Martin Ford is a futurist and the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm. He has over 25 years experience in the fields of computer design and software development. He holds a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan and a graduate business degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Martin is an expert on the subject of accelerating progress in robotics and artificial intelligence—and what these advances mean for the economy, job market and society of the future.
Martin’s Book Recommendation:
Five Good Questions:
- The decimation of the value of human labor due to technology has been proclaimed and proven wrong for time immemorial. Humans have always found new ways to contribute and avoid obsolescence, transitioning from hunter gatherers to farmers to manufacturing workers to service providers. Why is this time different?
- Why are white collar jobs the most at risk? Are there any industries that may be a last stand for human labor?
- What are the investment implications of a world where robots allow for most of the gains to flow through to capital owners and there’s nothing left for labor? Are we heading toward a type of technofeudalism?
- I lean libertarian in my views, but you convincingly advocate for a basic guaranteed income, which sounds very socialist on the surface. I was surprised to see Friedrich Hayek was also a strong proponent. Can you explain your reasoning, especially in the context as a technological dividend for society?
- In your view, does the singularity look more like the movie Wall-E where humans become feeble and are cared for by benevolent robots, or more like The Matrix where the robots eventually want to enslave us to protect themselves from humans pulling the plug? Or maybe a third option?