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So You Automated Your Coworkers Out of a Job

Gizmodo: “…Inside many companies, automation doesn’t simply unfold as a top-down imperative. It can stem from random efficiency experiments or pilot programs initiated by employees who don’t always intend for their ideas to cascade into large-scale job loss. In some cases, management will ask a junior staff to spearhead an automation initiative (perhaps, some speculate, to help redirect blame for the job-eliminating policies). When either happens, it can lead to long-term guilt, confusion, and regret on the part of the automator—few people want to delete their friends’ or colleagues’ jobs—and embitterment and anger on the part of the automated.

…In a series of interviews with coders, technicians, and engineers who’ve automated their colleagues out of work—or, in one case, been put in a position where they’d have to do so and decided to quit instead—I’ve attempted to produce a snapshot of life on the messy front lines of modern automation. (Some names have been changed to protect the identities of the automators.) We’ve heard plenty of forecasting about the many jobs slated to be erased, and we’ve seen the impacts on the communities that have lost livelihoods at the hands of automation, but we haven’t had many close up looks at how all this unfolds in the office or the factory floor…”

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