Beyond the Technological Fix: A Permanent Infrastructure Approach to Automation-related Unemployment

Steiner, Giles, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Steiner, Giles, Engineering Undergraduate, University of Virginia

My STS research focuses on examining possible countermeasures to automation-related unemployment and considering the net benefit of each countermeasure. My research specifically investigates expanding existing social welfare programs, implementing a negative income tax, implementing a Universal Basic Income, or implementing a combination of these countermeasures. My research then evaluates these countermeasures through Alvin Weinberg's framework of Technological Fix. One major finding of my research is that the most effective countermeasure to automation-related unemployment is a permanent indestructible infrastructure, combining multiple mitigating candidates, which can last growing the proliferation of automation and can be maintained indefinitely by a multi- national alliance of actors similar to NATO or G7.

My technical report (RockSlide) is the modeling, design, testing, and manufacturing of an automatically moving indoor rock climbing 'hold' on top of a rock climbing 'volume'. RockSlide implements multiple mechanical, electrical, and software components into a responsive mechatronic system. The mechanical assembly consists of a worm-geared motor, flexible shaft coupling, and lead screw to maximize torque while still being able to move the hold across the volume quickly.

Loosely tied, both my STS research and my technical project are related to the central theme of automation. By completing both these projects at once I was able to form a better understanding of what the automation of employees will look like in real-time.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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