Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note November 2017

The November issue of the Monthly looks a little different.

In fact, the magazine has been given a full redesign – the first one in its 12-year history – from the masthead right through to the final page number.

Our design partners, Public Office, have created a layout that is spacious and vibrant. Most importantly, it reads beautifully. Their typesetting is astute, and they have also called on the service of the Dinamo type foundry in Basel, Switzerland, to create our very own unique font.

Pick up a copy; you’ll find some great new writing and journalism. This month, Jim Chalmers and Andrew Charlton set their minds to the impact of automation and robotisation on prospects for human workers. In fact, the theme of technology runs through two of the essays this issue, bringing both much-needed context and new arguments. The general discussion about technology so often sticks only to the basic binary positions: technology is a kind of utopia vs technology will steal our jobs and make humans superfluous.

We often seem blind in the face of technological change, or rendered mute by its apparently overwhelming nature. But has the pace of change really been so great and disruptive, asks James Boyce, or has our thinking simply been colonised by the tech boosters and billionaires?

“Broadly similar historical narratives have been told by the powerful beneficiaries of every disruptive technological change,” he writes. “One doesn’t need to question the sincerity of the storyteller or to point out that their histories invariably justify the necessity to put away the old and embrace the new. The common theme is the omnipotence and ultimate beneficence of the technological revolution underway.” Be wary, he says.

In our minor way we have embraced change in the new issue, but readers can be assured that none of the changes have been undertaken lightly or thoughtlessly. Some change is good.

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of the Monthly.

@nickfeik

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