Interacting with machines has become so routine that sometimes we barely even recognize we're doing it. Listening to a computerized voice on the other end of the phone, for example, is so commonplace that we can forget there was once a person there. A person collecting a paycheck. Paying taxes. Paying a mortgage. Now, answering calls is often handled by a machine.
Workers are always keeping an eye over their shoulders, wondering if the next technology could put them out of a job. And as we look back on the Great Recession, one of the central questions that economists are pondering intensely is this: Have average American workers computerized themselves into obsolescence?
Professor David Autor, a professor of economics at MIT, has studied that very question and co-wrote a recent op-ed in the New York Times titled "How Technology Wrecks The Middle Class." He spoke with WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer about whether technology is to blame for the plight of American workers.
Radio Boston listeners, have you seen your workplace changed by automation? By robotics? Have you been put out of work by technology? Are you worried that you will be? What jobs feel secure and long-lasting to you in a world in which so many human workers are being replaced by machines? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
This segment aired on September 5, 2013.