On-Air Highlights

Planet Money Automation Series

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | May 14, 2015 8:17 AM

The Planet Money team examines robotics and automation in a series to answer the question people have pondered for 200 years: Can I be replaced by technology? For most of our history, machines have led to economic growth. But this time may be different.

Planet Money starts their series with the true story of the Luddites, the army of people who attacked new factory machines in the 1800s. The series also includes a modern-day "John Henry" race, where a man is pitted against a machine in a task that is dear to us: writing radio stories. Planet Money will also look at what robots can and can't do, and find out what that says about how we learn and human nature.

The stories in the series can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered starting the week of May 18 on WITF 89.5 & 93.3.

When Luddites Attack All Things Considered
Today, it's an insult to call someone a Luddite. But 200 years ago, the Luddites had a point. Technology was destroying their jobs making textiles and they fought back. Jacob Goldstein of Planet Money has the story of General Ludd and the first battle against the machines.

Can Your Job Be Automated?(Two-part report) All Things Considered
Machines have moved far beyond the factory floor. Even jobs that once seemed robot-proof are being eliminated. Steve Henn of Planet Money explains how sometimes the most simple of tasks are impossible for a robot. And Stacey Vanek Smith finds that surprisingly, some professional jobs are in danger.

Reporter Scott Horsley vs. The Machine Morning Edition
Planet Money holds a modern day John Henry-style race. It's man against machine in a task that is near and dear to us: writing radio stories. Stacey Vanek Smith sees if a machine can write a news story better and faster than NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley.

The People In The Machine Morning Edition
There are hundreds of thousands of people doing work on the Internet that you probably think is automatic. They're just regular people working from home, doing tiny tasks that computers can't quite do. Caitlin Kenney of Planet Money takes a look at the workers of Mechanical Turk.

A Future Without Jobs All Things Considered
The economist John Maynard Keynes imagined a future world where people no longer need to work. But would people actually enjoy all that leisure? Could people be happy spending their days playing tennis, writing poetry, and singing? The team at Planet Money imagines that fictional world, with help from The Truth podcast.

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