As the coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic spreads across the globe observers are beginning to reflect on the shape of things to come: What will the post-coronavirus world look like? How might the crisis affect the ways we live, learn, and work? Although it is too soon to make lasting predictions at this point, an increased reliance on technologies that promise to automate, digitize, and streamline everyday life seems inevitable. Whether essential work robots, contact tracing apps, Covid-19 AI challenges, and virtual offices and classrooms, the key domains of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution and Second Machine Age are thriving, despite growing discontents with technocratic governance abetting global authoritarianism and disrupting the international workforce. Although matters are urgent, heedlessly entrusting the providers of smart technologies poses serious risks. Ensuring that robotics, software, and new media platforms improve the very social systems they operate in requires assessing the ways that these applications engage with people’s lives, institutional environments, and political economies. Read More