Allison Pugh The Last Human Job Web

Thursday, May 30 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Join us for a book talk with Allison Pugh, who will speak about her new book, The Last Human Job.

Join us for a book talk with Allison Pugh, who will speak about her new book, The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.

About the Book: A timely and urgent argument for preserving the work that connects us in the age of automation.

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and labor-saving technologies like self-checkouts and automated factories, the future of work has never been more uncertain, and even jobs requiring high levels of human interaction are no longer safe. The Last Human Job explores the human connections that underlie our work, arguing that what people do for each other in these settings is valuable and worth preserving.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and observations with people in a broad range of professions—from physicians, teachers, and coaches to chaplains, therapists, caregivers, and hairdressers—Allison Pugh develops the concept of “connective labor,” a kind of work that relies on empathy, the spontaneity of human contact, and a mutual recognition of each other’s humanity. The threats to connective labor are not only those posed by advances in AI or apps; Pugh demonstrates how profit-driven campaigns imposing industrial logic shrink the time for workers to connect, enforce new priorities of data and metrics, and introduce standardized practices that hinder our ability to truly see each other. She concludes with profiles of organizations where connective labor thrives, offering practical steps for building a social architecture that works.

Vividly illustrating how connective labor enriches the lives of individuals and binds our communities together, The Last Human Job is a compelling argument for us to recognize, value, and protect humane work in an increasingly automated and disconnected world.

About the Author: Allison Pugh is professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity and Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture. Her writing has appeared in leading publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The New Republic.

The Last Human Job will officially be released on June 4. Event attendees will have a special opportunity to purchase the book as an early release during the event only on May 30. To pre-order the book, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552.

"I can’t think of a timelier and more critical book for the age we live in than The Last Human Job. Healthcare interactions, social intercourse, and the daily acts of life are rapidly changing and being distorted by technological advances such as AI. Pugh gives us an insightful overview of these challenges and a road map for the future."

—Abraham Verghese

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