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Tim Harford: What neo-Luddites get right — and wrong — about Big Tech

Is AI the latest threat to livelihoods? That depends on society

©The Financial Times Limited 2020 May 26, 2023 / 11:29 AM IST
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Tim Harford: What neo-Luddites get right — and wrong — about Big Tech

Will our jobs really be destroyed this time? Or should we relax and look forward to another couple of centuries of productivity-driven prosperity?

Say what you like about Lord Byron, he knew how to turn a phrase. Here he is, speaking in the House of Lords in 1812. His topic is the foolishness of the factory-storming, machine-breaking Luddites: “The rejected workmen, in the blindness of their ignorance, instead of rejoicing at these improvements in arts so beneficial to mankind, conceived themselves to be sacrificed to improvements in mechanism.” The term “Luddite” is an insult today, a label you’d slap on a boomer who...

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