In recent years, the term Luddite has been used to label anyone who opposes technological progress. However, this term has a rich historical background that predates modern technology. The Luddites were a group of workers in 19th century England who rebelled against new technologies that threatened their livelihoods. Today, the term has been revived thanks to generative artificial intelligence and its critics, and author and journalist Brian Merchant has written a book called Blood in the Machine that explores this rebellion and its parallels with current technologies.

Merchant began his research a decade ago, seeing a resurgence of the term Luddite amid the growth of Uber and its impact on taxi drivers. He clarifies that the Luddite rebellion was actually a labor struggle, not a movement against technology itself. The book quotes historian Eric Hobsbawm, emphasizing the insane tactics of collective bargaining through riots.

Ned Ludd, a legendary figure who may or may not have existed, became a symbol of the Luddite movement. The book explores how the Luddites used his name to incite fear and resistance against technology that was being used against workers. Merchant draws parallels between the Luddite struggle and modern labor issues in Silicon Valley.

Merchant criticizes the undemocratic nature of technological development, where a small group of corporations dominate new technologies with access to capital. He argues that this pattern has been consistent for 200 years, with technology often advancing regardless of social stability. The book talks about the potential for future unrest or backlash against big tech companies.

In recent years, Silicon Valley has debated universal basic income as a response to automation. Merchant sees this as a superficial solution to a larger structural problem. He notes that while technology can create new jobs, vulnerable jobs are eroded over time, leading to social and economic challenges.

Merchant suggests that recent events, such as the destruction of Waymo’s self-driving car, may be an indication of growing anger toward big tech companies. He also highlights the potential for collective action, citing the recent strike and negotiations by Hollywood screenwriters as an example of pushing back against the misuse of technology.

Overall, Blood in the Machine delves into the history of

By Samantha Johnson

As a dedicated content writer at, I immerse myself in the art of storytelling through words. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for crafting engaging narratives, I strive to captivate our audience with each piece I create. Whether I'm covering breaking news, delving into feature articles, or exploring thought-provoking editorials, my goal remains constant: to inform, entertain, and inspire through the power of writing. Join me on this journalistic journey as we navigate through the ever-evolving media landscape together.

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