Robots: AI, Algorithms, and the Smart Machines (R)evolution


A recent piece by the Brookings Institution proclaims that “robots aren’t taking the jobs, just the paychecks.” This studio class engages with this claim by focusing on the challenges robots, automation, and artificial intelligence bring to the organization and function of economic institutions (e.g. markets, property rights, money, the division of labor, trade, work organization, income distribution).

After exploring the impact the introduction of machinery has on economic institutions, we turn to explore why, where, and how technologies (e.g. the blockchain, internet of things) can be deployed impacting economic institutions and transforming goods and service sectors. We examine how the increasing use of smart machinery influences key market fundamentals of capitalist development (i.e. prices, wages, employment, output, productivity, credit). In this context, we use as examples 21st-century technologies and new business models (e.g. crypto assets like Bitcoin, driverless cars, Airbnb) to deliver policy recommendations to economic and social challenges that may appear as a consequence of those technologies’ introduction to the market.