Preparing for Technological Unemployment
The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) believes that this time is different; the technological innovations of the 21st century will be dramatically reducing the demand for human labor of all kinds. We need to prepare now for the wrenching political and economic reforms that will be necessary to ensure that technological unemployment is a boon for all, and not just an economic elite.

Mission Statement

For two hundred years there have been predictions that technological innovation would lead to widespread unemployment. Instead, jobs in factories opened as farm work declined, and then jobs in offices and services grew as factory work declined.

Today we are seeing the rapid transformation of work by robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet, 3D manufacturing, synthetic biology and nanotechnology. Most economists and policy makers believe that these new technologies will again create as many new jobs as they make obsolete. At most, they believe there will be a need for educational innovation and work re-training to make the transition less painful.

But some have begun to argue that these innovations may finally create the long predicted decline of work. They point to the dwindling set of skills that humans can still do more cheaply and efficiently than machines, and are urging policy makers to take seriously the possibility of widespread technological unemployment in the coming decades.

This project aims to move the discussion about technological unemployment forward by engaging experts and policy makers involved in the study of technological unemployment, and by outlining the risks and benefits of the various policy responses that can be offered if technological unemployment begins to accelerate.

Specifically, through the Technological Unemployment program, the IEET addresses these questions:
  • Is there already net technologically-driven job loss, underemployment and precarity?
  • Is technology causing inequality (“skill-biased technological change”)?
  • Are there occupations that are immune to technological change? Can these occupations expand to absorb displaced workers?
  • What is the job creation potential of new technologies?
  • What will be the macroeconomic effects of technological unemployment?
  • How will technological unemployment interact with rising old age dependency and extending longevity?

Technopogressive List Technoprogressive Technoprogressive List
Discussion of technoprogressive public policy, especially technological unemployment and the basic income guarantee.

Links Special Issue of JET: Hughes, Walker, Campa & Danaher on Tech Unemployment and BIG

TP Wiki on Technological Unemployment

The Automated Economy on Facebook

Technological Unemployment Group on Google+

Martin Ford's Blog: EconFuture

Andrew McAfee's Blog: The Business Impact of IT

Basic Income Community on Reddit

US Basic Income Guarantee Network

Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN)

Books on Technological Unemployment and Political Economy Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford (2015)

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee (2014)

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Nick Bostrom (2014)

Jobocalypse: The End of Human Jobs and How Robots will Replace Them, Ben Way (2013)

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: how to survive the economic collapse and be happy, Federico Pistono (2012)

Political Economy Articles
Does this robot want your job?

Join us on Facebook Live for a discussion with NYIT Professor Kevin LaGrandeur as he argues that the real threat to American jobs isn’t flesh-and-blood foreign workers. It’s robots and computers.

David Brin
Economics under Trump by David Brin

Please. We have one hope. That a civilization built by pragmatic idealists—who used fact-grounded skills to craft a nation and a gradually better society—can somehow use facts to save it. We will win this on two fronts:

Can Universal Basic Income / Social Democracy Fix America’s Inequality? Big Think

Can’t the U.S. be a little more like Scandinavia in its ethos? Fixing inequality in America will take more than economic reform, it will also need a cultural shift. From a human rights and decency standard, everybody in a society should be able to meet their basic needs, says economist and Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs – but he questions whether a popular proposal known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the way to achieve a better standard of living in the U.S.

Like It Or Not, Obamacare Affects Everyone Seeker Daily

Before President Donald Trump vows to repeal Obamacare, what are some of the hidden benefits that have improved people’s lives?

Americans Need Mexico, Here’s Why Seeker Daily

President Trump has suggested a tax on Mexican imports in order to finance the wall. How would this tax affect everyday life in the U.S.?

The Secret To Germany’s Powerful Economy Seeker Daily

Pointed to as an example of success, the German economy has thrived while the rest of Europe struggled. So what’s their recipe for success?

Cyril Gazengel
La lente évaporation du travail by Cyril Gazengel

Entre fantasme et réalité

Depuis le début de l’ère industrielle, l’idée du remplacement de l’homme par la machine dans le milieu du travail a fait du chemin, au point de paraître crédible aujourd’hui. En effet, les percées en intelligence artificielle lèvent une inquiétude : et si l’humain devenait obsolète.

Trump To Keep One Obama Policy In Place The Young Turks

There is at least one Obama reform Trump seems likely to keep in place. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, the hosts of The Young Turks, tells you how Trump will keep Obama’s LGBTQ reform.

Liberalism Under Siege: Mark Blyth, Margaret Weir with Ed Steinfeld Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Edward Steinfeld, director of Brown’s Watson Institute, queries political scientist Margaret Weir and political economist Mark Blyth about the rise of illiberalism across the globe.

Cyril Gazengel
The Gradual Disappearance of Jobs by Cyril Gazengel

Stuck Between Fantasy And Reality From the very beginning of industrial era, the idea of replacing humans with machines caught on and has persisted, to the point of appearing credible today. Indeed, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are raising concerns about the significance of humankind in the future. That still far event horizon forecasts a society lead by strong artificial intelligences which may bring us to our obsolescence. Homo sapiens will be at best forced to the margins of active duty like the utopian post-work post-scarcity...