Monday, February 26, 2018

#57 / Robot Warning

Andrew Yang, a Democrat running for President in 2020, is the Paul Revere of what he believes is an incipient robot revolution. You can read about Yang by clicking this link. That will take you to a New York Times article that ran in the newspaper on February 10, 2018.

Yang is an entrepreneur, and he thinks that a fundamental transformation of our economy is imminent. He also thinks that the results will be disastrous. Here is Yang's vision, as outlined by The Times

“All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society,” Mr. Yang, 43, said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just a few years, he said, “we’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college.” 
“That one innovation,” he continued, “will be enough to create riots in the street. And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.”

Among other things, Yang is calling for a system of "Universal Basic Income." Richard Branson, another one of those entrepreneurs who want to be taken seriously, agrees with Yang. From my perspective, the key issue is whether or not we can find worthwhile things for humans to do that robots can't do. I think we can. And we can pay people to do them. For instance:

  • Turn all our prisons into schools. 
  • Plant one billion trees. 
  • Solarize every structure where solar access is available. 
  • Provide preschool and after school care for every child. 
  • Provide elder care for every person who needs it. 
  • Rehab and renovate every deteriorating neighborhood.
  • Build affordable housing. 
  • Create community gardens in every community. 
  • Have artists paint murals. 
  • Have musicians play music. 
  • Etc. 

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