Noam Scheiber of The New York Times writes about how labor coverage has merged with the technology beat.
Scheiber writes, “I moved from Washington to Chicago in 2016 because I thought it would improve my reporting on workers. I joked to bewildered colleagues and sources that covering labor from Washington was a bit like covering technology from Washington: By the time the political class gets wind of a story, it’s been percolating in the economy for years.
“At the time, though, I didn’t fully appreciate the extent to which labor reporting is, in effect, technology reporting. From automation and motivational games to workplace surveillance, new technology is essential to the work lives of most Americans. I often spend more time trying to figure out the machines than figuring out the humans.
“For example, I spent the past few months on an article about artificial intelligence and the fashion industry. I saw it partly as a labor story, since computers are beginning to displace white-collar workers in that field and many others. But it was also an excuse to learn about a technology I only dimly understood. I investigated algorithms that could prompt sales agents, Cyrano de Bergerac-style, with the right turn of phrase at just the right moment, and others that were capable of designing parts for appliances, cars and airplanes.”
Read more here.