Mar 24, 2017

Tech community "dumbfounded" by Mnuchin's dismissal of AI impact on jobs

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin riled the tech community this morning when he told Axios' Mike Allen that displacement of jobs by artificial intelligence and automation is "not even on my radar screen" because the technology is "50-100 more years" away. Mnuchin also said he is "not worried at all" about robots displacing humans in the near future. "In fact, I'm optimistic."

The reaction from the tech community was harsh and swift.

  • "Personally I'm dumbfounded," said Amy Webb, futurist and author who runs the Future Today Institute. "If Mnuchin had done any previous reading or learning about #AI, he couldn't have uttered those ridiculous words this morning."
  • DJ Patil, former U.S. Chief Data Scientist, pointed out the Obama Administration's report on artificial intelligence and said "Read to see why we need to get ready now."
  • "This is actually kind of frightening, particularly the dismissal of the impact of AI and machine learning on jobs," tweeted Larry Irving, a former Clinton Administration official who works with tech companies. "Has he talked to anyone in the tech (or any) industry recently?"
  • Writer Scott Sentens tweeted, "That's like dismissing a boy as crying wolf when half your village is being eaten by a pack behind you."
  • Mark Cuban simply tweeted, "Wow."

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