Paul Krugman has been writing about robots lately. He explicitly cites J. R. Hicks' incoherent and mistaken 1932 book, The Theory of Wages. This is a classic statement of the neoclassical theory of factor substitution, of the choice of technique in allocating scarce factors among alternative uses.
If I want to analyze the adoption of new technology, I turn to:
- David Ricardo's chapter, "On Machinery", in the third edition of his book.
- The Von Neumann model of growth, which can be read as a model in which robots produce robots.
- The Harrod-Domar model of the warranted and natural rate of growth, along with the definition of Harrod-neutral and biased technological change.
- Joan Robinson's models of metallic ages.
- Kaldor's growth models of various vintages and his definition of the technical progress function.
I am in agreement with Krugman on the importance of Hicks' book in the development of the neoclassical canon. And I recognize the existence of a problem in empirically distinguishing between the choice of technique and the adoption of new technology in Kaldor's model(s) of economic growth.