April 27, 2023

EP 421: AI, Automation, and the Case for Luddism

EP 421: AI, Automation, and the Case for Luddism
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I am on board when it comes to technological progress. I look forward to updating my devices (although I don’t do it as frequently as I used to). New apps and features excite me. I’m pretty quick to adapt to change. 

I am not a Luddite. Or so I thought. 

“The word Luddite still means an old-fashioned type who is anti-progress,” writes Jeanette Winterson in her book 12 Bytes. “But the Luddites of the early 19th century were not against progress; they were against exploitation.” Reading these lines was the first time what the Luddite movement actually stood for really sank in. Where I had once seen atavism and fear, I now saw labor politics I could get behind.

When I picked up Gavin Mueller’s Breaking Things at Work: The Luddites Were Right About Why You Hate Your Job, I did so to learn more about the radical roots of Luddism and how the movement could inform my own thinking on the future of work. I also picked it up amidst the current fervor over AI and debates about whether the robots were finally coming for writers’ jobs.

In this episode, I share my favorite ideas from Mueller's book and apply them to commonplace tools like project management apps (ClickUp, Asana, etc.) and social media scheduling apps. I think you'll have a different perspective on tech once you've listened!


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