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  • Miles Howard

    Ben, this is probably the biggest question that keeps me up at night. How will our economy adjust to an increasingly automated future? It seems to me that the only real solution would be a signficant revision of what constitutes a social safety net for taxpayers. I mean, if millions of people suddenly find themselves out of work thanks to robots achieving more and more skills, they shouldn't have to starve in the streets. Even today, you'll hear lawmakers asking "how do we get our jobs back" but a lot of the jobs we lost during the recession were handed over to machines: they're not coming back. It's time to look at the parts of our economic system that are clearly outdated.

    • Ben Goldhirsh

      agreed. I do think there are lots of creation opportunities that are born from new technology, but unquestionably the reality you refer to is afoot. in turn, I hope that the surplus born from ths increased productivity will eventual fill what will amount to be trust funds for those born into the world - rather than having the dollars there as a safety net on the back end, have the dollars there are the front end where people can find support to invest in whatever/wherever their passions lead. I think this is a hopeful outcome, but it's the one I'm hoping for.

      • Miles Howard

        Now there's an idea that makes great sense. It would be an effective way to bridge the current socioeconomic "tech gap" and I think the generations coming of age and graduating into a world with lessening opportunity would get behind it. (I know it would!) The question - and this is where politics come in - is whether the top benefactors of automation would support or resist this idea. It makes so much more sense for everyone, in the long run, but many people don't think of the long run...

        • Ben Goldhirsh

          i think it will be key to pilot a variety of alternative approaches to this issue, as well as a variety of marketing language in terms of how to get folks aware/on board with it. no one seems to mind wealth distribution within their family, so it begs the question of what would get support for expanding the definition of family or just broadening what people conceive of as "we". I do think this is a question that we will either proactively solve for, or get flat out runover by. I'm hustling on the former. You should also check out a book called One From Many if you want to dive deeper into thinking on this front. it's from the guy who built Visa, it's the smartest business/life book I've ever read, and it also engages in theory around decentralized ownership which I think is super relevant to the discussion you started here.

          • Miles Howard

            Thanks for the recommendation, Ben. I'm going to track down a copy of the book ASAP. And I certainly agree with the importance of properly marketing decentralized ownership. Where can I check out some of your hustling on the issue?

  • Ben Goldhirsh

    really interested to see how this plays out. especially with Bezos unveiling the Drone delivery concept on 60 minutes a few weeks past, and with his purchase of a robotics company to advance their role in warehouse efforts. I think the efficiently that they're pursuing is very exciting on one hand, and utterly confusing as far as where it leads on the other. If a 3D printer can generate the toy, and a robot, can put it in a box. and a drone or an unmanned car can land it at your steps, than hell yea, but man oh man are we looking at a fundamentally different economy. and thus the quote from when a head of major car company and a head of the automotive union visited a robotics factory years past:

    car company ceo: you better watch out (to the union head), robots don't pay union dues.
    union chief: you better watch out, robots don't buy cars.

    anyhow, I think the path to greater efficiency will mean greater surplus. how that surplus gets divied up (into the bank accounts of few or into investment in the potential of our species) is going to be a grand question in the coming decades as this curve only gets steeper.

    where's your head at on this?