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
Melanie Swan
The Future of AI: Blockchain and Deep Learning by Melanie Swan

First point: considering blockchain and deep learning together suggests the emergence of a new class of global network computing system. These systems are self-operating computation graphs that make probabilistic guesses about reality states of the world.

Hank Pellissier
What Transhumanists Lost by Investing Late in Bitcoin by Hank Pellissier

In 2012, a writer in Germany, Rüdiger Koch, wrote an intriguing essay for IEET.org, that was subtitled “Amazing things would happen if a large percentage of transhumanists were financially independent. How can this be done?”

Keith B. Wiley
The Obligatory Mind Uploading Blockchain Crossover by Keith B. Wiley

In 2017, the world lost its collective bananas over Bitcoin and its supporting technology, blockchains, aka distributed hashed transaction ledgers (a mouthful that simply means a history of transactions that can’t be altered, thus enabling verification of any historical inquiries).  As blockchain mania swept the summer headlines, briefly eclipsed by an actual bonafide eclipse (one of the seminal spiritual moments of the author’s life), everyone started connecting blockchains to everything.  In addition to Bitcoin’...

A.I. Taking Jobs Academic Minute

The scholarly work of Kevin LaGrandeur proves that the humanities and sciences have more in common than meets the eye. Listen to the academic minute podcast here

Alexandre Maurer
Aujourd’hui tous travailleurs… demain tous créateurs? by Alexandre Maurer

Lors de la révolution industrielle, dans de nombreux métiers, nos bras ont été remplacés par des machines. Nous nous sommes donc tourné vers des métiers où nous utilisons notre cerveau.

Aujourd’hui, avec les progrès fulgurants de l’intelligence artificielle, c’est notre cerveau qui pourrait être, à son tour, remplacé. Des intelligences artificielles diagnostiquent déjà des cancers mieux que des cancérologues, remplacent des assureurs dans des compagnies d’assurance, conduisent des voitures de façon autonome…...

Present Futures: Universal Basic Assets and The History and Future of Space Travel ( Present Future

Present Futures: Universal Basic Assets and The History and Future of Space Travel Guest- Mr. BJ Murphy- Transhumanism (46:58-1:37:07) Category

Wellman and Rajan on the Ethics of Automated Trading Algocracy and Transhumanism Podcast

In this episode, IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher is joined by Michael Wellman and Uday Rajan. Michael is a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan; and Uday is a Professor of Business Administration and Chair and Professor of Finance and Real Estate at the same institution. Their conversation focuses on the ethics of autonomous trading agents on financial markets. We discuss algorithmic trading, high frequency trading, market manipulation, the AI control problem and more.

Listen Here

John Danaher
Building a Postwork Utopia by John Danaher

I have a new paper. It appears as a chapter in the book Surviving the Machine Age, which is edited by Kevin LaGrandeur and James Hughes. The book is, I believe, unique in how it brings together several different perspectives on what should and will happen to society in an era of rampant technological unemployment. It’s a little bit pricy, but I would recommend it for purchase by university libraries and the like.

Marcelo Rinesi
The insidious not-so-badness of technological underemployment, and why more education and better technology won’t help by Marcelo Rinesi

Mass technological unemployment is seen by some as a looming concern, but there are signs we’re already living in an era of mass technological underemployment. It’s not just an intermediate phase: its politics are toxic, it increases inequality, and it’s very difficult to get out of.

David Brin
Tax “reform” or not? by David Brin

In Edinburgh I just posed for pictures next to one statue of Hume and then in front of Adam Smith, the founder of liberal economics.