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Carl B. Frey joins us to discuss how we can study the industrial revolution to inform our understanding of the imminent automation revolution.

Paul Matzko
Tech & Innovation Editor

Carl Benedikt Frey is Oxford Martin Citi Fellow at Oxford University where he directs the programme on Technology & Employment at the Oxford Martin School. He is author of The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor and Power in the Age of Automation.

How will people respond to artificial intelligence taking their jobs? The rise of political radicalism on both Left and Right in the early twenty‐​first century is in part a reaction to rising income inequality and slower wage growth despite the increasing automation of jobs and gains in productive efficiency. We are in an ‘Engels pause,’ the lag between new technology that benefits whole economies and the moment those gains filter down to the families of displaced workers. Something similar happened during the industrial revolution during the 19th century, the moment that birthed Marxism. Paul interviews economic historian Carl Frey to discuss what we can learn about our present moment of technological innovation and the social reaction to it from the history of industrialization.

What is the technology trap? Why didn’t the industrial revolution happen earlier? Who are the beneficiaries of technological progress? Can algorithms be creative? What is the difference between originality and creativity?

Further Reading:

Industrial Revolution, written by Deirdre McCloskey

Will Artificial Intelligence Take Your Job?, Building Tomorrow Podcast

Will Algorithms Replace the Price System?, written by Adam Gurri