The ‘Automation Revolution’ That Wasn’t?

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A new study casts doubts on the notion that automation is fundamentally altering American life.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE E arly in the 2010s, academics and entrepreneurs began to raise concerns about the economic consequences of artificial intelligence. Technological advances, the thinking went, would soon render vast swathes of the labor force obsolete, deepening income inequality and destabilizing society. Proponents of the “automation revolution” thesis called on policymakers to cushion workers from the effects of technological displacement through fiscal transfers and increased job training for technical fields.

MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson, a pioneer in the economics of AI, said in 2014 that job loss due to automation would be “the biggest challenge of our society for the next decade.” Six years


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