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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Labor Shouldn't Have To Fear Automation

Published by Slashdot on Sun, 17 Mar 2019


Munky101 tipped us off to some interesting comments from New York's activist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. TechCrunch reports:It's impossible to discuss the seismic shift toward automation without a conversation about job loss. Opponents of these technologies criticize a displacement that could someday result in wide-scale unemployment among what is often considered "unskilled" roles. Advocates, meanwhile, tend to suggest that reports of that nature tend to be overstated. Workforces shift, as they have done for time immemorial. During a conversation at SXSW this week, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered another take entirely. "We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work," she said in an answer reported by 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... 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," The Verge quoted Ocasio-Cortez as saying. "Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage." And Ocasio-Cortez cited Bill Gates' suggestion (first floated in a presentation on Quartz) that a robot tax might be a way to make that vision real. "What [Gates is] really talking about is taxing corporations," she reportedly said. "But it's easier to say: 'tax a robot.' " Science fiction writer William Gibson called her comments "shockingly intelligent" for a politician. Fast Company adds that 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" -- then quotes Ocasio-Cortez's assessment of the unfair state of labor today. "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."Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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