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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Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

1 hour ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.