"Self-Driving Cars Will Cause Riots In The Street" - Meet America's First Anti-Automation Candidate

One New York businessman is mounting what the New York Times describes as a "longer-than-long-shot" bid for the Democratic on a platform that has never before existed in mainstream American politics: America needs to embrace radical change to prevent AI and automation from thrusting millions of Americans into poverty. 

His name is Andrew Yang, and he recently founded the organization Venture for America as he gears up for a 2020 run. Yang's philosophy is simple: America needs to radically restructure its society to prevent robots from causing Great Depression-level unemployment...


...At the core of his philosophy is something called the "Freedom Dividend"...essentially a rebranded take on UBI....

To fend off the coming robots, Mr. Yang is pushing what he calls a “Freedom Dividend,” a monthly check for $1,000 that would be sent to every American from age 18 to 64, regardless of income or employment status. These payments, he says, would bring everyone in America up to approximately the poverty line, even if they were directly hit by automation. Medicare and Medicaid would be unaffected under Mr. Yang’s plan, but people receiving government benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could choose to continue receiving those benefits, or take the $1,000 monthly payments instead.

According to Yang, major disruptions in society caused by robots are closer than  many Americans understand...


"All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society," Mr. Yang, 43, said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just a few years, he said, "we’re going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college."

"That one innovation," he continued, "will be enough to create riots in the street. And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms."

The insight about Trump carrying states with highest automation is very interesting and I would love to see some real analysis on that.

Alarmist? Sure. But Mr. Yang’s doomsday prophecy echoes the concerns of a growing number of labor economists and tech experts who are worried about the coming economic consequences of automation.


As the Times points out - and this week's Wired cover story would appear to support - Yang's anti-tech rhetoric is coming at an opportune time: The tech industry has transformed from a guardian of American optimism and progressive values to a symbol of all the excesses of late capitalism. Even Chamath Palihapitaya, an early Facebook executive, says he feels "tremendous guilt" over having helped create the social network.

A study published by McKinsey in November chillingly pointed out that as many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030. Other studies say those jobs will be replaced by more opportunities for skilled labor. But a quick look at a graph of the widening wealth inequality gulf in the US appears to undercut this notion.


So, does Yang have a chance? While he might seem to be a long (that's really long) shot for the Democratic nomination, two years ago, nobody believed President Trump had a snowball's chance in Hell of one day sitting in the Oval Office.

Bernie Sanders, another (formerly) non-mainstream candidate, is currently the most popular politician in America. Meanwhile, the rest of the contenders for the Democratic nomination - with the possible exception of Elizabeth Warren - wholeheartedly represent the Democratic establishment.


Hey - we know of at least one billionaire industrialist who might be receptive to throwing Yang his support...


Brazen Heist Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:31 Permalink

If we could hack them and drive them into politicians, now there's an idea to get behind.

All this flashy tech looks great on the surface, but it is always a double edged sword. Remember that.

nuubee eforce Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:40 Permalink

Yes, which actually opens up the question... what happens with the robots/automation when the fair reallocation of labor returns? You can't un-ring that bell, and automation has gotten so cheap, so accurate, so precise, and so low-power that it's hard to see businesses just saying, "Well, I could spend less on a Robot, but I want a person here..."

Socialism and central planning seem to beget a robot revolution, which if it doesn't kill us with AI, will only further enable socialism to work.

In reply to by eforce

Oliver Klozoff Stuck on Zero Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:35 Permalink

Unfortunately that has been my experience. Automation has caused my line of work to explode.

There are now 4X the people that do my job now than when I started in the 90's.

Once my employer went digital that is. The automated mills do all the repetitive work which was a manual skill one had to know.


That commie is right on one thing: Autonomous vehicles WILL destroy our society and replace it with "socialized driving".

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

jefferson32 Oliver Klozoff Wed, 02/14/2018 - 00:28 Permalink

"the excesses of late capitalism"

Zerohedge? Really??

Explain again how a country with a centrally-planned economy, ubiquitous corporate welfare, lobbyists in every corner of government, a plethoric military-industrial complex, negative interest rates, more regulation than anywhere in the world, the most undecipherable laws in human history, and ruled in secrecy by an unaccountable oligarchy - has ANYTHING to do with economic freedom?

For all people stuck in the central planning mentality of "automation is bad", who in another era would have said "industry is bad" or "cars are bad" or "computers are bad", at least now you know you're aligned with the morbid mainstream and with the collectivist proponents of the "basic income", the ultimate ambition of any slave society.

In reply to by Oliver Klozoff

mind-body-spirit King of Ruperts Land Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:12 Permalink

Pretty spurious logic there bud. You Canadian wannabe american btw? I'm Canadian wannabe Finnish, ha ha.

Just think for a minute. The following is Buckminster Fuller's argument btw. Can you imagine, try anyway, a world where let's say wealth was equally distributed? When Bucky thought this, I think the number at that time was $4,000,000 per person we'd be worth. Just think about that. Would you work?

I would. I would work. I would farm. Because I like feeding people.

Instead I sit at my terminal working for moloch, like most people.

ZHers have this kneejerk reaction to guaranteed income. Which the parasitical.01% already have, and anyone with passive income for that matter.

Guaranteed income is no less ridiculous than the status quo, a lot more reasonable actually.

And regarding tech, the idea we can safely leave that to the market is just silly, super naive. Tech isn't benign: https://www.ualberta.ca/extension/about-us/news/2017/january/growing-up…


In reply to by King of Ruperts Land

Oliver Klozoff mind-body-spirit Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:52 Permalink

I'd like to think I'd work too, that's my plan for retirement anyway. Major differences are I'll work on and for things that interest me.

