Technology and automation in the workforce is now a hot-button issue among some of the greatest minds of our generation. According to a joint study conducted by Oxford University and the Oxford Martin School, “[…] 47 percent of jobs in the U.S. are “at risk” of being automated in the next 20 years.”
In February, Elon Musk argued that in the near future the government will need to introduce a universal basic income (UBI) program in order to compensate for automation.
At the same time, Bill Gates argued robots that replace human workers should incur taxes equivalent to that worker’s income taxes, which, in turn, could help pay for labor force retraining.
Concerns of robots taking over middle class jobs have also been reiterated by Stephen Hawking and Mark Cuban in recent months.
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Now, Bill Nye is joining the conversation.
On The Big Think’s YouTube page Tuesday, Nye addressed the question posed by Ian, a computer science student: When and if machines replace our jobs, what should we spend our lives accomplishing instead? Is there some greater goal that we should aim toward?
Nye’s take on the issue had a more optimistic tone, letting Ian know that it’s okay. As technology advances, it frees humans up to do more things.
“As jobs become automated, humans will go do what humans want to do,” he said, “come up with new machines, come up with new ideas, new techniques in mathematics that will simplify things even more, make discoveries of life on another world.”
“We can do this man, it’s gonna be great,” he added.