• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

From Luddites to AI Rebels: Lessons from the Past for the Future of Technology and Labor

BySamantha Jones

Apr 3, 2024
Author Brian Merchant suggests that Luddites pose a greater threat to the wealthy than Robin Hood.

The Luddite movement has a rich history dating back to 19th century England, where it was a labor struggle against technological advancements. Today, the term “Luddite” has been revived due to criticism of generative artificial intelligence and its impact on society. Author and journalist Brian Merchant’s book, Blood in the Machine, explores this historical revolt and draws parallels with current technologies.

Merchant began his research a decade ago, seeing the resurgence of the term Luddite amidst the growth of Uber and its impact on taxi drivers. He clarifies that the Luddite revolt was not a movement against technology itself but rather a labor struggle. The book quotes historian Eric Hobsbawm, highlighting the Luddites’ tactic of collective bargaining through riots.

Ned Ludd, a legendary figure who may or may not have existed, became a symbol of the Luddite movement. The book explores how the Luddites used his name to incite fear and resistance against technology being used against workers. Merchant draws parallels between the Luddites’ struggle and modern labor issues in Silicon Valley.

Merchant criticizes the undemocratic nature of technological development, where corporations dominate new technologies with access to capital. He argues that this pattern has been consistent for 200 years, with technology advancing without regard for social stability. The book discusses potential future unrest or backlash against big tech companies.

In recent years, discussions around a universal basic income in response to automation have taken place in Silicon Valley. Merchant views this as a superficial solution to a larger structural problem. He notes that while new jobs may be created by technology, vulnerable jobs are eroded over time, leading to social and economic challenges.

Merchant suggests that recent events such as the destruction of Waymo self-driving cars may be indicative of growing anger towards big tech companies. He also highlights potential for collective action citing recent strikes by Hollywood screenwriters as an example.

Overall, Blood in the Machine delves into the history of the Luddites and their struggle against technology while drawing parallels with modern challenges in

By Samantha Jones

As a dedicated content writer at newszxcv.com, I bring a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail to every piece I create. With a background in journalism and a love for crafting engaging narratives, I strive to deliver informative and captivating content that resonates with our readers. Whether I'm covering breaking news or delving into in-depth features, my goal is to inform, entertain, and inspire through the power of words. Join me on this journey as we explore the ever-evolving world of news together.

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