Appearing at the SXSW conference Saturday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said people should be excited by the prospect of robots taking their jobs because it will afford them more time to pursue their creative passions.
Ocasio-Cortez speculated fears over automation stem from a lack of financial safety net and economic uncertainty. “We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” the self-avowed democrat-socialist said, according to Fast Company. “We should not feel nervous about the tollbooth collector not having to collect tolls. We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited about it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.”
The freshman congresswoman floated a proposal by billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to tax robots at 90 percent to make up workers’ lost income from automation. “Whether it’s a tax rate, whether it’s distributing wealth that’s created by automation – if we approach solutions to our systems and start entertaining ideas like that, then we should be excited about automation because of what it could potentially mean,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez then mused that with adequate policies in place, introducing more robots into the workforce could allow society more time to dabble in art and science, and actually increase the pace of innovation, freeing up “more time enjoying the world we live in.”
“Not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage,” she said to loud applause.
As Ocasio-Cortez eluded to in her remarks, the vast majority of Americans are opposed to robots replacing them in certain work settings.