It wouldn’t be SXSW without some big statements.
During an open Q&A at SXSW, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was asked about the economic challenge of a significant percentage of our labor force being replaced by automation.
Her answer is worth diving into and the hour-long interview before the Q&A worth listening to, she responded, by suggesting we decouple the idea of employment with being able to remain alive:
We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work. We should not feel nervous about the toll booth collector not having to collect tolls anymore. 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.
This followed towards the end of her response:
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. Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.
Her full answer begins with “automated inequality”, and is five minutes so you should take the time to watch it in full.
I address the concept of bias in AI in a women’s day article: Alexa: Its’ hard being a woman in AI. It’s an important topic that’s not being addressed widely enough.