Man is by nature an artificial animal that has gained self-competence by acquiring that of the world, and vice versa. The artificial has gradually constituted itself as the environment. New technologies have decomposed, dislocated and dispersed work and workers. The networking of the world is reconfiguring space and time: the former has almost disappeared, and the latter is increasingly shrinking. What marks a real qualitative leap today is the extension of the artificial into the realms of the mind: From machines that produce, we have moved on to machines that produce machines. Will man learn to coexist with a population of another species? In this context, the welfare state will prove necessary, and technological innovation will need to go hand in hand with caring for the individual, professionalising operators and personalising responses. Moreover, if the welfare state means the protection of work, it will have to value its dignity even more. This means moving from a predominantly distributive economy to a contributory one, in which the dignity of work depends on how much it contributes to the common good. This common good, which is not simply the sum of preferences, can only be achieved through a common understanding of the objectives worthy of a political community. Only the intervention of public policies can ensure that technological innovations are conceived and used with an egalitarian logic, i.e. guaranteeing that individual returns are compatible with collective interests.