The debate surrounding the transformation of work at the hands of digital technology and the anxieties brought forth by automation, the sharing economy, and the exploitation of leisure We have been told that digital technology is now threatening the workplace as we know it, that advances in computing and robotics will soon make human labor obsolete, that the sharing economy, exemplified by Uber and Airbnb, will degrade the few jobs that remain, and that the boundaries between work and play are collapsing as Facebook and Instagram infiltrate our free time. In this timely critique, Greg Goldberg examines the fear that work is being eviscerated by digital technology. He argues that it is not actually the degradation or disappearance of work that is so troubling, but rather the underlying notion that society itself is under attack, and more specifically the bonds of responsibility on which social relations depend. Rather than rushing to the defense of the social, however, Goldberg instead imagines the appeal of refusing the hard work of being a responsible and productive member of society.
Greg Goldberg is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Wesleyan University, and Affiliated Fellow at Yale University's Information Society Project. His work has appeared in New Media & Society, WSQ, ephemera, and on the Huffington Post, and in the edited collections The Affective Turn and Rethinking the Innovation Economy.