Within the next ten to twenty years a combination of technologies will be capable of performing the jobs of as many as 80% of current workers.
We have seen workforce changes on this scale in agriculture and manufacturing before, but never at this pace.
The critical question raised in “Anticipating a Luddite Revival” is whether our social systems can adapt quickly enough to the disruption that technology can cause. If this means that the economy will need to create more highly skilled jobs that cannot be done by machines, Elliott asks whether we have the ability to train enough people capable of performing at this high level.
Technological change will also present challenges for individuals in their private lives. In “A Survival Plan for the Wild Cyborg” Rinie van Est of the Rathenau Institute in the Netherlands proposes a set of principles that will help us maintain our essential humanity as we gradually take on the characteristics of cyborgs.
Political conservatives have been vehement opponents of liberal proposals for government action to combat climate change, but they have been criticized for not articulating an alternative strategy. Steven F. Hayward, a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado, accepts the challenge with a critique of scientific arrogance and an approach built on fundamental democratic principles.
The U.S. position as the undisputed global leader in science is being threatened by constrained financial support at home and rising research investments abroad, particularly in China. University of Michigan sociologist Yu Xie assesses the current position of the United States, and Jumbo Yu of Jilin University in Changchun, China, takes a critical look at China’s plan to become a force at the forefront of science.
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