Work Mate Marry Love: How Machines Shape Our Human Destiny

Debora L. Spar. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-20003-9
Harvard Business School professor Spar (Wonder Women) probes the historical links between gender, family, technology, and work to understand their implications for the future in this thought-provoking and cautiously optimistic account. Moving chronologically through human history, Spar places the plow’s role in creating the concept of land ownership at the center of female subordination through marriage, and describes the impact of automobiles, the birth control pill, and kitchen appliances on women’s labor at home and in the workplace. Turning to the present, she establishes links between assisted reproductive technologies and the legal and cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage, and claims that smart machines are pushing men out of the workforce without an understanding of their new gender and social roles. Looking ahead, Spar discusses the implications of integrating robots into people’s work and love lives, how digital personality archives and extended life expectancies might affect social structures, and the importance of addressing inequities caused by differential access to technology. Though the book lands somewhat awkwardly between futurist think piece, gender study, and historical survey, Spar’s explanations of how specific technologies developed are lucid and insightful. Readers will take comfort in this clear-eyed assessment of humanity’s ability to adapt to technological change. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/26/2020
Release date: 08/18/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-7135-1780-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-7135-1781-8
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