Automated ordering at a McDonald's (Byung Kyu Park, Creative Commons)

When Ray pitched the idea to me of doing an episode on automation, the first thing I thought was, of course. Automation, in no small part because of the meteoric rise of the chatbot Chat GPT by OpenAI, is being discussed in every news outlet I follow these days. Is it because us writers and podcasters finally have technology coming for our jobs? While most research studies place writer as low on the list of professions at risk of being replaced by automation, I’m not convinced, as you’ll discover in this episode.

It’s clear that automation is reshaping so many parts of our lives — whether it’s how we work, have fun, or connect with other people, automation is playing an increasingly large role and with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. And cities, at least from an economic and social standpoint, won’t be impacted equally by the rise of automation. Kellogg Insight from Northwestern University created a fascinating web tool that shows how much impact automation is expected to have on cities across the U.S. I strongly recommend checking it out — as we do in the episode.

Good listeners — and we assume you are real people (although we don’t discriminate against bots) — we want to know your thoughts, opinions, and hopes for the cool (and sometimes scary) things automation will bring into our cities and lives in the future. Reach out to us at podcast [at]  

As always, you can find The Urbanist podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and other major platforms. And if you are enjoying the podcast, be sure to offer a “like” or “thumbs up” on your favorite platform. It’s a great way to spread the word to new listeners.

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Natalie Bicknell Argerious (she/her) is a reporter and podcast host at The Urbanist. She previously served as managing editor. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she loves learning how to make cities more inclusive, vibrant, and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle's Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email her at natalie [at] theurbanist [dot] org.