February 01, 2017 Features

Legal Strategies for Technological Unemployment

By Yvonne A. Stevens

If we think about troubles faced by people living in the first century, we might assume that fear of technological unemployment (i.e., human workers replaced by machines) was not one of them. However, midway through that first century, during a period of reconstruction in Rome, an inventor proposed the use of an efficient machine to assist laborers in their efforts. Instead of praising the inventor, Rome’s emperor rejected the idea, supposedly claiming Romans needed jobs, not machinery that eliminated them. This and other examples illustrate that the issue is not one born of the twenty-first century.

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