by Brian Merchant
Little Brown and Company
The most urgent story in modern tech begins not in Silicon Valley but two hundred years ago in rural England, when workers known as the Luddites rose up rather than starve at the hands of factory owners who were using automated machines to erase their livelihoods.
The Luddites organized guerrilla raids to smash those machines--on punishment of death--and won the support of Lord Byron, enraged the Prince Regent, and inspired the birth of science fiction. This all-but-forgotten class struggle brought nineteenth-century England to its knees.
Today, technology imperils millions of jobs, robots are crowding factory floors, and artificial intelligence will soon pervade every aspect of our economy. How will this change the way we live? And what can we do about it.
The answers lie in Blood in the Machine. Brian Merchant intertwines a lucid examination of our current age with the story of the Luddites, showing how automation changed our world--and is shaping our future.
"A thrilling history and a stirring manifesto for seizing the means of production, or smashing it, when necessary. Automation has always been about turning people into machines: brainless and disposable. To be a Luddite is to demand a say in the future. It's not enough to ask what a machine does - we have to ask who it does it for and who it does it to."-- Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother and The Internet Con
"This is an absolutely indispensable, shocking, and fascinating tale by one of today's most important technology writers. This riveting book is as much a work of history as it is an urgent examination of our ability to resist the overwhelming changes technology is wreaking on our lives. The Luddites knew that automation, job loss and the consolidation of wealth aren't inevitable. We can shape these forces if we're willing to break a loom or two." -- Christopher Leonard, New York Times bestselling author of Kochland and The Lords of Easy Money
About the Author:
Brian Merchant is the technology columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the author of the national bestseller The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone. He's the co-founder of Terraform, Vice's science fiction outlet, and the founder of Gizmodo's Automaton project examining AI and the future of work. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wired, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, Fast Company, and beyond. He lives in Los Angeles.