• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Rise of the Luddites: A Modern Journalist’s Take on Technological Progress and Its Critics

BySamantha Jones

Apr 3, 2024
Author Brian Merchant suggests that Luddites pose a greater threat to the wealthy than Robin Hood.

The Luddite movement has a rich history, with those who opposed technological progress often being labeled as such. Today, the term has been revived due to the rise of generative artificial intelligence and its critics. Author and journalist Brian Merchant has written a book called Blood in the Machine that explores the Luddite revolt in 19th century England and draws parallels with current technologies.

Merchant began his research a decade ago, seeing the resurgence of the term Luddite amidst the growth of Uber and its impact on taxi drivers. He clarifies that the Luddite revolt was actually a labor struggle, not a movement against technology itself. The book quotes historian Eric Hobsbawm, highlighting the Luddite tactic of collective bargaining through riots.

Ned Ludd, a legendary figure who may or may not have existed, became a symbol of the Luddite movement. The book explores how the Luddites used his name to incite fear and resistance against technology that was being used against workers. Merchant draws parallels between the Luddites’ struggle and modern labor issues in Silicon Valley.

Merchant criticizes the undemocratic nature of technological development, where a small group of corporations dominate new technologies with access to capital. He argues that this pattern has been consistent for 200 years, with technology often advancing without regard for social stability. The book discusses the potential for future unrest or backlash against big tech companies.

In recent years, discussions around a universal basic income in response to automation have taken place in Silicon Valley. Merchant views this as a superficial solution to a larger structural problem. He notes that while new jobs may be created by technology, vulnerable jobs are eroded over time, leading to social and economic challenges.

Merchant suggests that recent events, such as the destruction of a Waymo self-driving car, may be indicative of growing anger towards big tech companies. He also highlights the potential for collective action, citing the recent strike and negotiation by Hollywood screenwriters as an example of pushing back against abusive uses of technology.

Overall, Blood in the Machine delves into the history of the Luddites and their struggle against technology, drawing parallels with modern challenges in

By Samantha Jones

As a content writer at newsnnk.com, I weave words into captivating stories that inform and engage our readers. With a passion for storytelling and an eye for detail, I strive to deliver high-quality and engaging content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news to thought-provoking features, I am dedicated to providing informative and compelling articles that keep our readers informed and entertained. Join me on this journey as we explore the world through the power of words.

Leave a Reply