Ronald Bailey Will Argue Against the Motion at Future Tense on Thursday, June 4


Robot Overlords

The New America Foundation is hosting a debate this Thursday, June 4, on the motion: Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs. The debate will be held at 1834 Connecticut Avenue, NW in Washington, DC at 6:30 pm. On the Luddite side of the motion stand New Atlantis Senior Editor Christine Rosen and Marquette University English Professor Gerry Canavan. On the Pollyanna side of the motion stand Automated Insights Media Relations Manager James Kotecki and Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey.

New America sets up the discussion thusly:

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?

See you all there on Thursday. Please go here to RSVP.