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Technology

Technology & Democracy Project

Rise of the Robots: A Bad Argument for a Bigger Welfare State

A group of scientists and activists wrote the president to warn him of an automated future that will give rise to “a separate nation of the poor, the unskilled, the jobless.” To blunt the coming mass unemployment, they proposed a universal basic income. The group, called the Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution, wrote that letter in March 1964, to President Lyndon Johnson. Their prophecy was way off, but it had its desired effect. Johnson promptly launched his “War on Poverty,” which jumpstarted the growth of federal, means-tested welfare programs. We now have 80 such programs. Instead of ridding the country of poverty, these programs create cycles of dependency and despair. Alas, we haven’t learned the lesson. The old argument is new again, now that robots, …


Will Robots Really Create an Employment “Death Spiral”?

According to a new International Monetary Fund research paper, the answer to the above question is yes. As one story on the IMF report put it, “The future of work run by robots appears to be a dystopian march to rising inequality, falling wages and higher unemployment.” This is just the latest in a long line of predictions that artificial intelligence and automation will soon create massive “technological unemployment.” I get it. Doomsday predictions gain shares on Facebook and Twitter. But these apocalyptic fears defy the lessons of both history and economics. If technology led to permanent unemployment, history would be one long, dismal story of expanding joblessness. In fact, without the technology that led to all the job loss, the global economy …


From Darwinism to Dataism: Will We Lose Our Representative Democracy to Techno-Religion?

Science fiction writers have long understood that when tyranny comes it often is introduced as some improvement, or as the correction of some perceived problem. C. S. Lewis, for example, warned of the therapeutic state that wants what is best for us, whether we ask for it or not. It starts as science, becomes scientism, then demands obedience. Jeremy Rifkin is a philosopher of Big Data in our own time who has a Marxist view of human good, organized in the “Commons,” whose space, according to his book “The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism,” is “more basic than both business and the market.” He writes that “The very purpose …


Twitter: Just Trust Our Algorithm

https://www.discovery.org/2018/03/twitter-just-trust-our-algorithm/

So I was out at the movies the other night, one of millions who have been enjoying the new Black Panther movie. We got there early, in time to be indoctrinated by the pre-show entertainment. One of the ads surprised me – it was for Twitter. Ads promoting social media platforms are not really that common. But even more surprising was the basic message of the ad – trust our algorithm. Read More ›


Why Technology Prophet George Gilder Predicts Big Tech’s Disruption

Forbes publisher and columnist Rich Karlgaard sits down with Discovery senior fellow George Gilder for a wide ranging Q&A session about tech progress, the future of innovation, and Life After Google. — “Over the last four decades, George Gilder has been one of the most influential writers on economic growth and prosperity, and technology’s key creative role in them. In 1981 Gilder’s book, Wealth and Poverty, hit all the bestseller lists and helped define the “supply-side,” low-tax economic revolution that characterized the eight years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Reagan himself frequently cited Wealth and Poverty. In the late 1980s Gilder turned his attention to technology and wrote several books predicting tech’s future impact, including Microcosm (1989), Life After Television (1990), Telecosm (2000) and The Silicon Eye (2006), as well as The Scandal of Money (2009). Gilder is presently wrapping up his next book, Life After Google, which will publish later this year.”

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Internet Investment and Innovation Threatened By Appellate Courts’ Net Neutrality Ruling

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 15, 2016 Contact Information for Media Only Discovery Institute 206-202-0401 x107 [email protected] Internet Investment and Innovation Threatened By Appellate Courts’ Net Neutrality Ruling WASHINGTON, DC – “Allowing the FCC to rule the Internet like a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act will do nothing but produce a broadband shortage,” said George Gilder, bestselling technology author and Discovery Institute senior fellow. “This just creates new incentives for broadband providers to divert investment into advertising and content platforms or other countries,” Gilder added. By a 2-1 vote the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has upheld the net neutrality rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015. Discovery Institute senior fellow Read More ›


FBI’s iPhone Request Threatens Innovation

Frustrated by its unsuccessful attempt to access the contents of an iPhone that was used by one of the San Bernardino shooting suspects in December, the FBI has obtained a court order requiring Apple’s cooperation. Although the FBI insists this is an exceptional request, limited to a single iPhone, in fact it has grave consequences for tech firms. Read DI Senior Fellow Hance Haney’s analysis at The Stream.