Jun 2, 2018

Automation reshapes national political debate

A robot we could get behind: an automated lawn mower. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Even before the technologies of the future come to fruition, they're igniting ethical, economic and political debates at the Capitol and around the country. A quick look at the debates ahead:

Universal basic income: This would provide a guaranteed cash benefit to the millions who could be put out of work by automation. "Silicon Valley is in the midst of a love affair with it, arguing that when robots come to take all of our jobs, we’re going to need stronger redistributive policies to help keep families afloat," Annie Lowrey, who has a book on the subject coming July 10, wrote in New York magazine.

Retooling education for a lifetime of job change: "[W]e need to be much more serious about using every tool we have — tax incentives, Pell grants, community colleges — to create the conditions for every American to be constantly upgrading skills and for every company to keep training its workers," N.Y. Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in March. "That will matter whether the challenge is China or robots."

Entitlements when people live to 100: "Financial innovation has not kept up with life expectancy," the Financial Times warned in an article with the provocative title, "Can you afford to live to 100?"

Drones, driverless and robot ethics: The biggest difficulty in self-driving cars is not batteries, fearful drivers, or expensive sensors. It's the modern version of what ethicists have called the "trolley problem" — a debate over who should die and who should be saved when an autonomous vehicle's algorithms end up with such a horrible choice. Go deeper.

As you saw with the Mark Zuckerberg hearings, many lawmakers are clueless about technology. Can you imagine them sensibly creating in-the-sky regs for drones? 

Be smart: The economic discontent that drove the Trump vote in 2016 could be more inflamed by 2020, when fears about the future could be becoming reality.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 13 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 721,584 — Total deaths: 33,958 — Total recoveries: 149,122.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 142,106 — Total deaths: 2,479 — Total recoveries: 2,686.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health