And I realize that my work ethic, the thing that made me stand out from my peers, was formed in the depths of failure. I grew hungry for the things failure denied me.

From that I can't see how guaranteed income can possibly make a productive, beneficial society.

It sure hasn't worked with the niggers.

In reply to by mind-body-spirit

mkkby Liberal Tue, 02/13/2018 - 22:04 Permalink

Your self driving car won't let you go anywhere because it violates global warming goals.  You'll have to fill out a *flight plan* with a good enough reason, then wait for someone's approval.

But there will be more jobs, not less.  You'll have to learn to service the sensors, computers and network communications.  Fewer jobs for drivers and more for techies.

In reply to by Liberal

superyankee nuubee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

Over 100 years ago, a robot was invented that would wipe out 90% of all jobs in the USA. Today we call that robot a tractor.


I think most would agree that eliminating these agriculture jobs was a very good thing, lowering food prices and allowing the workforce to expand into industries that could not have been imagined at the time.


Please tell me how driverless trucks or any other modern form of automation is any different? Sure they will displace human workers, but Austrian economics (correctly) tells us this is a good thing. We are all better off when there is less work to do.


Efforts by governments or left wing groups to hamper progress towards automation is counter productive and will make us all worse off in the long run.


I’m sorry you lost your job as a truck driver, but my great grandfather lost his job as a blacksmith.


In reply to by nuubee

FoggyWorld superyankee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:27 Permalink

But it does need talking about in public and all of us need to look at the ramifications of possibly too much automation.  

Last election neither candidate even mentioned automation and the fact is that neither one of them is computer literate.  Hillary has people who print things out for her!  And her lack of skills let Huma Abedin and most likely the Awan family get hold of way too much information.

We need more politicians who at least understand say 8th grade level computers use.


In reply to by superyankee

plus_eV superyankee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:42 Permalink

I want to believe you, but where are these magical possibilities going to come from. Changing from an agrarian society to harnessing electricity happens once in human history.

The internet hasn't done anything for our lives or economy, not 1 statistic says were more productive or dollar has more purchasing power.  Read economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren by "Keynes."  I always hear how great Austrian economics is, but never see it.  I do know John Maynard Keynes ideas actually work and we use them all the time, so I'm going to trust his opinion

In reply to by superyankee

plus_eV Oldguy05 Wed, 02/14/2018 - 02:02 Permalink

I didn't say I agree with Keynesian economics, but we've been using his policies for the better part, during great depression 07 recession etc..... you sound like a typical boomer piece of shit.  Attack me ad hominem without facts Probably living of SS and every government hand out. Can't wait till of you die off SO FUCK OFF SCUM 

In reply to by Oldguy05

divingengineer superyankee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:03 Permalink

Every tractor needed an operator and a mechanic. One repair tech could probably monitor 200 production line robots without a problem.  Programmers, installers, repair techs, salesmen, etc.

Will it be enough jobs for humans to prevent chaos and a descent into a dystopian dog eat dog Bladerunner future? 

I don’t know.

What I do know is that unemployed truck drivers will not be tomorrow’s robotic programmers, no matter how much training you give them.

In reply to by superyankee

Mr... Robot superyankee Wed, 02/14/2018 - 01:02 Permalink

Even getting rid of 90% of workers in 1 field in the workforce (which was mostly horses not people) isn't the same as getting rid of 90% of the workforce in general. Plus the transformation will happen more quickly than "the experts" predict, once it starts. The elite already look down their nose at the unwashed masses. but when the wave of automation starts, we will just be useless eaters. Why do you think they're pushing for WWIII ? 

In reply to by superyankee

A Nanny Moose nuubee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 19:21 Permalink

Five solutions to the automation problem:

1) End the ballot stuffing program called immigration.

2) Stop debasing currency.

3) Stop subsidizing poor life choices. Alternately, I am OK with nationalized Abortion/Healthcare as a eugenics program.

4) Eliminate minimum wage.

5) Get government out of edewkayshin.

Pre-emptively, any down-voters can kiss my fucking ass.

In reply to by nuubee

TeethVillage88s eforce Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:41 Permalink

1) Floating Exchange Rates 2) End of Gold Club to balance Trade 3) Bretton Woods in 1944, end of Protectionism for US Jobs (Like the end of the UK Corn Laws) 4) Formation of WTO, NAFTA, China as full member of WTO

In reply to by eforce

MK ULTRA Alpha eforce Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:44 Permalink

They have air, sea and land robots which can track and kill you now. Soon, by the time your sex robot is affordable, the streets will be patrolled by robots.

You won't drive your car, your car drives you. Make a mistake, your car locks you in and calls the robot police.

Your smart house, it's cold, and you want a few degrees higher, but the house won't let you. A message board comment, a thought is out of line, immediate robot thought police tracking and apprehension, processed through re-education detention, chemo-re-education.

Memory is enemy number one.


In reply to by eforce

Brazen Heist nuubee Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:39 Permalink

OK...so we are too important and too good for driving cars and a whole host of other tasks that are being automated. The question is, are these supposed productivity gains actually making life easier, more fulfilling and more liveable for us? Why are people still stressed out like never before and working longer hours, despite all the productivity gains? And with both male and female working fulltime!!! Getting less and less bang for the buck. Hint: its got to do with the central banking cartel.

In reply to by nuubee