Why do humans remain central to knowledge work in the age of robots? Marx’s Fragment on machines and beyond

Karakilic, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-4620-5856, 2020. Why do humans remain central to knowledge work in the age of robots? Marx’s Fragment on machines and beyond. Work, Employment and Society. ISSN 0950-0170 (Forthcoming)

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Abstract

The integration of new technologies into the process of production has recently resuscitated the question of world-without-work. Accounts that regard a workless future as a strong possibility often base their arguments on a body of work that upholds that new machines already tend to eliminate the category of work, including knowledge work. This article challenges this view by revisiting Marx’s Fragment on Machines through the lens of autonomist Marxist writings. It offers an answer to the research question, inscribed in the title, that in contemporary capitalism the principal source of value and wealth lies in the general intellect embodied in living labour, living-knowledge-as-mêtis, that cannot be crystallised in and reproduced by the system of machinery and organisational tools in any meaningful way. The political implications of this argument will be discussed in the conclusion.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Work, Employment and Society
Creators: Karakilic, E.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 28 July 2020
ISSN: 0950-0170
Identifiers:
NumberType
1364467Other
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 14 Sep 2020 12:54
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 12:54
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40712

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