Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Author
The Coming AI Wave and Job Retraining

At Asilomar, they looked at the real US economy, the real reasons for the “hollowing out” of the middle class. The problem isn’t immigration—far from it. The problem isn’t offshoring or taxes or regulation. It’s technology.” — Cade Metz, Wired.com

AI is going to replace far more jobs in the US (and elsewhere) than outsourcing labor ever did, and unless we prepare for that now, we’re going to have another economic collapse when millions of unskilled/low-skilled workers are replaced by software. One solution is the UBI, universal basic income, which will never fly in the US in the current climate. A more practical solution is retraining. You can’t just replace jobs with machines. You replace jobs with AI and then you retrain the people whose jobs have been obsoleted. But who pays? The corporations using AI won’t want to foot the bill. The whole reason they are replacing people with AI is to save money. It will be left up to the government then, at state and federal levels, to step up. But with a GOP majority intent on reducing government size and spending, this likely won’t get done. So in the end you will have another great wave of US unemployment and possible economic collapse that could have been prevented by simple worker retraining programs.

Forget the Baby Boomers. (Sorry, I love you, but you guys still use AOL). To my Gen-X and Millennial-aged friends: let’s craft a better plan for the next decade, because AI is coming faster than any of us are prepared for.

 

BRITE Conference

I’m excited to be participating in a panel called “From T-1000 to Hal 9000: How Realistic Are Sci-Fi’s Robots?” at the 10th annual BRITE Conference held at the Columbia Business School. The panel will be held on March 6th from 11:10am-12:00pm. The official panelists are: Dan Abella, Director of the New York Sci-fi Film Festival and Philip K. Dick Film Festival, Matt Kressel (yours truly), Nebula-award nominated sci-fi author, Peter Asaro, PhD and Assistant Professor at the New School, and Mike Massimino, former NASA astronaut. The panel will be moderated by Christopher Mahon.

PANEL DESCRIPTION:
From T-1000 to Hal 9000: How Realistic Are Sci-Fi’s Robots?

Sentient robots have been a classic science fiction trope for decades, and with the popularity of works like Her, Ex Machina, and Westworld, they’re not going away anytime soon. In this panel, artificial intelligence and pop culture experts discuss famous depictions of sentient AI and their respective levels of scientific plausibility. Is Samantha from Her the logical extension of Siri and Google Home? Do we need to preemptively afford artificially intelligent robots “human” rights in order to avoid the enslavement of sentient beings? If we ever build a robot that can approximate emotion like Hal 9000 or Ava from Ex Machina, would we ever be sure that they are *feeling* emotion rather than simulating it? Join us for a discussion of all of the most fascinating questions (and most entertaining pieces of fiction) about the burgeoning growth of artificial intelligence.

ABOUT THE BRITE CONFERENCE:
Now in its 10th year, BRITE ’17 (March 6-7, Columbia Business School, NYC) will bring together 500-600 executives, entrepreneurs, academics, and students to discuss the future of business, technology, media, and society. Participants at BRITE come to learn about how innovative ideas are changing society and the ways that brands are built and maintained. Current confirmed speakers for BRITE ’17 include: Maryam Banikarim (CMO, Hyatt), Dana Anderson (CMO, Mondelez), Jonathan Becher (CDO, SAP), Raj Subramaniam (EVP, FedEx), Andrew Kassoy (Co-Founder, B Lab) and Chris Welty (Senior Researcher, Google).