Weekend Thoughts - 2.18.17

Image  by  Lisa Norwood , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Lisa Norwood, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. As automation and artificial intelligence continue to replace human workers in various industries, we can expect robots to be doing more and more of the jobs that we have always had people do. Now that news-writing bots are already part of journalism, it's possible that Think Wilder may eventually replace me with a bot. You'll know the switch has happened when articles come out faster, contain more accurate information, and have a better personality. Stay tuned!

2. So what are we going to do as a society to transition into a world where the robots perform so many tasks that large swaths of the country are unemployed? Bill Gates thinks that we should force companies using robots to pay a robot tax, which would slow down the process while still allowing for innovation. It's an interesting concept, and not one that I had come across previously. My first reaction was "Why would we want to slow down innovation in the first place?", but as I thought about it, I realized that we don't have anything in place to deal with the near-sudden widespread unemployment that automation is going to cause. I'm not sure that this is the best way to tackle the problem, but it's a proposition worth considering, and one that may not have been made by anyone other than Gates at this time.

3. Leaving and re-entering the country just got a lot more complicated. Customs Border Patrol has begun asking U.S. citizens re-entering America to hand over their devices and in some cases, passwords to their social media accounts. If you're planning to leave the country (and come back) anytime soon, especially if you are visiting China or Russia during your trip, it would be well worth your while to read through the article linked above for advice on how to get past Customs without giving up your most sensitive information.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.