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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We should be excited about automation”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We should be excited about automation”

Postby smix » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:46 pm

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “We should be excited about automation”
Fast Company

URL: https://www.fastcompany.com/90314386/al ... automation
Category: Politics
Published: March 9, 2019

Description: In a talk at SXSW, the New York Congresswoman notes that automation is a net positive when the government offers a social safety net.

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Robots have put half a million people out of work in the United States, and researchers estimate that bots could take 800 million jobs by 2030. But New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that widespread automation is an exciting proposition–as long as some kind of government safety net is in place to equitably help the people who are displaced. At the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, today, Ocasio-Cortez attributed widespread fear of robots taking jobs to the failure of underlying systems that should mitigate income inequality and economic precariousness. “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she says. “We should not feel nervous about the tollbooth collector not having to collect tolls. We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited about it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.” So how do you ensure that automation doesn’t decimate the working class? Ocasio-Cortez cited Bill Gates’s idea that you could tax robots at 90%. (Of course, she says, this really means “taxing corporations at 90%, but it’s easier to say, ‘tax a robot!'”) Another proposal suggests that those who are displaced would receive a universal basic income, an idea that a 2018 Gallup poll found was supported by 68% of Democrats and 28% of Republicans. “Whether its a tax rate, whether it’s distributing wealth that’s created by automation–if we approach solutions to our systems and start entertaining ideas like that, then we should be excited about automation because of what it could potentially mean,” she says.

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She painted a picture of what automation should do for society if government systems ensured that the wealth it creates lifted everyone up instead of just a select few: It would enable people to spend more time on education, creating art, and scientific research and invention–“more time enjoying the world we live in,” Ocasio-Cortez said to cheering crowds. “Not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.” It’s the classic techno-futurist dream, one that Gates has also championed. But we don’t live in that world right now. “We should be working the least amount we’ve ever worked, if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing, but we’re not,” she said. “We’re paid by how little we’re desperate enough to accept. And then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says ‘we should be excited about automation’

Postby smix » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:31 pm

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says ‘we should be excited about automation’
The Verge

URL: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/10/1825 ... -sxsw-2019
Category: Politics
Published: March 10, 2019

Description: Robots aren’t the problem, she says — economics are

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New York congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes that people should welcome robots taking their jobs — but not the economic system that can make it financially devastating. During a talk at SXSW, an audience member asked Ocasio-Cortez about the threat of automated labor. “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she said in response. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.” The congresswoman referenced a proposal from Bill Gates, who has discussed a tax on robots that replace human workers. (While she stated that Gates suggested taxing robots at 90 percent, that’s not a number we’ve found in his statements.) Gates isn’t the only person who’s floated a robot tax. French politician Benoît Hamon suggested taxing automated productivity gains and using the money for a universal basic income. More generally, large parts of Silicon Valley support basic incomes as a fix for automated unemployment. Nobody’s specifically implemented an automation tax so far, though. In 2017, the European Parliament rejected a proposal that would tax robots and use the money to re-train workers, arguing that it would slow innovation. Ocasio-Cortez argued that a “robot tax” might just be a less politically charged way to propose higher taxes on businesses. “What [Gates is] really talking about is taxing corporations,” she said. “But it’s easier to say: ‘tax a robot.’” And while Gates’s vision involves freeing up humans to take other jobs, Ocasio-Cortez downplayed paid work altogether. “We should be excited about automation, because what it could potentially mean is more time educating ourselves, more time creating art, more time investing in and investigating the sciences, more time focused on invention, more time going to space, more time enjoying the world that we live in,” she said. “Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”

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Her description isn’t as utopian as something like the dream of “fully automated luxury communism,” but it’s also not nearly as dour as some calls for universal basic income, which have framed the policy as a sad inevitability of automation. That said, Ocasio-Cortez has previously criticized how automated systems practically operate, noting that human biases can be baked into an AI’s equations. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t put forward a specific plan for dealing with automation at SXSW. But her answer placed it in the familiar context of a larger fight against economic inequality and corporate greed. “We should be working the least amount we’ve ever worked, if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing,” she said. “But we’re not. We’re paid on how little we’re desperate enough to accept. And then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”
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‘Immediate Harm To Millions’: AFL-CIO Tears Apart Green New Deal

Postby smix » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:55 pm

‘Immediate Harm To Millions’: AFL-CIO Tears Apart Green New Deal
Daily Caller

URL: https://dailycaller.com/2019/03/12/afl- ... io-cortez/
Category: Politics
Published: March 12, 2019

Description: The largest organization of labor unions in the U.S. slammed the Green New Deal Friday for combating climate change by threatening the livelihoods of millions of Americans. The AFL-CIO sent a letter on Friday to Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, the two lawmakers leading the Green New Deal push in Congress. The labor group demanded a larger role in crafting future solutions, slamming the current proposal as “not achievable or realistic.” “We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy,” the letter, signed by 10 national labor unions on the AFL-CIO’s energy committee, says. “We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families,” the letter says. “We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.” The Green New Deal calls for an end to fossil fuel use and heavy investment in renewable energy technology such as wind and solar. Meeting the resolution’s goals would require a massive restructuring of the American economy. Electricity production from fossil fuels makes up about 64 percent of the United States’ total energy demand. Nuclear energy, a clean energy left out of the Green New Deal, makes up about 19 percent of the U.S. energy mix. Wind and solar energy make up just over 8 percent, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” Ocasio-Cortez told a crowd at the South by Southwest festival Saturday in response to a question about the threat of automation to jobs, according to The Verge. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem,” Ocasio-Cortez said, pushing for further automation to free up time for people to be creative and “[enjoy] the world that we live in,” instead.
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