Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination: A Conversation With Tim O’Reilly

Tim O'Reilly at

51qYUTqxKOL._SX328_BO1 204 203 200_The thing I've been struggling with is understanding the relationship of technology and the economy. There's a narrative today about AI eliminating human jobs, and it's pretty clear to me, based on history, that it's wrong. History teaches us that if we use technology correctly, we increase productivity. The fundamental questions that we're facing today are not about how technology will inevitably put people out of work, they're questions about how to distribute the fruits of that productivity, and what we have to do differently in order to get a different outcome than the one we’re facing now.

We seem to be in the throes of technological determinism. The future is determined by the choices we make. If you look at the history of how we've dealt with past technological revolutions, there's been a social conscience that arose where we decided to change the way our society works.

I'm trying to figure out how to change the rules of the game and get people to think differently about the future. It's pretty clear to me that there is plenty of work to be done that technology can help us with, huge problems to be solved. What's keeping us from putting today's technology to work on those problems and instead forcing us to spend time on so much triviality? In particular, I'm thinking a lot about the kind of advice I as a technologist could give to policymakers, people in Washington, or Brussels, or China—to say, "Here's what you ought to be doing; here's what the real path of technology teaches us; here are the choices that you should be setting up for our society; this is the kind of leadership that you should be exerting."

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