Opinions from influencers order top occupation university teacher alma mater any topic any agree & disagree
Stephen Hawking, British physicistThe primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but I fear the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry and president of the Royal SocietyI am very happy eating transgenic maize. Genetically modified foods can make a difference: adapted to drought or more nutrients in a crop such as Golden Rice, in which precursors of vitamin A are introduced and can help prevent childhood blindness.
Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor at MITIf we're willing to send half a million fellow citizens into battle, to protect oil supplies and our economic way of life, we should be no less willing to make the small sacrifice of paying more for gasoline. A revenue-neutral plan that reduced Social Security taxes by $1 billion for every penny a gallon of gas tax would leave the working poor and middle class better off than before. In the long t... See More
Noam Chomsky, Linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activistIt comes from the right wing originally. Milton Friedman proposed it for example. From his point of view it was part of an effort to undermine welfare state measures. But it doesn’t have to have a reactionary component. It can be interpreted as something progressive. That people have rights. In fact if you read the universal declaration of human rights, 1948, take a look at article 45. It says peo... See More
Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb [...] We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound
Yanis Varoufakis, Former finance minister of Greece, is Professor of Economics at the University of AthensEither we are going to have a basic income that regulates this new society of ours, or we are going to have very substantial social conflicts that get far worse with xenophobia and refugees and migration and so forth.
Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics and MusicianA basic income guarantee is a neo-liberal strategy for serfdom without the work ... In addition to a Job Guarantee we also demand a Services Guarantee. It is no good having a bare minimum income if the dentists and doctors and shops in your town are closed and the public transport system is deficient.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analystThere are resilient ways to solve problems, say feed the world, without complicated technologies that entail fragility and unkown possibilities.
disagrees State-funded faith schoolsAll education should be secular. But failing that, religious indoctrination - which in a free society will occur, because one cannot outlaw religion itself, though one should argue against it vigorously – should happen at the private expense of those who choose to inflict it on their children. It should emphatically not be happening at public expense.
disagrees Creationism in schoolsIf you think about that, somehow saying that, well, anything goes, we shouldn’t offend religious beliefs by requiring kids to know – to understand reality; that’s child abuse. And if you think about it, teaching kids – or allowing the notion that the earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet. That’s how big an ... See More
disagrees Creationism in schoolsBut it doesn’t matter what the definition of “science” is: the First Amendment prohibits pushing religion in the classroom, and creationism is religion. Scholars don’t have the right to “explore” the role of God in the history of life. As I said, I’d object to scholars lying to their students, but would try to take legal action only against lies that violate the Constitution. The courts have defin... See More
Tina Beattie, Writer, broadcaster
agrees State-funded faith schoolsThere’s a difference between religious schools (which teach religion) and faith schools (which teach the national curriculum). I support state funding for the latter. Religious parents pay taxes and are entitled to a reasonable choice in education. Where is the evidence that religious instruction is ‘bad for society’? Secular society must accommodate a genuine plurality of beliefs and values in ed... See More
Stephen Hawking, British physicistthe 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.
I don’t see an easy way of solving it [mass unemployment]. It’s an inevitable consequence of technological progress.
Moshe Vardi, AI and Automation Expert With 30 Yrs ExperienceWe are approaching the time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task. Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do? A typical answer is that we will be free to pursue leisure activities. [But] I do not find the prospect of leisure-only life appealing. I believe that work i... See More
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman & former CEO, GoogleWe have to make them [workers] more productive through automation, through tools. So I'm convinced that there is in fact going to be a jobs shortage. There is going to be jobs that are unfulfilled, and that the way we'll fill them is to take people plus computers, and the computers will make people smarter. If you make the people smarter, their wages go up. They don't go down, and the number of jo... See More
Lawrence Summers, Economist and Harvard University ProfessorIt is widely feared that half the jobs in the economy might be eliminated by innovations such as self-driving vehicles, automatic checkout machines and expert systems that trade securities more effectively than humans can.
Vint Cerf, Internet pioneerHistorically, technology has created more jobs than it destroys and there is no reason to think otherwise in this case. Someone has to make and service all these advanced devices.
Ross Anderson, British computer scientist, cryptographerWhen you move from voting in person to voting at home (whether by post, by phone or over the internet) it vastly expands the scope for vote buying and coercion, and we’ve seen this rising steadily in the UK since the 2001 election where postal votes first became a right. All the parties have been caught hustling up the vote in various ways.
