“Is it possible that at some point in the future, a significant fraction of the human workforce will be made redundant?” asks Martin Ford in his freshly-minted TED Talk. The exciting possibilities of new technology have always been tempered by threat, he says. How can we protect ourselves and thrive in this new economy?
From Luddites breaking machinery in the 19th century, to the memo delivered to President Lyndon B. Johnson warning against automation, the promise of robotization (and now artificial intelligence) is a loaded one. Drawing on historical precedent to predict the future, Martin Ford, tech theorist and author of The New York Times bestselling book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, brings his bracing vision of the future to the TED main stage.
“The future is going to be full of thinking, learning, adapting machines. Technology is finally beginning to encroach on that fundamental human capability that has allowed us to stay ahead,” he says. It’s a strain that all workers—blue and white-collar alike—will feel. So, how do we, (in typical proactive human style), get ahead of these problems? “In order to have a vibrant market economy, you need lots of consumers,” says Ford. And separating work from guaranteed income is just the beginning. Humans have value—we just need to start thinking differently about what that value looks like.
For more history and forward-looking insights, watch this compelling TED Talk from one of our most timely speakers.
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