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Date and Location

March 28, 2022
12:15 PM - 1:30 PM ET


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​Abstract:  Postwar Americans had imagined that the future would be a time of leisure, where robots relieved the tedium of our lives. Working just a few hours a week, our greatest challenge would be figuring out what to do. If any industry would be automated, it would reasonably seem, it would be the high-tech world of electronics. Apple, that iconic Silicon Valley firm, bragged in 1984 that the factory for its new computer, something called the Macintosh, would be the most automated in the world. Yet, Apple’s factory, like all the other electronic factories, was shockingly old-fashioned.  To understand the past and present of the electronics industry is simple: every time someone says “robot,” simply picture a woman of color. Instead of self-aware robots, workers—all women, mostly immigrant, sometimes undocumented—hunched over tables with magnifying glasses assembling parts, sometimes on a factory line and sometimes on a kitchen table. Though it paid a lot of lip service to automation, Silicon Valley truly relied upon a “transient workforce” of temporary workers outside of traditional labor relations. These new labor relations made Silicon Valley successful, and pointed the way to our present-day insecurity.

Zoom Registration Link:

Speakers and Presenters

​Louis Hyman, Cornell, ILR School


Additional Organizers

​Harvard STS, WCFIA