Ronald Bailey on Smart Machines Creating Unemployment


Credit: Stian Eikeland / / CC BY-NC-SA

Two centuries after the original Luddites smashed then-newfangled weaving frames in northern England, predictions of permanent technological unemployment have been revived. In a December working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research titled "Smart Machines and Long-Term Misery," Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs and Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff ask, "What if machines are getting so smart, thanks to their microprocessor brains, that they no longer need unskilled labor to operate?" Ronald Bailey examines whether the Luddites were right after all.