Recently, I was approached by the awesome crew at Future Left to participate in a timely survey they were producing called Ask the Robot Question, Expert Activists & Author Comments.
I was one of several people they reached out to and I greatly appreciate that they included me in this project where they are trying to foster dialogue about the potential impact of robot automation on the workforce, on employment and on people. Here’s how Adam Simpson, Future Left’s Founder and CEO, explains the significance of this discussion and their survey:
The purpose of our #AskTheRobotQuestion initiative is to amplify a national conversation about the potential impact of automation and computerization on the future of the American workforce. The founders of Future Left hope to see this issue discussed at the highest level of American politics: the upcoming presidential debate series.
Though we at Future Left may have our own set of policy preferences, we wanted to reach out to a diverse range of outside experts to submit feedback on our initiative. We reached out to numerous futurists, labor activists and organizations, authors, robotics experts, and everything in between. — Adam Simpson
Questions addressed in the survey include:
The next presidential administration could potentially last until 2025. Are there any specific disruptions you’d highlight for policymakers to be aware of?
Economists, thinkers, and beyond have been concerned about technological unemployment for centuries. What, if anything, is different about trends in automation today?
What do you see as the immediate benefits of increased automation and how can we maximize these benefits and ensure that they are felt widely?
Often universal basic income is mentioned as a primary avenue by which to ensure a certain level of resilience to automation. How do you view this idea? Is it an appropriate response to automation? Is it a sufficient response to automation?
Are there other policies beyond basic income that you find compelling that could ease unexpected bouts of structural unemployment brought on by automation?
What role does education — both primary and higher education — play in a transition to a more automated economy?
The automobile, the internet, and numerous other advances in technology had far reaching effects not just on the US economy, but furthermore on society. What impacts and effects do you think continued advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will have on society?
Definately check out the results HERE. The other participants gave great answers (and I had a great time thinking through the answers I gave). Let me know what your answers would be to some of these important questions. I’m sure we’ll be discussing this topic for years to come!.