‘You can’t automate me’ by Katarina Jazbec
Before container ships leave port, lashers secure the containers using heavy metal bars. They are the last port workers to do such dangerous jobs. In an equally physical cinematic style, each body tells its own story: from grieving for a colleague who died on the job to just keeping going.

Introduction by Jess Bier and Tessa Boumans
The documentary You can’t automate me will be introduced by dr. Jess Bier and Tessa Boumans. Dr. Jess Bier is an assistent-professor Urban Sociology. In her current project, “Data Streams and Cargo Flows: The Labor Consequences of the Datafication of Logistics” she focuses on the role of data in the automation of shipping in the Port of Rotterdam. Tessa Boumans is a Phd-candidate Behavioural Change at Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and part of the science staff of Erasmus Initative AIPact.

Jess about You Can’t Automate Me:
Lashing, the practice of securing containers on board a ship, can’t easily be done by robots, at least not yet. Lashing is dangerous, physical labor that requires a deft touch and significant expertise. It’s also essential: containers that aren’t well secured can fall overboard, endangering the crew, colliding with ships, and polluting the ocean. You Can’t Automate Me follows one group of lashers in the Port of Rotterdam to understand how they came to this work, how they feel about its future, and what it means to rely on a small team of human workers in an increasingly automated industry.

Tessa about You Can’t Automate Me:
Similar to the lashers in the port of Rotterdam, the women who assemble garments in the global south do work that – thus far – has been difficult to automate. Although as an outsider it might be easy to argue that these dirty and unsafe jobs are better of automated, Jazbecs documentary shows how meaning and value of work are ultimately in the eye of the beholder. In turn, this raises questions about how work should be perceived and valued, what future transformations of work should look like, and whose voices are being heard.

In the documentary festival ‘AIDocs’ we will shed light on social and societal implications of technological developments. Four afternoons, we will broadcast a documentary and an expert Erasmus scholar will introduce the documentary and discuss it with the audience. For example, is Alice, the care robot, a helpful tool to diminish loneliness? And: how is gig work changing the future of work?

The other documentaries:
The Gig Is Up | AlphaGo | Alice Cares

More information:

  • Date: Thursday 29 September
  • Time: 16.00 – 18.00 hours (Doors open: 15.30 hours)
  • Location: Theatre Erasmus Paviljoen
  • Entrance: free, but reservations recommended


Organised by Studium Generale and Erasmus Initiative AIPact

Source: youtu.be