POLS 010M. First Year Seminar: Political Theory and the Future of Work

Artificial intelligence seems likely to transform the way we live.  Once self-driving cars arrive, for instance, those who currently drive trucks or taxis might well lose their jobs. Automation seems likely to have similar effects on many professions, from manufacturing to medicine. It is never easy to predict the future, but it does seem possible that we are entering an era of mass unemployment. How should societies respond to this threat? Should the state intervene to prevent automation, for example, or provide some kind of universal basic income? Such questions are currently being debated by think tanks and governments around the world, with various pilot schemes already underway. Rather than discussing specific policy proposals, this course will focus on the underlying philosophical issues. Topics will include the role of work in a good life; the relationship between the division of labor and social solidarity; and the nature of exploitation. Readings will range from the philosophical to the sociological and from the classic to the contemporary. As such, the course will provide a window into different styles of political theory.
Social Sciences.
1 credit.
Catalog chapter: Political Science
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/political-science

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