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Elon Musk And Bill Gates Are Really Worried About Your Job

There’s still time if we act now

There’s a rising chorus of concern among tech leaders in the United States about how quickly robots will take away human jobs.

Stephen Hawking has warned about the perils of automation in the past:


“The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative, or supervisory roles remaining.” 

Elon Musk had this to say about the machine uprising at the the World Government Summit in Dubai:

“What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better (than a human). These are not things that I wish will happen. These are simply things that I think probably will happen.” 

And in February, Bill Gates proposed that governments start taxing robot workers the same way we tax human workers:

“You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once. … So, you know, warehouse work, driving, room cleanup, there’s quite a few things that are meaningful job categories that, certainly in the next 20 years (will go away).” 

To put it bluntly, jobs are vanishing much faster than anyone ever imagined, though it also appears we’ve been turning a blind eye to the warning signs. In 2013, policy makers largely ignored two Oxford economists who suggested that 45 percent of all U.S. jobs could be automated away within the next 20 years. Today, that stark warning sounds all but inevitable. Below we break down three sectors at risk for automation and the millions of Americans who will likely be effected.

Transportation and warehousing: 5 million Americans\n

Those self-driving cars you keep hearing about are about to replace a lot of human workers. Currently in the United States, there are:

There’s also an estimated 1 million truck drivers in the United States. And Uber just bought a self-driving truck company. As self-driving cars become legal in more states, we’ll likely see a rapid automation of all of these driving jobs. Why? It’s simple math: If a one-time $30,000 truck retrofit can replace a $40,000 per year human trucker, there will soon be a million truckers out of work.

And it’s not just the drivers being replaced. Soon entire warehouses will be fully automated. The video below shows just how easily a fleet of small robots can replace a huge number of human warehouse workers.

\nRetail salespeople and cashiers: 8 million Americans

Many of these jobs will soon be automated away. Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, is testing a type of store with virtually no employees. Customers can simply walk in, grab what they want, and walk out without a single interaction with another living human.

A big part of sales is figuring out — or even predicting — what a customer will want. Well, Amazon grossed $136 billion last year, and its “salespeople” are its algorithm-powered recommendation engines. Imagine the impact that Amazon will have on retail when they release all of that artificial intelligence into brick-and-mortar stores.

\nRestaurant workers: 14 million Americans

The United States will soon go the way of Japan, which has been automating aspects of its restaurants for decades : taking orders, serving food, washing dishes—even automating food preparation itself.

There’s even a company that makes delivery trucks that drive around and start baking pizzas in real time as orders come in.

Automation is inevitable, but we still have time to take action and help displaced workers. The software powering these robots becomes more powerful every day. We can’t stop it. But we can adapt to it.

Beyond Gate’s recommendation to tax the robotic workforce, Elon Musk recommends we adopt universal basic income, which would provide every American in a certain tax bracket a living income each year without the restraints our welfare system currently puts in place. As many in the universal basic income community believe, this would allow the economy to continue on as millions of U.S. workers find themselves displaced by automation.

My own personal recommendation is to take this a step further by taking part of the taxpayer money we’re using to subsidize industries that are now mostly automated and, instead, invest it in training workers for emerging engineering jobs.

The answer to the automation challenge may involve some combination of these three approaches and will undoubtedly come with complications. But we need to take action now, before we face the worst unemployment disaster since the Great Depression.

What else can we all do while facing the future of a changing American workforce?

-Educate yourself on the automation and its economics effects. This is the best book on the subject.

-Talk with your friends and family about automation. We can’t ignore it just because it’s scary and unpredictable. We need a public discourse on this so we can decide as a country what to do about it — before the corporations and their bottom lines decide for us.

-Contact your representatives and ask them what they’re doing about automation and unemployment. Tell them we need a robot tax, universal basic income, or more money invested into technology education — whichever of these best aligns with your political views.

If we act now, we can still rise to the automation challenge and save millions of Americans from hardship.

Articles
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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Politics