Increasing automation will lead to a world of profound ennui.

Automation is so seductive. It will apparently lead to more free time and less work for everybody. We won’t need to work because the machines will do it all for us. What is not to like? Or this is the subtext from the tech billionaires. Could automation actually have a harmful effect on society? It turns out that more free time and less work leads to less personal fulfilment and a degradation in our skills. Automation is unstoppable but we must think hard now about how to address its downsides. Otherwise, we will wind up like HG Wells’ Eloi.

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