☆ us better understand economic and political polarization in the age of automationFrom the Industrial Revolution to the age of artificial intelligence, The Technology Trap takes a sweeping look at the history of technological progress and how it has radically shifted the distribution of economic and political power among society s members As Carl Benedikt Frey shows, the Industrial Revolution created unprecedented wealth and prosperity over the long run, but the immediate consequences of mechanization were devastating for large swaths of the population Middle income jobs withered, wages stagnated, the labor The Technology PDF/EPUB or share of income fell, profits surged, and economic inequality skyrocketed These trends, Frey documents, broadly mirror those in our current age of automation, which began with the Computer RevolutionJust as the Industrial Revolution eventually brought about extraordinary benefits for society, artificial intelligence systems have the potential to do the same But Frey argues that this depends on how the short term is managed In the nineteenth century, workers violently expressed their concerns over machines taking their jobs The Luddite uprisings joined a long wave of machinery riots that swept across Europe and China Today s despairing middle class has Technology Trap: Capital, Kindle × not resorted to physical force, but their frustration has led to rising populism and the increasing fragmentation of society As middle class jobs continue to come under pressure, there s no assurance that positive attitudes to technology will persistThe Industrial Revolution was a defining moment in history, but few grasped its enormous consequences at the time The Technology Trap demonstrates that in the midst of another technological revolution, the lessons of the past can help us to effectively face the present.


10 thoughts on “The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation

  1. Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin says:

    This book looks at the relationships between technology and Capital, Labor, and Politics It focuses on technology s relationship to industrializing Britain, America of the Second Industrial revolution about 1870 to 1970, and America s current economy which often goes by the name of the information economy Industrializing Britain with its Dark Satanic Mills resembles our current information economy in the hollowing out of the middle and declining conditions for labor in a growing economy overal This book looks at the relationships between technology and Capital, Labor, and Politics It focuses on technology s relationship to industrializing Britain, America of the Second Industrial revolution about 1870 to 1970, and America s current economy which often goes by the name of the information economy Industrializing Britain with its Dark Satanic Mills resembles our current information economy in the hollowing out of the middle and declining conditions for labor in a growing economy overall The growth and prosperity were limited to a narrowing sector of society even though the average per capita income was increasing due to the productivity of a small sector This growing income inequality and dislocation of workers caused populist rage among people left behind In the 19th century, this lead to Marx and Engels and their critiques of capitalism It is no surprise that Marx is making a comeback in this populist era of rage along with the resurgence or rage on the right wing which is making for an ugly politics worldwide Both the present and the Britain of Dickens looksimilar for labor than the second industrial revolution which hadwidely shared prosperity The author points to labor saving technology as a double edged sword it enables and replaces In the current economy, it enables symbolic workers and replaces jobs that are rote and routine This means a lot of jobs that previously empowered an army of factory labor in the second industrial revolution have replaced by automation and offshoring while pay for certain types of skilled labor has paid dividends in IT departments, among quants, and in Silicon Valley These developments have lead to a polarization in the economy and income inequality and a hollowing out of the middle class, and many workers displacement into the low paid service sector leaving many a growing sense loss and rage This is a problem for our politics and it seems likely that these trends will continue at least for the near term The author, however, offers some hope by pointing out in this work that we have been here before and found a way out before Our way out, as usual, will at least in part have to be hammered out in politics


  2. Daniel Daniel says:

    Technology helps society to progress but causes massive and permanent disruptions to many people s livelihood throughout history There are 2 kinds of technology the replacing type that makes Labor redundant, and the enabling type that makes skilled workersproductive 1 There have always been inventors who think of smart ways to do things better However, the industrial revolution did not happen for a Long time 2 This is because feudal rulers feared civil unrest as machines replace Lab Technology helps society to progress but causes massive and permanent disruptions to many people s livelihood throughout history There are 2 kinds of technology the replacing type that makes Labor redundant, and the enabling type that makes skilled workersproductive 1 There have always been inventors who think of smart ways to do things better However, the industrial revolution did not happen for a Long time 2 This is because feudal rulers feared civil unrest as machines replace Labor So they suppressed automation That is, until England realised that without automation it will lag behind other European countries Frey argues that this is the main reason the Industrial Revolution happened in England China managed to suppress automation until the 20th century and that led to a century of decline 3 Many examples were given, such as the lamp lighters disappeared livelihood when oil lamps were replaced with electric ones Unfortunately usually those people found it very difficult to get new skills and new jobs 4 So the Luddites destroyed machines Only when the English government sided with the industrialists did automation continued 5 Over the past 30 years the real wage of people with poor skills had plunged Sometimes whole industries and towns are decimated by automation and globalisation So people become upset 6 With AI it is likely that skilled workers will further improve their productivity, where the poorly skilled will have only lousy jobs to do.7 Even then AI replacing Labor will take a Long time because whole new complementary support systems must be built and new skills learnt Also angry people who lose their middle class jobs will vote for leaders whom they think will protect them I.e populists 8 What can be done Universal income costs too much Also people actually like to work Free preschools help the poor kids Changing land zoning laws allowhouses to be built around cities with new jobs Free childcare allow single parents to work and not worry 9 If centrist governments do not do anything, the people will lose hope on them and vote for populists


