By Rob Rainer
We are at the dawn of a new era of technology without parallel in history. Along with it, concern is rising that automation of all kinds, being developed at exponential rates, will displace labour on an unprecedented scale.
For example, a 2013 study out of Oxford University predicted that automation will cause 47 percent of the jobs in the U.S. to disappear within 20 years. We are talking about not only the work that’s been called “the dull, dirty, and dangerous,” which some believe should be handled by robots. Rather, we are talking about work of creative skill too, or requiring significant analytical power.
Our machines can now write prose, with a prediction that by 2030, 90 percent of journalistic writing will be done by computers. Our machines can compose music. They can even do things as delicate as administering anaesthesia or performing unassisted surgery.Read more
Roderick Benns recently interviewed Michael Schmidt, a Canadian entrepreneur, chemist and engineer. He was previously the founder and CEO of Listn, a mobile music startup based in Los Angeles California before its multimillion dollar acquisition by Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment. He is now the CEO of Dovetale.com, a partner at PurifAid, a board member of K-Swiss and a member of the Canadian Leadership Committee for the G20.
Benns: From your perspective as an entrepreneur, why is the concept of a basic income guarantee useful to society?
Schmidt: Basic income is all about voice. Some people want more while some people want less. By guaranteeing everyone has the absolute minimum you can guarantee, as a nation that the basic needs of life are met. It’s a win-win for the market and those who are in the market. It’s a fundamental improvement on capitalism and even democracy, because everyone now has a minimum amount of voice.Read more
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