Debates about whether robots will take over jobs or open up yet-unimagined career possibilities dominate the headlines. Silicon Valley and the techno optimists promise us that robots will automate boring jobs and create new ones, leaving humans free to pursue their interests in the arts and sciences and ushering in a great era of equality, creativity, and freedom. Others warn of robots taking close to half of all human jobs, dramatically increasing unemployment. Those who own the machines and platforms will throw workers into poverty, increasing the already unconscionable gap between rich and poor and further ripping apart the social fabric of democracy. These competing scenarios typically frame questions about the impact of robots on labor in world economic forums and in the media.

Jennifer Rhee's The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor interrupts this debate to ask more...

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