Opinions from university teachersSee all occupations
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia UniversityWith the election of Trump, America's soft power has taken a big hit. The United States has moved from a position of leadership in the creation of a rules-based international system to a position of leadership in its destruction and the creation of a regime of global protectionism. The damage will be long-lasting.
Judith Rodin, PhilanthropistWhen The Rockefeller Foundation first began its work to advance universal health coverage, it seemed to many to be a pipedream. Today, we are truly inspired to see how rapidly support for universal health coverage has grown, including its recent recognition in the Sustainable Development Goals. Universal health coverage is key to building resilient health systems that make both people and planet h... See More
Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist based at Columbia UniversityAs the gap between rich and poor keeps growing and part-time jobs become more common, we must strengthen the social safety net. Universal health coverage would give essential protection, and needs to be part of every society.
Paul Krugman, Economist (nobel laureate) and NY Times columnistTrump’s tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain.
George Carey, Former Archbishop of CanterburyWhen suffering is so great, when patients know they are at the end of life, make repeated pleas to die, it seems a denial of loving compassion which is the hallmark of Christianity to refuse to allow them to fulfil their own clearly stated request – after a proper process of safeguards. That is what I would want.
Pope Benedict XVI, Former Pope
disagrees EuthanasiaNot all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise dis... See More
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics and Musician
disagrees Basic IncomeA 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.
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.
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.
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
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 MIT
agrees Carbon TaxIf 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
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
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
Elizabeth S. Anderson, Philosopher. University of Michigan.
disagrees Basic IncomeVan Parijs would guarantee everyone the maximum unconditional basic income that could be sustained in a society (...) regardless of wether they were able or performing socially useful work. Lazy, able-bodied surfers would be just as entitled to that income as dependent caretakers or the disabled. (...) Van Parij's proposal effectively indulges the tastes of the lazy and irresponsible at the expen... See More
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