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Sometimes, this bleak outlook is softened by distinguishing between "jobs" and "tasks". Only the routine parts of jobs, it is said, will be replaced. In these more upbeat assessments of the "future of work," humans will complement machines, not compete with them.Automation, some optimists believe, will raise the average level of human intelligence.But there is an important caveat to all this: left to the market, the gains from automation will be captured mainly by owners of the technology companies and highly educated "knowledge workers," leaving the rest of the population unemployed or in physical and intellectual servitude. If not, the ecstatic prophecies turn dark: professions or countries that fail to embrace automation with sufficient enthusiasm face economic and cultural extinction. In short, while automation is a threat to work, it is a threat that can and must be overcome within the existing wage-labor framework.The distinction between needs and wants was central to the older thinkers.
China’s quest for legitimacy
Economic consequences of automation
The fall and rise of public heroism
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