  3. Keen Keen says:

    3.5 Stars In America, labour productivity has grown eight times faster than hourly compensation since 1979 Even as the American economy has become muchproductive, real wages have been stagnant, andpeople are out of work consequently the labour share of income has fallen I would like to have given ain depth review of this book, but the truth is I have been battling with a couplestinkers in between, which diverted my attention Frey does what not enough American or any 3.5 Stars In America, labour productivity has grown eight times faster than hourly compensation since 1979 Even as the American economy has become muchproductive, real wages have been stagnant, andpeople are out of work consequently the labour share of income has fallen I would like to have given ain depth review of this book, but the truth is I have been battling with a couplestinkers in between, which diverted my attention Frey does what not enough American or any academics can do in that he writes with authority and clarity whilst remaining accessible to people who are not just fellow scholars or undergraduates There is no iron law that postulate that technology must benefit the many at the expense of the few Frey takes a reasoned, balanced approach, he illustrates the many great benefits that everyone has gained from the advancements in technology, less laborious or tedious manual work and better, cleaner working environments for most people in most places and that s before we even get to the many wonderful developments in medicine Only half of Americans born in 1980 are economically better off than their parents, compared to 90% of those born in 1940 He gives both sides of what has happened during various phases of automation, mechanisation and computerisation, with a specific emphasis on the US and draws many well reached conclusions and explanations So overall this was a really enjoyable read and I learned a lot and I would certainly recommend this


  4. Randy Randy says:

    The author did a fantastic job in covering the roles technologies played in history, especially about the distinction between enabling technologies vs worker replacing ones Also, AI is a very pressing topic The author correctly pointed out that the challenges ahead lie in in the area of political economy, not in technology itself.It seems that he tried to explained what caused the economic situation in US No doubt, as the author demonstrated that computer revolution and automation has play The author did a fantastic job in covering the roles technologies played in history, especially about the distinction between enabling technologies vs worker replacing ones Also, AI is a very pressing topic The author correctly pointed out that the challenges ahead lie in in the area of political economy, not in technology itself.It seems that he tried to explained what caused the economic situation in US No doubt, as the author demonstrated that computer revolution and automation has played a big role in the last several decades However, the analysis was fatally flawed Without discussing the economical and the philosophical theories behind it the neo liberal orthodoxy , the author s conclusion was way short For example, shareholder value s ultimate importance, enthusiastic pursuing of deindustrialization and globalization Those were made largely by choice.NAFTA was supposed to be good for US overall, according the prevailing economists Apparently, it created winners and losers Were the losers helped compensated enough well, there s the question how much is enough My guess is not


