The Future of Work: Is Artificial Intelligence a New Road to Serfdom?

Lecture and Discussion with Lord Robert Skidelsky

Lord Robert Skidelsky has given a lecture at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) on Tuesday, 15 March 2022, 18:00 CET in Vienna.

In contemporary discussions about the future of artificial intelligence we often lose our heads. While economists offer bleak predictions of mass job losses and a deepening of already widespread precarity, Silicon Valley utopians insist that new technologies are bringing us ever closer together and will one day deliver us from work, disease and poverty. But when human life is reduced to a set of rational processes waiting to be optimized, we risk losing sight of the irreducible quality of human experience. The talk shed new light on the dream of machinery and the entailed  dichotomy of liberation versus control. With his characteristic attention to the subtleties of the human condition, Robert Skidelsky offered a challenging account of what it means to pursue the good life in the age of the machines.

Money and Government: a lecture at the LSE, 17 September 2018

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Over the weekend, just ten years ago, the investment firm Lehman Bros collapsed, and the world economy collapsed after it. I feel a little reluctant to add to the torrent of words trying to read the runes of this catastrophe for the better management of affairs in the future.

But, by chance or cunning, a book of mine, called Money and Government: A challenge to mainstream economics, has just been published. This tries to set the collapse of 2008 in a historical context. It has been inspired by John Maynard Keynes, who believed that the collapse of the 1930s needed the response of a new economic theory, and a new, or rather very old, conception of statecraft.

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How Much Is Enough? – a speech at the Bruno Kreisky Forum, October 2013

When we experience a great shock – when our world, the world – goes off an unpleasant, unforeseen tangent – it is natural to try to interrogate our situation. Why did it happen? What were we doing wrong? Perhaps we were on the wrong track?

We also search for new wisdom from half-forgotten fragments of old wisdom. Our own book, the book my son Edward and I wrote called How Much is Enough? started from exactly such an interrogation.

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Russia in the World

Speech at EBRD Business Forum, May 21st 2007

Russia’s integration into the world economy has been based on energy. Energy is predominant both in its domestic economy and foreign trade. In 2006, oil and gas made up 40% of GDP, and 60% of Russia’s exports. Since 2000 rising oil export revenues have been the main driver of GDP growth, as the price of Urals oil rose from below $10 a barrel to over $60.

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