Ocasio-Cortez: People Should Be ‘Excited About Automation’

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-New York) waves to the crowd as she steps onto the stage at the Women’s Unity Rally organized by Women’s March NYC in Lower Manhattan, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
JOSHUA CAPLAN

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.

Breitbart News’ John Binder reported:

About 85 percent of Americans said they support the federal government putting restrictions on the types of jobs that employers can automate, like dirty and dangerous jobs, supporting an economic nationalist agenda when it comes to the issue, Pew Research polling has found.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans said the federal government should place limits on the number of jobs in which a business can replace a U.S. worker with a machine. About 70 percent of the country’s working class, those with or without a high school degree, agree that the mass displacement of American workers through automation should be stopped with regulation by the federal government.

According to Reuters, an Association for Advancing Automation study estimates U.S. companies installed a record number of robots in 2018. Automation shipments totaled around 28,478 for the year, an increase of 16 percent from 2017.

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