Post-work Futures and Full Automation: Towards a Feminist Design Methodology

Sarah Elsie Baker 1
  • 1 Design School, Level 16, 92 Albert Street,, Auckland, New Zealand

Abstract

Among business leaders, government officials and academics there is a general consensus that new technological developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things have the potential to “take our jobs.” Rather than resisting and bemoaning this radical shift, theorists such as Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams have argued that full automation, universal basic income, and future thinking, should be demanded in order to challenge neo-liberal hegemony. Helen Hester has gone on to consider the limits and potentials of this manifesto in regard to the automation of reproductive labour. In this article, I take this work as a starting point and consider the significant burden that is left at the designer’s door in the post-work/post-capitalist imaginary. I explore the changes that would need to be made to design methods: techniques that are themselves part of the history of industrial capitalism. Focusing on the automation of domestic labour and drawing on feminist theory and emergent design practice, I begin to develop a feminist design methodology; without which I argue that an emancipatory post-work politics cannot be realised.

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