Will robots free people from slavery?

Even if automation makes human trafficking economically inefficient, that alone won't end this unethical practice.

  • Robotic automation may one day make slavery economically inefficient, but automation does not spring forth fully formed.
  • An interim period of piecemeal coverage may leave many at-risk, low-skilled workers in danger of exploitation.
  • Nor can automation sate the political and social motives for slavery found in some societies.
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How less professionalism will get you ahead in the workplace of the future

When it comes to job security in the future, instead of acting "professional" you may want to act more human.

  • Dell and the Institute for the Future recently conducted a study that found 85 percent of the jobs in 2030 don't exist today.
  • Having the conversation with kids on what they want to be when they grow up is becoming increasingly irrelevant because of this. They will need to be more adaptable for what future jobs may arise.
  • We commonly describe a "professional" as someone who can do the same thing multiple times with the same result. However, where A.I. is most effective is in producing the same output via consistent, repeatable activity. Because of this, it's being as "unprofessional" as possible that may secure a job — that is, acting in a way that is not predictable. Acting on your humanity may enable you to thrive.

99.99% of species go extinct. What is humanity’s future?

Mother Nature and the laws of physics have a death warrant out for humanity, says Michio Kaku. Can we escape it?

  • The great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov put a terrifying question on humanity's radar: Where will we be 50,000 years from now?
  • Humanity is close to exhausting the known laws of physics; it's the unknown – the unified theory of everything – that could dominate our destiny in the coming millennia. And that destiny is almost certainly tied to space travel. Why?
  • "Extinction is the norm," says Michio Kaku, 99.99% of all species on Earth eventually go extinct. "Mother Nature and the laws of physics have a death warrant for humanity," says Kaku. "[U]ltimately our destiny will be in outer space."
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Immigration: Why the well-meaning ‘successful immigrant’ narrative is faulty

We tend to promote foreigners by broadcasting their economic and scholarly value, instead of their intrinsic humanity.

  • There's a tendency to fight dehumanizing narratives about immigrants and refugees with stories about how much value they have to the United States, in terms of economic and academic achievements and abilities.
  • Though these counternarratives might come from a good place, Adam Waytz doesn't believe they "really consider people in terms of human dignity." They fail to call out immigrants and refugees inherent dignity.
  • The image of the deceased Aylan Kurdi washed ashore evoked immense sympathy for refugees. Besides showcasing their economic values, it highlighted their shared humanity.
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Computing history: From government secrets to a failed tech utopia

Historian Maragaret O'Mara explains why a tech utopia was, and still might be, a pipe dream.

  • Elon Musk isn't the first technologist to worry about robot overlords. The early computers of the '40s and '50s were referred to as electronic brains, and people regarded them with fascination and fear.
  • Until the 1960s, computing power was wielded only by corporations and the government. Then, out of the 1960s counterculture rose a generation of technologists with a techno-utopic vision: Give everyone a personal computer as a tool for empowerment and enlightenment, rather than being siloed machines of government secrets and war.
  • The personal computing movement thought technology would solve inequality, racism, and war – but as we now know, it did not. History seems to suggest that humans, not tech alone, must be the agents of change.
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