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Andrew Yang. Photo: Yang campaign.

A new consensus of analysts assures us that we should not worry as automation dislodges up to hundreds of millions of white and blue collar workers across the planet over the coming years, since virtually all will find new jobs. But Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and an early candidate for president in 2020, says those new jobs are already late — a dystopian age of automation is already here.

Quick take: Yang is a long shot, but his anti-robot message — coming not from a Luddite but from the tech world itself — resonates, especially when he seems to be tattling on his pals. He tells Axios that while experts and politicians debate the potential impact of robotization, his Silicon Valley friends are already angling to figure out how to make it happen faster so they can cash in.

  • "The way the debate is framed is wrong — that robots are speculative and we need to keep an eye out," Yang told me by phone. " ... We are in the third or fourth inning of automation. It brought us Donald Trump."
  • "I hang out in Silicon Valley," Yang said. "They are all totally convinced. There is zero ambiguity. Their calculus: what functions require a lot of people and how can we change that?"
  • Yang's platform is a call to action to soften the social and economic decline that he says automation is already causing.

Go deeper

8 mins ago - Technology

TikTok hits 1 billion users

Data: Axios research; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

TikTok on Monday said that it has amassed more than 1 billion monthly active users in its short lifetime, joining an exclusive club of apps that have already reached that size.

Why it matters: TikTok has continued to grow despite enormous pressure from regulators around the globe and increased competition from copycat products built by its competitors.

9 mins ago - Technology

Facebook: Metaverse won't "move fast and break things"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook on Monday said it will invest $50 million over two years in global research and program partners to ensure its metaverse products "are developed responsibly."

Why it matters: "It's almost the opposite of that now long-abandoned slogan of 'move fast and break things,'" Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg told Axios in an interview at The Atlantic Festival Monday.

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Facebook presses "pause" on Instagram Kids

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook's announcement Monday that it was "pausing development" on Instagram Kids did little to slow a wave of criticism of the project ahead of a Senate hearing Thursday.

Yes, but: There's an argument to be made for building kids' version of popular apps, even if their adult versions are causing real-world harms.

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