So, this is a conversation between Ramez Naam and I about our respective books. Weirdly we were both on the same coast when this interview happened, but still had to do the interview over email because of flight schedules. It turned out pretty well, though, because when we hung out at the annual World Future Society conference in Orlando, I felt like I knew him a little better.
Ramez: A lot of people are worried today that robots are going to take all the jobs. Does that keep you up at night?
Madeline: No. It doesn’t worry me. At all. If I were worried about artificial intelligences taking all the jobs, I’d be worried about stuff like algorithmic day trading and traffic sculpting, or the way so much of basic surveillance and security protocol has been outsourced to unconscious, non-sentient intelligences. Really, I’m more concerned about the economy in general, and the systematic eradication of the middle class. The inability of most people my age to buy a home or have a family has less to do with robots and more to do with social and tax policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.