Are Machines Really Taking Our Jobs?

A brief history of technological progress and why it's not necessarily a bad thing

This episode of Economics in Plain English tackles the pervasive fear that technology is making humans (or at least human work) obsolete. How long before the robots take over the jobs we do today -- and is it time to panic? Not just yet, senior business editor Derek Thompson explains in the video above. Decades of film footage from the Prelinger Archive illustrate the steady march of progress in America, from farms to factories and beyond, all thanks to technological innovation. Machines have been doing more and more of our work for us since the industrial revolution, and that's not a bad thing.

Don't miss Thompson's introduction to the project and the previous installments answering the questions, "Why is bottled water so expensive?" and "Are bottomless drinks good business?"

"Something Elated" is courtesy of Tom Cascino of Broke for Free. Check out more of his music here.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Our Incredible, Microscopic World

Highlights from Nikon's Small World in Motion competition, featuring zebrafish embryos, killer T cells attacking cancer, and much more

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Video

Just In