Politician Says "the Robots Are Coming!" as 2020 Campaign Message

Politician Says

A potential presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, is gaining some attention due to his views on automation and his ideas about UBI. UBI stands for Universal Basic Income, an idea that Every adult over 18 years old would receive a monthly stipend of $1,000. The motivation for his UBI plan is the claims that Automation will take away 1/3rd of American jobs within the next 20 years.

Early Years and the VFA

Andrew Yang was born in New York from Taiwanese immigrants who met while attending Berkeley. Believing in the American dream Mr. Yang studied economics and political science while attending Brown University and got his JD at Columbia Law. After graduation Andrew started a dot-com business. Like many dot-coms it failed and he joined a wireless software company and then a early stage healthcare startup. These experiences helped him learn how to build a business from entrepreneurs while working in hospitals. Andrew later become the CEO of Boutique Education company. He helped the company to become publicly traded in 2009 which was later bought.

Using his earnings from the sale of his company Andrew started the VFA, the Venture for America.  This organization helps entrepreneurs create business opportunities across America. During its first year it helped train 40 individuals. By 2017 they had trained over 500 entrepreneurs who helped create more than 2,500 Jobs Across the country.  In 2012 he was named a Champion of Change by the Obama administration, and was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in 2015. Traveling across the country with the VFA Andrew came to the belief that Automation were causing more job loss then could be combated with new job creation alone.

The Automation Debate

It is Mr. Yang’s belief that the technological advances automation brought couldn’t be argued against but wants its dangers brought to light. Four million jobs have been permanently lost to automation, one-third of American jobs are currently at risk, and no one working in politics in Washington today is preparing America for a great technological and economic shift.

“The reason Donald Trump was elected was that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” he said. “If you look at the voter data, it shows that the higher the level of concentration of manufacturing robots in a district, the more that district voted for Trump.”

Yang has other interesting ideas like making April 15th a national holiday to “make Taxes fun”, implementing Digital social credits for doing volunteer work or good deeds in the community, and my personally favorite policy concerning robo-calling by companies.

While it is VERY unlikely that Mr. Yang will win the presidential election in 2020, many experts were glad that he has been talking about the potential long-term risks of automation when many in Washington are distracted by the current and visible issues.

Erik Brynjolfsson, the director of M.I.T.’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and a co-author of “The Second Machine Age,” praised Mr. Yang for bringing automation’s economic effects into the conversation.

“This is a serious problem, and it’s going to get a lot worse,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said. “In every election for the next 10 or 20 years, this will become a more salient issue, and the candidates who can speak to it effectively will do well.”

Andrew Yang made the choice to voice his concern now knowing that he didn’t need to run for president to do so. He feels that the situation is serious and there is no time to waste. While the loss of jobs is a real potential problem we still have time to address it.

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