Creating Smart Economies: Administrating Empowering Futures

  • Peter BloomEmail author


The fifth chapter investigates the potential for humans and machines to use their shared intelligence to build “smarter” and more egalitarian economies locally and globally. AI and automation are meant to make economies and societies “smarter”—more efficient, productive and convenient. Nevertheless, this proclaimed “progress” fosters deep fears of coming mass unemployment and a world run by machines for the benefit of a small human elite. Yet smart technology also holds the promise of ushering in a “post-work economy” where the need for labour is reduced and material scarcity is a thing of the past. However, for these utopian visions to be made into a reality requires the use of non-human capabilities and intelligence to create an economy that is as liberating as it is smart. And one that is not merely programmed by elites for the benefit of elites.

This chapter critically uncovers the mutually reinforcing relationship between human and non-human empowerment. Far from the idea that AI and big data can only serve the interest of corporations and governments, it reveals the ways it can promote economic equality and inclusion in both big and small ways. Notably, it will highlight how these advances are already revolutionizing the ways organisations are managed, services are administered and communities are planned. It will then reveal the ways it also makes it easier to create not- for- profit organisations that combine the latest cutting edge technology such as digital fabrication, open sourcing and distributed manufacturing with values of radical democracy, equality and social justice. Looking ahead to the future, it concludes by arguing that the establishment of a progressive “post-capitalism” is not only possible but also crucial to the further advancement of non-human technology. Without such a fundamental economic revolution, its potential applications and development will be stifled and undermined by humans who feel they have been “left behind” by these changes.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of EssexColchesterUK

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