DEPENDING ON WHOM you ask, robots and artificial intelligence are either coming to take your job, or you’re perfectly safe, at least for the near future. Truth is, automation always has and always will put people out of work. It’s just that this time around, even highly skilled jobs may be imperiled. And that has some folks dreading a time in which robots and AI upend the human workforce.
Included among those folks is San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim, who Wednesday launched a campaign called the Jobs of the Future Fund to study a statewide “payroll” tax on job-stealing machines. Proceeds from the tax would bankroll things like job retraining, free community college, or perhaps a universal basic income―countermeasures Kim thinks might make a robotic future more bearable for humans.