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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > April 2017 > Learn to love a robot

Learn to love a robot

Droids won’t steal your job. With luck, they’ll make you rich
© RMV/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Popular economics moves in cycles, and each cycle gives rise to a new worry about the future. Back in 2008/9 the fashionable concern was about debt, a fear driven partially by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s This Time is Different. By 2014, cooler kids were clutching copies of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and fretting about inequality. Nowadays the zeitgeist anxiety is that robots are about to take all of our jobs. Propelled by a never-ending stream of books and op-eds, it is a fear that is surprisingly well spread, encompassing a spectrum from billionaire technologist Bill Gates to French Socialist presidential contender Benoît Hamon. Thankfully though, while a robot takeover is capturing a lot of column inches, it isn’t showing up in the data.

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In Prospect’s April issue: Ross McKibbin, John Curtice and Lisa Nandy examine the state of the Labour Party and question its survival at the next general election. McKibbin takes a long view and suggests that the party’s problems started long before Jeremy Corbyn, Curtice argues that breaking the party is unlikely to go as well as some may think and Nandy argues that tackling unaccountable power could help restore faith in the party. Nicholas Timmins says the NHS has always experienced financial crises so is this time any different? Lucy Wadham charts the rise of France’s Front National. Also in this issue: Owen Hatherley explores Edinburgh’s architectural conundrum, Freya Johnston on Jane Austen and Avi Shlaim on the tragedy of Yitzhak Rabin—the last best hope for peace.
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