Roppie the robot plays a game of tic-tac-toe with a member of the public at the Taipei International Robot Show, October 19, 2010.
Nicky Loh / Reuters

From the cotton gin and the steam engine to electricity and the transistor, new technologies have been revolutionizing the world for centuries, transforming life and labor and enabling an extraordinary flourishing of human development. Now some argue that advances in automation and artificial intelligence are causing us to take yet another world-historical leap into the unknown.

But is that really the case? Will the rise of the robots threaten our jobs, our purpose, our very self-definition as humans? At Foreign Affairs, we’ve been intrigued by the discussion but not yet convinced, so for the lead package in this issue,

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