Any number of stories can be told about the rise of machines — the role and place of "artificial intelligence" and a "natural" transition into a fourth industrial revolution — as some kind of ghost in the machine. I place quotation marks around words here, to draw attention to the definitional questions around artificial intelligence (AI) and the idea that there is some natural and unstoppable process under way that lies beyond human abilities or interventions. What I want to highlight is one story: the fear brought about by uncertainty, of possible ethical lapses and moral degeneration, and inevitable job losses "when machines are allowed to take over". The overriding fear, it seems, is over job losses. This fear is fuelled by speculation by organisations such as McKinsey, which predicted that because of automation a third of workers in the US would be jobless by 2030. Forrester, one of the most influential research advisory firms in the world, predicted late in 2017 that AI may el...

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