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Astra Taylor on Fauxtomation, Precarious Work, and Power in the Digital Age

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Join us for an exciting Ethical Tech with filmmaker, writer, and political organizer Astra Taylor.

In a recent article in Logic magazine, Taylor writes "There is no denying that technological possibilities that could hardly be imagined a generation ago now exist, and that artificial intelligence and advances in machine learning and vision put a whole new range of jobs at risk. Entire industries have already been automated into nonexistence: Kodak was decimated by digital photography and Instagram, Netflix and Amazon killed off Blockbuster, and ATMs made countless bank tellers obsolete."

But "the emphasis on technological factors alone, as though 'disruptive innovation' comes from nowhere or is as natural as a cool breeze, casts an air of blameless inevitability over something that has deep roots in class conflict. The phrase 'robots are taking our jobs' gives technology agency it doesn’t (yet?) possess, whereas 'capitalists are making targeted investments in robots designed to weaken and replace human workers so they can get even richer' is less catchy but more accurate."

See her recent article in Logic Magazine:
https://logicmag.io/05-the-automation-charade/

Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director of the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy? (TIFF 2018), Examined Life (TIFF 2008), and Zizek! (TIFF 2005); the author of the American Book Award winner The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age; and a co-founder of the Debt Collective. She has written for The New York Times, The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Walrus, The Baffler, n+1, and many other outlets. She is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow and a former touring member of the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Her new book, Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, will be out from Metropolitan Books in May 2019.