, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 138–143 | Cite as

Artificial intelligence, or the mechanization of work

  • Edward S. Reed
Open Forum


AI is supposed to be a scientific research program for developing and analyzing computer-based systems that mimic natural psychological processes. I argue that this is a mere fiction, a convenient myth. In reality, AI is a technology for reorganizing the relations of production in workplaces, and specifically for increasing management control. The appeal of the AI myth thus serves as ideological justification for increasing managerial domination. By focusing on the AI myth, critics of AI are diverting themselves from the very important task of preventing this increasingly dangerous threat to deskill and dehumanize large sectors of the workforce.


class struggle deskilling division of labor ideology manual and intellectual labor worker's control 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Braverman, H. (1974),Labor and Monopoly Capital: the Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, Monthly Review Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Dretske, F. ‘Minds, machines, and meaning’, in C. Mitcham & A. Huning (eds.),Philosophy and Technology 11, D. Reidel, Boston, 97–109.Google Scholar
  3. Dreyfus, H. (1972, revised 1979),What Computers Cannot Do, Harper & Row, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Dreyfus, H. & S. Dreyfus (1986),Mind Over Machine: Putting Computers in Their Place, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Gibson, E.J. (1969),Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Gibson, J.J. (1966),The senses considered as Perceptual Systems, Houghton-Mifflin, Boston.Google Scholar
  7. Laor, N. & J. Agassi (1986), ‘The computer as a diagnostic tool in medicine’, in C. Mitcham & A. Huning (eds.),Philosophy and Technology 11, D. Reidel, Boston, 227–238.Google Scholar
  8. Noble, D. (1984),Forces of Production, Knopf, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Searle, J. (1980),Minds, Brains, and Programs: The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 3, 417–457.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward S. Reed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Humanities & CommunicationsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations