Business

Watch Hillary Clinton tell Googlers her one solution to fix inequality in an economy run by robots

Hillary Clinton went on a whirlwind tour of Silicon Valley yesterday, giving public chats at Google, Facebook, and Twitter. As is tradition, Google chair Eric Schmidt sat town for an hour-long interview with Google’s high-profile guest and peppered her with philosophical questions.

The most interesting question came from an audience member who ask Clinton how should plans to solve for the fact that computers are increasingly replacing jobs. Economists debate whether super-smart computers will eventually eliminate most jobs, starting with the less-skilled variety.

You can watch the full interview below. But, essentially the one solution she hesitantly proposed is “subsidized employment,” where the government creates financial incentives businesses to keep people working. Her answer begins around 56:00 in the video below.

“I’m really glad you asked that,” said Clinton, “because I don’t have a quick, glib answer to give you. But I can tell you that I’d like to have any thoughts from all of you, because you are making this new world.”

She was adamant that a laissez-faire approach to the problem was not acceptable. “I don’t think it’s enough to basically say that everyone else is just going to have to get used to it, live with it,” she argued, noting that inequality is detrimental to both “social cohesion” and democratic decision-making.

Google co-founder Larry Page has proposed a solution where everyone works part-time:

“Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests. So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the work week. And then, if you add slightly less employment, you can adjust and people will still have jobs.”

Even though economists debate whether the economy will, in fact, get to a place where computers have replaced most jobs, Clinton said she believed “everybody is going to get to it”.

She concluded that the issue is, “One of the most serious questions we have to figure out how to answer.”

Indeed.


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8 comments
Brent Davis
Brent Davis

It would all be irrelevant if we replaced politicians with robots first.

Scott Wasson
Scott Wasson

Maybe it's not about looking to solve a problem with a system within the system itself. Thinking of a world that is so technologically advanced, prosperous, and can achieve such a high rate of productivity that there is a mass loss of jobs based on those benefits could instead be a great problem to have not a problem to solve. If we weren't so stuck in the mindset of working for pay and working within a monetary system and instead moved to a resource based economy where basic needs are met from these new technologies, FOR ALL PEOPLE, and motivation isn't based on creating more individual wealth but instead on cultivating an amazing and interesting culture and community, these problems may become blessings. Blessings that free us from famine, poverty, avoidable death, stress, unnecessary competition and both wealth and resource hoarding. Hippie rant over.

Andrey Pogodin
Andrey Pogodin

How about importing more people with high IQ and fewer people with low IQ? 

Paul Creekmore
Paul Creekmore

You mean illegal immigrant robots. Oh! Undocumented robots. Yes, that's it.

Chris Young
Chris Young

I enjoyed the talk. Mind you I am not scholar in the areas discussed but enjoyed the talk

Wassim Mourtada
Wassim Mourtada

As long as they're American robots and not immigrant robots

Josh Horowitz
Josh Horowitz

Wow, the answers her seem terrible. Anyone else?

Brandon Pierce
Brandon Pierce

A lot of typos in that write up. I'm glad someone asked Clinton about it though.