The Problem with Blaming Robots For Taking Our Jobs

The Problem with Blaming Robots For Taking Our Jobs

In the late nineteen-forties, Delmar Harder, a vice-president at Ford, popularized the term “automation”—a “nickname,” he said, for the increased mechanization at the company’s Detroit factory. Harder was mostly talking about the automatic transfer of car parts between machines, but the concept soon grew legs—and sometimes a robotic arm—to encompass a range of practices and possibilities.

From the immediate postwar years to the late nineteen-sixties, America underwent what we might call an automation boom, not only in the automotive sector but in most heavy-manufacturing industries. As new technology made factory work more efficient, it also rendered factory workers redundant, often […]

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