Andrew Yang is a long shot to make the next round of debates but deserves credit for bringing the conversation about automation and the future of work to the debate stage. To be fair, the impact of automation on work is a difficult conversation. Conservatives speak to the unemployed at factory gates, coal mines, and aging docks, blaming workers’ struggles on soft borders, unfair trade practices, and excessive regulation. Liberals point to insufficient investment in education and resistance to minimum-wage legislation. Business points to AI’s potential to free workers from mundane tasks.
But the talk track stops there. They don’t dig into the inevitable tech trends that will transform the workforce or what we should do about it. Yang’s views of guaranteed minimum income are unlikely to fly in the US. Few parents will raise their children to sit on a couch and collect a check. Work has a large role in validating our self-worth. But he has started the conversation. And for that, he deserves credit. For a view from Forrester, check out the recently published book, Invisible Robots in the Quiet of the Night.