Digit Debates: Automation and the End of Work?

19 May 2021



Please note that due to technical difficulties the first few minutes of this recording is missing. You can access the slides here for further information.

Silicon Valley titans, politicians, techno-futurists, and social critics have united in arguing that we are on the cusp of an era of rapid technological automation, heralding the end of work as we know it. Have they got a point? The contemporary automation discourse responds to a real, global trend: there are too few jobs for too many people. However, it has misattributed the present-day, weak demand for labour to the rise of the robots and technical breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Aaron Benanav explains what is really behind this alarming trend, and explores the forces that now stand in the way of a transition to a post-scarcity society.


Aaron Benanav is a researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin. His first book, Automation and the Future of Work was published with Verso Books in November 2020. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, Dissent, Logic Magazine, New Left Review, Boston Review, and New Statesman. He is now working on a follow-up book on post-scarcity economics.

Related reading

Benanav, A. (2020), ‘Automation and the Future of Work’, Verso

Benanav, A. (2020), ‘A World Without Work?’, Dissent Magazine

Benanav, A. (2020),‘How to Make a Pencil’, Logic Magazine