“We are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. The rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend job destruction deep into the middle classes with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”
The above image from The Terminator might be a little far-fetched, however, the featured AI image, and the one that threatens human jobs (at the moment) are the most concerning. I’ve had my eye on this for some time, but I really began taking stronger notice after listening to 2020 Presidential candidate Andrew Yang. I even purchased and read his book, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income is Our Future.
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For use Dune fans, this is nothing new. The prologue of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece sets the stage thusly;
“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”
Though our reality is different from Dune, The Terminator, and other science fiction gems, the effect of advancing technologies can pose other serious problems. What we are currently facing, and what candidate Andrew Yang urges us to realize is that IF WE DON’T ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS, the effect could be disastrous.
Recently on FoxNews with Tucker Carlson, Yang impressed him so much that he got the conservative pundit to say “I sit with my jaw open I agree with you so strongly.” Yang’s main talking point in the video was on automation, in which he said,
“We [America] automated away 4 million jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Missouri and those communities have never recovered. And if you look at the numbers, half of the works left the workforce and half of that group left for disability. Now what happened to the manufacturing workers is now going to happen to truck drivers, retail workers, call center and fast-food workers and on-and-on through the economy as we evolve and technology marginalizes the work of more and more Americans.”
-Andrew Yang on FoxNews
Andrew goes on to say on his podcast with Joe Rogan (clip below) that self-driving trucks are being developed right now by Amazon, are currently working at a 98% success rate, he thinks that truck driving shifts (with humans behind the wheel) will be severally reduced within the next 6-10 years. I’ve heard other economists say that automation will can (and likely will) replace 45% of today’s job. Is this just paranoia? How legitimate is this automation anxiety? Someone like Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg says that it’s not whether or not jobs will be taken over by robots, it’s when.
IT’S NOT JUST ANDREW YANG
“There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot can not do better. What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. I think, ultimately, we are going to have some kind of Universal Basic Income. I don’t think we are going to have a choice.”
~ Elon Musk, World Government Summit
I think that people need to look closely at this young man. As someone who has, by this point, listened to all the upcoming candidates and what they stand for, Andrew Yang is the one that has it most “together.” There are so many people that continue to state the problems and who offer very little in the way of a solution. There are others that have idealistic notions of how we are going to turn this nation around, but either their math or their path doesn’t strike the American people as something realistic and viable.
The main solution (and one that I’ll be talking more about in another post) is a social safety net known as Universal Basic Income [UBI]. The impact of UBI is being researched at the moment, particularly in California and Silicon Valley. What we know from the research already is that if a person or household receives a modest, free, cash hand-out they are not going to quit their jobs over it; they are will instead, spend it.
We know that there are a lot of issues – and it is important that we have these discussions. However, it is paramount that we get ahead of the problems that have the potential to be crippling.
Curious to see if you are just as impressed with this gentleman as I am.
And please, try not to think of a dystopian future. The future can be a bright one, as long as we keep our finger on the pulse and act swiftly.
Till next time….
Peace, Love & Light
P.S. Even though sources like the World Economic Forum say that the impact of automation may create more jobs than it loses, it depends largely on the success of a particular company and type of automation. In my opinion, some industries will do fine, but others will be fail miserably.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment in the comment space below.
Joe Rogan Experience Podcast #1245. Feb. 2019
Making Sense with Sam Harris #130. Feb. 2019
Andrew Yang Discusses Job Automation. FoxNews. March 2019.
Universal Basic Income. Aerial View. Feb. 2019
Can Free-Cash Handouts Help Society? The Economist. Feb. 2019