(ANTIMEDIA) – Despite Senator Ted Cruz’s regressive positions on a number of issues, including climate change, on one point — artificial intelligence — he is trying to push the needle in his own way. Cruz opened up last Wednesday’s hearing by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness with an abrupt reminder that AI is becoming such a predominant part of our lives that investments in it will increase by 300 percent in the new few years.
“Whether we recognize it or not,” Cruz said, during the meeting, “artificial intelligence is already seeping into our daily lives.”
The speech was one in a number of rare addresses concerning artificial intelligence on the Senate floor. During the hearing, Dr. Andrew Moore from Carnegie Mellon University and Dr. Eric Horvitz, Managing Director at Microsoft Research Lab, discussed how a variety of technologies have created an “inflection point” whereby computing speed, automation, and deep learning will combine to drive AI technology further into human lives. Several speakers, including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, discussed the impact AI would have on the human workforce and, ultimately, the economy.
Anti-Media spoke with author-turned-politician Zoltan Istvan, who just finished running the Transhumanist Party’s campaign for president. The current incarnation of government meeting to chew the fat on AI might seem nothing less than futile to Zoltan, who says they’re already behind and will remain so.
“As always, government is already one step behind, talking about trying to retrain jobs for the AI age while not realizing that in the two to five years one spends retraining people, AI will already replace those newly created jobs,” Zoltan proclaimed. “The facts are very simple: AI will be better at everyone’s job. The sole exception is the career of being an artist, as those jobs are subjective, but any nuts and bolts / performance type jobs will soon be on the chopping block, up for grabs to the best AI and robot makers.”
This ties into what many scientific prognosticators have been hinting at for a while, the most recent being Stephen Hawking, who proclaimed that middle-class jobs would soon be eviscerated by AI and automation.
“Jobs like engineers, lawyers, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, and secretaries will all disappear,” Zoltan concurs. “As will physical labor jobs, like construction workers, trash collectors, or plumbers. Robots will be better, and they’ll never be late to work, argue with the boss, or sue their employer because they fell off the roof.
“The U.S. government must get used to the Transhumanist Age, when millions of jobs will be lost every year to automation — and the only way to get used to that is to begin the laborious and challenging transition to a universal basic income, where all the unemployed receive enough benefits to eat, have shelter, health care, and the basics to live.
“The government must re-sell the American Dream. It’s one of not working 9 to 5, but finding new uses for ourselves in a leisure lifestyle.”
As far as his chances of working in the Trump administration — Zoltan previously told Anti-Media he was vying for a position — the transhumanist was cautiously optimistic. Still, he was realistic about his chances of being tapped to come onboard:
“I think, for now, they’re still working on getting the cabinet filled, so smaller players like myself need to wait and hope we get hired. But I’m continuing to inquire and hope I’ll hear back something by Jan 1st. I’m not sure what my chances are. I might be a bit too controversial still.”
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