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Technology

Technology & Democracy Project

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

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. Read More ›

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. Read More ›

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. Read More ›

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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 ›

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 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.”

Read More ›

Media Ownership Reform Long Overdue

The Federal Communications Commission until now has failed to ensure that it’s media ownership rules keep pace with changes in the marketplace despite clear direction from Congress in the 1996 Telecom Act to review the rules every four years and repeal or modify those no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of competition. A prime example is Read More ›

The Spiral of Silence

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics “Animal Farm” and “1984” were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it. “Big Brother,” a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes straight out of “1984.” In the state that Orwell describes, all subjects are Read More ›

Revisiting Orwell to Understand our Times

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it. “Big Brother,” a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the society that Orwell describes, everyone was reminded that Read More ›