VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang On How AI Drives Unemployment
Andrew Yang, one of the 2020 Democratic candidate for president, is convinced that automation over the next few years and decades will ultimately lead to many American workers being laid off.
The 44-year-old New York-based businessman sat down with uPolitics.com exclusively to discuss his views on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotization and how this affects the U.S. economy, especially sectors like retail, customer service, radiology and accounting.
“I recently spoke to a conference of CEOs and asked them how many of them are looking at AI replacing workers in their back-office functions and every single hand went up,” Yang revealed. “AI is going to displace many American workers and it’s already happening.”
He continued: “There’s still 2.5 million call center workers in the United States who make about $14 an hour and AI is going to replace them quite soon. Google already demonstrated software that can do much of that job.”
Yang stressed that the projected increasing presence of AI in the U.S. economy is not simply “literal science fiction,” as many people tend to believe, but a reality that is changing the way employers seek out labor. He acknowledged the benefit that many of the robots that perform functions previously served by people often make less mistakes, obviously, than their human counterparts but emphasized that this is not worth the cost to employment.
Andy Puzder, President Donald Trump‘s first labor secretary, is the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Puzder was blasted during his short tenure in the Trump Administration for being vehemently against worker’s rights.
In the same interview with uPolitics, Yang also commented on education and its relationship to AI, saying that keeping alternatives to a traditional college degree is essential, especially for low-income students who would be better off pursuing trades like plumbing. Yang said it is highly unlikely that automation will affect these jobs anytime soon.
“You’re not going to get a robot plumber anytime during the next number of decades,” said Yang. “You are, however, going to get a robot accountant, like AI ironing out your tax forms. So we have to stop acting like college is the end-all-be-all.”
Over the next few days and weeks, uPolitics will continue to roll out similar exclusive videos of Yang and other 2020 presidential candidates explaining their views and ideas on several key policy issues like the economy and automation.