Will robot workers spark a human revolt?

But the job apocalypse might have a silver lining. The Luddites of the 1800s were unsuccessful for a number of reasons: They were politically marginal. They were not well-organized. They misdiagnosed the problem as being either about the technology or their employers. And, at least in some tellings, they had little public support.

In contrast, those involved in a white-collar movement would have strong ties to influential people. They would organize effectively. They would understand the larger problem as an imperfect economic system whose pathologies technology merely amplifies. And, they would have the rhetorical skills to draw the sympathy of the public – who are likely to be themselves jobless, too.

Unlike other worker revolts, a white-collar rebellion could move the levers of power so as to uproot the underlying problem: a politico-economic system that concentrates wealth, increases inequality, protects corporations from public accountability and fails to separate wealth and state.