Policy wonks and journalists in Washington like to fret about otherwise desirable technological progress subtracting millions of manufacturing and entry-level service sector jobs from the overall economy. It hasn't been their own jobs, mind you, that they typically consider to be threatened by automation. Surely no amount of computing power can write policy papers or newspaper columns, negotiate with Iran, oversee constituent services in a congressional office or, um, convene a debate at a think tank.
Or can it? Will the advent of truly nuanced, intuitive artificial intelligence render the vast majority of workers in all segments of the economy redundant? What would that mean for former think tank debate-conveners? A glorious age of leisure with bountiful productivity gains for all, or a Great Depression for all but a very few? Or are all such questions just another tiresome bout of excessive hype (and Luddite angst) around technology that will invariably prove overblown?
For the Motion:Christine Rosen
Senior Editor, The New Atlantis
Author, Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement
Assistant Professor, English, Marquette University
Co-editor, Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and Green Planets
Against the Motion:
Manager of Media & Public Relations, Automated Insights
Science Correspondent, Reason
Author, Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution
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