Bloomberg Businessweek

Looking Back to Move Forward

The relentless march of technology evokes fears that machines will one day displace most humans from work, and with good reason. Artificial intelligence can coach soccer players and write news stories, and more than 2 million robots make everything from Porsches to pizzas—a number that researcher Oxford Economics predicts will jump tenfold over the next decade, sending 20 million factory hands to the unemployment lines. So how to find purpose in this low-employment future in which erstwhile workers have almost unlimited free time?

Some researchers suggest looking at one of the world’s most

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