Welcome in the machine. Human-machine relations and knowledge capture

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This paper discusses new technologies in regards to their potential to capture workers’ situated knowledge. Machines are said to substitute but also to contribute to the labour process in collaboration with human skill sets. ‘Industry 4.0’ became the policy-wide shorthand to describe the new quality of real time interconnectedness and feedback loops, known as cyber-physical systems (CPS) within industry and engineering sciences. Data flows generated in these systems are used to continuously improve work processes by extracting information down to the very micro level of neuroergonomics. In this process, workers’ interactions with the system are extracted, feed back and processed for future use and improvement. The paper argues that in addition to the potential for extraction of new (bodily) knowledge, shifting skill use, and the potential for new forms of control, new technologies contain the potential to extract situated knowledge owned by the worker and crucial for resistance and collective struggles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCapital and Class
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2019


  • labour process
  • machines and measures
  • wearables
  • knowledge production
  • new technologies
  • situated knowledge


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