Robots are coming for your jobs. And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that should be a good thing.
“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work. . . . We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”
A quarter of American jobs — belonging to about 36 million people — are at risk of being replaced by automation or artificial intelligence over the next two decades, according to a Brookings Institution report issued in January. Other reports have been even more dire, with the Institute for New Economic Thinking saying 100% of work activity could be automated by 2060.
Speaking at the SXSW conference and festivals Saturday in Austin, Texas, Ocasio-Cortez said workers who fear losing their jobs to automation actually fear the lack of a social safety net.
“We should be excited about automation, because what it could potentially mean is more time educating ourselves, more time creating art, more time investing in and investigating the sciences, more time focused on invention, more time going to space, more time enjoying the world that we live in,” the New York Democrat said. “Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”
While Ocasio-Cortez did not offer a specific solution, she said the problem boils down to corporate greed.
“We should be working the least amount we’ve ever worked, if we were actually paid based on how much wealth we were producing,” she said. “But we’re not. We’re paid on how little we’re desperate enough to accept. And then the rest is skimmed off and given to a billionaire.”