  5. Peter Tillman Peter Tillman says:

    Good review at the Inquisitive Biologist, which you should read if you are thinking of reading the book There are two take home messages in this book First, whether technology is opposed depends on whether it will hit people where it hurts their wallet Second, as history shows, successful opposition requires the support of those in power Without it, resistance is futile This might seem self evident, but what I found eye opening is the distinc Good review at the Inquisitive Biologist, which you should read if you are thinking of reading the book There are two take home messages in this book First, whether technology is opposed depends on whether it will hit people where it hurts their wallet Second, as history shows, successful opposition requires the support of those in power Without it, resistance is futile This might seem self evident, but what I found eye opening is the distinction Frey makes between enabling and replacing technologies, as not all technology is the same Enabling technology is usually a boon to workers, making themproductive or lightening physically demanding tasks Replacing technology, however, usually meets with fierce opposition, as it makes people s jobs redundant As an example, where motorised vehicles were an enabling technology compared to horse drawn wagons that improved the job of professional drivers, self driving cars promise to be a replacing technology that could mean mass unemployment.These clearly formulated messages are embedded in a grand chronological narrative of technological development and its impact on human labour, providing a much needed and mightily interesting perspective Frey takes the reader from the agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago through to the eve of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, which he examines in detail This period of steam driven mechanization and job replacement led into the Second Industrial Revolution around 1880 with the discovery of electricity The book s focus shifts to the experience in the United States, which emerged as a powerhouse of manufacturing This time around there was less resistance as living conditions improved and incomes were levelled across the board That brings us to our current era where automation has emerged as a new disruptive force and inequality has grown once again Finally, Frey carefully considers the future, with the looming spectre of AI promising further upheaval a question I had never considered, why did it take so long for the Industrial Revolution to happen Consider that historically there was no shortage of technological ingenuity and technical skill From the engineering feats of the Greeks and the Romans who wereinterested in warfare than industry, through yes, even the Dark Ages that saw windmills and ultimately the printing press, to the many scientific discoveries and inventions of the Renaissance Leonardo da Vinci was but one of many inventors who were centuries ahead of their time We had mechanical clocks, telescopes, and barometers long before the Industrial Revolution So why the wait Frey convincingly argues that the answer can be given in one word.Resistance.This is the technological trap of the book s title As also shown in Sheilagh Ogilvie s recent book The European Guilds, craft guilds shaped the economy for centuries They looked out for their members and opposed progress, either legally or by force Frey provides many examples of violent riots destroying early inventions And guilds saw themselves supported by the ruling classes who feared social unrest, with royal edicts banning machines It highlights one of the book s central messages that successful opposition needs the support of those in power An interesting book I m surprised I m only just now hearing about it Well, lots of recent distractions, eh


  6. Otto Lehto Otto Lehto says:

    After co authoring a hit academic paper on the effect of automation on employment, what do you do next Carl Frey returns with a long and I mean LONG book about technological unemployment The book is indulgent in its extensive historical survey but alsothan competently researched and timely.The book is 80% a summary of other people s research and only 20% based on Frey s own research This is by no means a bad thing, since too many intellectuals stray beyond their field of expertise w After co authoring a hit academic paper on the effect of automation on employment, what do you do next Carl Frey returns with a long and I mean LONG book about technological unemployment The book is indulgent in its extensive historical survey but alsothan competently researched and timely.The book is 80% a summary of other people s research and only 20% based on Frey s own research This is by no means a bad thing, since too many intellectuals stray beyond their field of expertise with bold declarations of scientific breakthroughs There is nothing hubristic about Frey s account despite the long time scale and the broad strokes account He carefully and exhaustively documents the best available literature on historical waves of industrialization and technological change The fact based account proceeds smoothly and mechanically like on a Fordist assembly line from the past to the present before modestly peering into the future.The book never quite manages to advance a novel theoretical point beyond the unoriginal albeit credible point that history repeats itself and governments need to ameliorate the suffering faced by temporary losers of technological progress Secondly, it takes too long to get anywhere After reading it, I felt nourished but also a little bloated Obsessing over irrelevant technical minutiae of industrial organization seems like a waste of everyone s time The resulting elephantine size of the book is not warranted by the slimness of the original contribution, and it feels like a mismatch for a middle brow book looking for a wide audience Despite these faults, Frey s tome synthesizes policy relevant material from a vast literature in a timely way that challenges several common assumptions It is written in a modestly engaging style that is serviceable for the dry and dismal task at hand As an assemblage of facts with a minimal layer of normative conclusions, I would recommend the book to people who are econ nerds, history nerds, or best yet econ history nerds


