Roderick Benns recently interviewed Michael Vertolli, a PhD student at Carleton University who studies artificial intelligence in relation to human cognition. He believes that basic income is one of the only ways to move forward in a future of large-scale automation.
Benns: What is the connection between automation and basic income? Why should we be considering this social policy change based on automation trends — hasn’t this always been predicted and yet we still seem to have jobs?
Vertolli: The short answer is that the belief that “we still seem to have jobs” is a misleading perception held by people whose jobs have yet to get significantly affected. This means it is held by people in the middle-class range with medium-difficulty jobs that require one to think. The problem is systems like AlphaGo, Google’s Artificial Intelligence that just beat the world champion at Go, demonstrate that even these tasks can now be learned by sufficiently powerful AIs.Read more
By Alan Gummo
The economy is in trouble so we’re in trouble. We’re worried about a general slow-down in activity, job losses, high personal debt levels, inequality, precarious employment, the hidden costs of underemployment and poverty, and so on. There’s a lot of debate going on about what to do. While many and varied prescriptions are being put forward, everyone from left to right seems to agree that more jobs should be created.
Fair enough. We definitely need more jobs. Jobs are useful in supporting individual livelihoods.Read more
By Konrad Yakabuski
The Globe and Mail
If you don’t know who (well, technically, what) Atlas is, you’d best check out this six-foot humanoid robot. He/she/it may be about to steal your job. Its creator, Google-owned Boston Dynamics, just unveiled the latest iteration of the robot that never gives up in a video that had geeks chanting “cool,” but looked to many of us like outtakes from a futuristic horror flick.Read more
By Scott Santens
On Dec. 2, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi came back from lunch and watched as humanity created the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inside a pile of bricks and wood underneath a football field at the University of Chicago. Known to history as Chicago Pile-1, it was celebrated in silence with a single bottle of Chianti, for those who were there understood exactly what it meant for humankind, without any need for words.Read more