There are two opposing narratives of the “robot revolution,” by which I mean the rising productivity and falling costs of smart ICT-enabled systems, including robots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, remote monitoring and sensing, and other ICT-based systems. In the positive narrative, highly productive robots do the work of humans, thereby raising output, productivity, leisure, and wellbeing. In the negative narrative, robots eliminate jobs, raising unemployment while lowering real wages and wellbeing. Not only are both narratives coherent; they may occur simultaneously, with richer households boosted by robots while poorer households are immiserized. This brief note clarifies these opposing outcomes.
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