  7. Trey Shipp Trey Shipp says:

    In a 2013 study, Frey and his Oxford colleague Michael Osborne concluded that almost half of U.S jobs are at risk of being automated by AI and robots In this book, Frey tells us what happened in the past when people s livelihoods were threatened by machines.The reader should be warned that this is a long book Frey includes an overview of the history of technology from the 1700s till now, making some chapters feel like a condensed version of Robert Gordon s The Rise and Fall of American Growth In a 2013 study, Frey and his Oxford colleague Michael Osborne concluded that almost half of U.S jobs are at risk of being automated by AI and robots In this book, Frey tells us what happened in the past when people s livelihoods were threatened by machines.The reader should be warned that this is a long book Frey includes an overview of the history of technology from the 1700s till now, making some chapters feel like a condensed version of Robert Gordon s The Rise and Fall of American Growth It s not a bad summary, but the best parts of this book describe how jobs and technology have collided in the past.Here are some of Frey s key points The key distinction to make with technology is whether it assists workers with their jobs, making themproductive, or completely replaces workers, eliminating their jobs While pattern recognition helps the dermatologist diagnose skin cancer, it doesn t replace the dermatologist However, speech recognition used at the drive through at McDonald s and Taco Bell is designed to eliminate jobs The same is true for self driving trucks Before the First Industrial Revolution, workers typically resisted any technology that would put them out of work They usually won because the royals and landowners who held political power feared massive rebellion Following worker riots against automatic looms in Europe, Germany prohibited the machines for 40 years Charles I banned the casting of buckets because he didn t want to put the traditional craftsmen out of work Tsar Nicholas I would not even allow industrial exhibitions in order to prevent new ideas about factories from spreading But during the First Industrial Revolution, which began around 1769, Britain wanted to compete economically with other countries, and British cities were competing against each other So when the silk and cotton textile industry built the first factories and automated the spinning and weaving processes, the government protected them Parliament passed an act that made the destruction of machines a crime punishable by death The Luddites rioted, andthan 30 were hanged Factory jobs were simplified so children could be the robots of the day In the 1830s over half of the workers in textile factories were children The lives of the displaced artisans suffered They lost income, died earlier, and the height of their children would be lower, indicating malnutrition Ultimately the new factory productivity brought Britain great wealth But it took over 50 years for the average person to see the benefits come to them The Second Industrial Revolution that took place in America beginning in the 1870s was a very different experience Electricity, automobiles, and mass production introduced new technology into the workplace But Frey believes most workers saw this technology as helping them, not replacing them Wages and benefits rose for the middle class, and income inequality fell Since 1980, wages for the middle class have fallen behind Unskilled factory jobs that require only a high school diploma have either been sent abroad or automated Frey thinks this trend will continue Jobs that require the least education and skills are the most likely to be automated by AI and robots Of note, Frey does not believe we will see massive job losses anytime soon Instead, he repeats Roy Amara s famous adage We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run


  8. Rajesh Kandaswamy Rajesh Kandaswamy says:

    This is a detailed book on the relationship between technology emergence, how they are resisted or adopted and the eventual benefit to society if it occurs The book s aim is to draw lessons from the past as we ponder how AI and automation will impact work, employment, and prosperity For anyone interested in the history of technology and its role in the improvement of our lives, this is a wonderful read Neither are the prescriptions novel and nor does the author profess that they will surely w This is a detailed book on the relationship between technology emergence, how they are resisted or adopted and the eventual benefit to society if it occurs The book s aim is to draw lessons from the past as we ponder how AI and automation will impact work, employment, and prosperity For anyone interested in the history of technology and its role in the improvement of our lives, this is a wonderful read Neither are the prescriptions novel and nor does the author profess that they will surely work This tentativeness is a relief, rather than a fault since it avoids trivializing the issues at hand with too quick an answer But the book is deep in analysis of a prolonged period while being specific enough on many technologies that have left a lasting impact The books cover the Roman period, the middle ages, and all the industrial revolutions The value is in the extraction of the main causes, not in offering any uncovered and unexpected ideas Hence my short summary of this noncontroversial but useful book risks not giving it its due Rich examples and lucid prose make this an engaging read for the most part Some aspects that stood out for me are below in no logical order or scope We have accepted enabling technologies and rejected replacing technologies Technology s impact on the ruling class especially in Europe played a key role in paving a path for it or not This is covered wonderfully, especially in how those in power felt that technologies need to be allowed and nurtured for their country to compete in an increasingly global economy Each of these technologies and their growth are covered well agriculture, printing press, steam power, automobiles, electricity, automation, and I am sure I miss a few Electricity had a significant impact on the American household and other countries , their work, freeing up of women s time and their subsequent entry into the workforce The advent of automobiles and how it opened up new needs and possibilities and eventually boosted the economy The relationship between technology emergence, creation of new economic opportunities, need for new skills and their development and economic prosperity Deftly and in detail, he draws how the enabling technologies take a different path from replacing technologies The emergence of the middle class, their congregation in cities, them being treated as a voting block to be wooed compared to the agricultural workers who have been displaced He also has some interesting ideas on big cities vs small cities, racial history of unions and its impact Some of his ideas provide an alternate not contradictory angle to the issues that Francis Fukayama addressed in Identity The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment my earlier review here.He urges us to take that threat posed by AI and automation seriously His recommendations include education, deeper engagement by policymakers and subsidies like earned income credit His policy prescriptions are tame and hint whether knowingly or not that while history can help us prepare, it does not provide sure answers


