International Labour Review, Vol. 159 (2020), No. 1

Back to the future: A continuity of dialogue on work and technology at the ILO

Concerns about technological unemployment are not new. Specifically, policy debates surrounding automation processes in the 1960s reflected both optimism and concerns about the job-destroying potential of technology. Studying the archives, and in particular the information collected by the Bureau of Automation, shows that many of today’s policy proposals were originally raised at the ILO during that period, even though they were never translated into regulatory policy. This article thus suggests that reopening this past dialogue may reveal useful insights for addressing current challenges, and enable us to achieve the world of work we wish to see in the future.


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