Today in 1811, the first Luddite attack in which knitting frames were actually smashed occurred in the Nottinghamshire village of Arnold. Kevin Binfield in Writings of the Luddites: “The grievances consisted, first, of the use of wide stocking frames to produce large amounts of cheap, shoddy stocking material that was cut and sewn rather than completely fashioned and, second, of the employment of ‘colts,’ workers who had not completed the seven-year apprenticeship required by law.”
Andrew McAfee on the HBR Blog Network, January 29, 2013: “Previous waves of automation, like the mechanization of agriculture and the advent of electric power to factories, have not resulted in large-scale unemployment or impoverishment of the average worker. But the historical pattern isn’t giving me a lot of comfort these days, simply because we’ve never before seen automation encroach so broadly and deeply, while also improving so quickly at the same time.
I don’t know what all the consequences of the current wave of digital automation will be — no one does. But I’m not blithe about its consequences for the labor force, because that would be ignoring the data and missing the big picture.”
McAfee at TEDxBoston, June 2012, on “Are Droids Taking Our Jobs?”