  9. James Giammona James Giammona says:

    If a technology destroys some jobs, it will makejobs elsewhere This was true for the past hundred years in the US during the Second Industrial Revolution, but it wasn t true in England during the First Industrial Revolution And it looks like advances in AI will cause displacement and unemployment and not an abundance of new jobs This book served as a good overview of the past four hundred years of technological change and gave good vignettes of what worker s lives were like in different If a technology destroys some jobs, it will makejobs elsewhere This was true for the past hundred years in the US during the Second Industrial Revolution, but it wasn t true in England during the First Industrial Revolution And it looks like advances in AI will cause displacement and unemployment and not an abundance of new jobs This book served as a good overview of the past four hundred years of technological change and gave good vignettes of what worker s lives were like in different periods The main theses are as follows.There are two types of technologies, labor replacing and labor augmenting Throughout history, technology was assumed to be labor replacing and so was opposed by elites to prevent social upheaval by those put out of work e.g Roman emperors executed some inventors for this reason Then, trade led towealth and therefore political power among the merchant classes and interstate competition meant that technological progress was necessary for military and political strength The British state supported the introduction of labor replacing technologies and senttroops to quell the Luddite riots than they did against Napoleon These first technologies hollowed out the middle class by replacing skilled artisans by child labor Then, machines becamecomplex and semi skilled labor becamevaluable and average wages finally started to increase after 5 8 decades of stagnation.The second industrial revolution also required semi skilled labor and led to average wages following productivity increases and a broad increase in the size of the middle class.Unfortunately, since the 1970s and the computer revolution and now with the rise of AI, semi skilled middle class jobs are again being automated or globalized away leading to a hollowing out of the middle class as in the beginning of the first industrial revolution The main conceptual idea from the book is a quadrant with labor replacing and labor augmenting on one side and a high or low supply of skilled workers from the education system on the other.The first industrial revolution was labor replacing Then it became labor augmenting and there weren t enough skilled laborers so labor s wages increased Then the supply of skilled laborers increased and their wage premium went away, but their wages tracked productivity increases.Now, we have labor augmenting technologies that are only accessible by the highly skilled and our education system cannot produce enough supply, leading to high wage premiums for the skilled And labor replacing technologies are removing middle class jobs for the semi skilled Overall, this book gave me a great frame work to understand the broad forces of technological progress and their effects on society and gave me strong arguments to be worried about the near term future


  10. Mikael Raihhelgauz Mikael Raihhelgauz says:

    Alati, kui kuskil r gitakse tehisintellekti leviku ja automatiseerimisega kaasnevatest probleemidest, tuletab mingi rahustav h l meelde, et t stusrevolutsiooni ajal olid rahval samad mured, aga, vaat, h sti l ks ja t nap eval oleme tehnoloogilise arengu t ttu k vasti rikkamad kui 18 sajandil See on ige Ent enne ldise heaolu saabumist kannatas mitu t liste p lvkonda k vasti langenud elamistingimuste all Frey ei tegele hirmutamisega, vaid toob argumenteeritult v lja, miks t turu muutumi Alati, kui kuskil r gitakse tehisintellekti leviku ja automatiseerimisega kaasnevatest probleemidest, tuletab mingi rahustav h l meelde, et t stusrevolutsiooni ajal olid rahval samad mured, aga, vaat, h sti l ks ja t nap eval oleme tehnoloogilise arengu t ttu k vasti rikkamad kui 18 sajandil See on ige Ent enne ldise heaolu saabumist kannatas mitu t liste p lvkonda k vasti langenud elamistingimuste all Frey ei tegele hirmutamisega, vaid toob argumenteeritult v lja, miks t turu muutumistega kaasnevad hirmud ei lahene iseenesest ning v rivad erilist hiskonna t helepanu Teda tasub kuulata


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