While technology may someday allow us to replicate these essential features online, many of them are currently absent from Internet voting, which is subject to any number of possible disruptions. These include denial of service attacks that shut down the election process, counterfeit websites, phishing attacks, hacks into the election system, or the insertion of computer viruses that tamper with e... See More
Ron Rivest, CryptographerWe have learned the hard way that almost any computer system can be broken into by a sufficiently determined, skillful, and persistent adversary. There is nothing special about voting systems that magically provides protection against attack... Voting system software may be maliciously designed, may contain bugs, or may be changed or replaced at some point during the pre-election roll-out of eq... See More
Robert J. Shiller, Professor of economics at Yale and Nobel laureate
agrees Robot TaxA moderate tax on robots, even a temporary tax that merely slows the adoption of disruptive technology, seems a natural component of a policy to address rising inequality. Revenue could be targeted toward wage insurance, to help people replaced by new technology make the transition to a different career. This would accord with our natural sense of justice, and thus be likely to endure.
Roger Schank, John Evans Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Psychology and Education, Northwestern UniversityMachines cannot think. They are not going to think any time soon. They may increasingly do more interesting things, but the idea that we need to worry about them, regulate them, or grant them civil rights, is just plain silly.
Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard UniversityThere is not the slightest reason to believe in a coming singularity. The fact that you can visualize a future in your imagination is not evidence that it is likely or even possible. Look at domed cities, jet-pack commuting, underwater cities, mile-high buildings, and nuclear-powered automobiles--all staples of futuristic fantasies when I was a child that have never arrived. Sheer processing power... See More
Rodney A. Brooks, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, author, and robotics entrepreneurIf we are spectacularly lucky we’ll have AI over the next thirty years with the intentionality of a lizard, and robots using that AI will be useful tools. [...] Worrying about AI that will be intentionally evil to us is pure fear mongering
Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at BerkeleyThe question is: Could you prove that your systems can’t ever, no matter how smart they are, overwrite their original goals as set by the humans?
Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at U. Missouri–Kansas City, Senior Scholar at Levy Economics InstituteI do not support sending a BIG check to everyone. It is a devaluation of the currency, as prices rise so that the BIG payment essentially becomes the entry price to the marketplace. So we will need to target the BIG to those who do not (or cannot) work. Yes there’s some stigma. But, first we implement Employer of Last Resort so that anyone who is ready and willing to work has a job in the Job Gua... See More
Alan Turing, British mathematician and logician, a major contributor to mathematics, cryptanalysis, and AIEven if we could keep the machines in a subservient position, for instance by turning off the power at strategic moments, we should, as a species, feel greatly humbled. … [T]his new danger … is certainly something which can give us anxiety.
Richard Schmalensee, Professor of Management and Economics at MIT
disagrees $13,000 a year for every over-21-year-old American instead of all transfer payments would be better than the status quoA properly designed negative income tax could be part of a better policy, but replacing everything is a bad idea.
Diane Coyle, Professor of Economics, University of Manchester. Vice-Chairman BBC Trust. Former advisor to the UK Treasury.
disagrees BrexitMany foreign investors would relocate, export contracts would not get renegotiated because of the uncertainty, and the transition costs of unpicking a 40+ year relationship would be extremely high
Oliver Hart, Nobel Prize winner in Economics and Professor at Harvard
disagrees $13,000 a year for every over-21-year-old American instead of all transfer payments would be better than the status quoBill Gates would get 13K, which is crazy. Raising taxes is costly and so redistribution should be targeted to those who need help most.
Richard D. Wolff, Marxian economist. Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, AmherstUBI creates a new difference between those people who work and earn a living and those people who, for wathever reason, don't work but still earn a living. This is going to create two classes of people (...) and for me the big issue is why do that?. I like the idea of community building by not having people that are extremely wealthy or extremely poor, but I don't like this way of doing it, becau... See More
Robert J. Shiller, Professor of economics at Yale and Nobel laureate
agrees Robot TaxA moderate tax on robots, even a temporary tax that merely slows the adoption of disruptive technology, seems a natural component of a policy to address rising inequality. Revenue could be targeted towards wage insurance, to help people replaced by new technology make the transition to a different career. This would accord with our natural sense of justice, and thus be likely to endure.
Hillary Clinton, US presidential candidateWe talk about drought-resistant seeds, and I’ve promoted them all over Africa. By definition, they have been engineered to be drought-resistant, I mean that’s the beauty of them. Maybe somebody can get their harvest done and not starve, and maybe there’s some left over to sell.
Lord Robert Skidelsky, EconomistAn unconditional basic income would make part-time work a possibility for many who now have to work full-time at minimum wages; it would also start to give all workers the same choice as to how much to work, and under what conditions, as is now possessed by owners of substantial capital.
Nina V. Fedoroff, Molecular biologist known for her research in life sciences and biotechnologyWe’re talking about saving millions of lives here
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