Basic income: how Finland plans to implement the first nation-wide project in the EU | Finland Politics

Historically and presently, there is (reasonable) opposition to such ideas:

The reasons for the opposition by the Social Democrats have been clearly stated by Eero Heinäluoma, one of their leaders, in a public debate for the 2007 election: “Basic income encourages inactivity, is too expensive, means just an additional system among the others and does not support Lutheran work ethics.” Their position probably also has a lot to do with the links between the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions, who are totally against the idea of an income which would not be linked to work, would certainly lead to a reduction of salaries, and benefit mainly employers in line with Milton Friedman’s proposal. However, there has not been in 2015 really strong positions against among the social-democrats.

However, here’s some extra motivation for exploring the ideas of negative income tax, basic income, participatory income:

Behind the implementation of the basic income, there is the question of the status of work in the country. In European countries, we have arrived at a situation where large numbers of people are unemployed, with very little chance that these numbers will go down in the near future. This is particularly due to the (proven) fact that automation and robotization are destroying more jobs than innovation can create.

This should push us to think about the possibility that this could be a permanent situation, where we will need fewer workers to produce what we need. In addition, with the reduction of resources on the planet, an ever-growing production does not seem so realistic. Some are underlining that we are entering a new era, and the present social systems and its usual tools may be inadequate, as it proves that poverty and social problems have increased in the last years without any serious sign of improvement.

via Basic income: how Finland plans to implement the first nation-wide project in the EU | Finland Politics.

Q&A: A powerful look at the future of AI, from its epicenter at Carnegie Mellon – TechRepublic

This was a great interview with Andrew Moore, Dean of CMU’s School of CS.

What’s the most pressing area of research in robotics?

We have a dirty secret. One of the reasons we’re having this renaissance in AI in the last few years is that we’ve become very good at computer vision. We’ve become very good at learning, so that robots no longer need to be programmed for every possible eventuality—they just adapt to their environment. That’s why you’re seeing this big burst in robotics, in car industries and the logistics industries and retail and medicine and so forth. But we have not had the same success in grasping and manipulation. The claw of the hand of the robot being dextrous, quickly moving around and picking things up without breaking them. That’s where we’re devoting a huge amount of effort. Roboticists around the world are focusing on that. Until then, robots will be deployed in areas where they’re not controlling manipulation, but they’re controlling machines and detecting problems, moving large bulky objects around. We’ve given ourselves a 5-year moonshot project. We want to put a robot arm on 100,000 powered wheelchairs in the US. The goal is that the people on those wheelchairs who have high spinal cord injuries or degenerative diseases, can’t use their own arms, look at an object, hold their focus on it, and the robot arm will reach to pick it up and place it where the user looks or indicates. If we can get this problem solved—we think there’s a 50/50 chance to do it in five years—it will be an extremely good thing for all the people who need this help. It’s a big test to see if we’ve broken the barriers of manipulation. This is exactly what we did about 15 years ago with self-driving car technology. That one panned out.

Are schools meeting the demands?

There’s been a lot of progress, and I’m excited by the new inclusion of CS in the New York curriculum. In Queensland, Australia, robotics is becoming an actual part of the required curriculum for kids. The countries that really push the math and statistics behind AI are the ones that will prosper in the long run.

How is CMU dealing with recruiting more women into tech?

We’re really passionate about this. We’re the first university to have broken through the 40% barrier

Is the Field of Artificial Intelligence Sexist? –

This article on diversity in AI (or STEM in general) is preaching to the choir here, but I’d like to see more studies / numbers backing up some of the comments.

“There’s a difference between agentic goals, which have to do with your personal goals and your desire to be intellectually challenged, and communal goals, which involve working with other people and solving problems.”

In general, many women are driven by the desire to do work that benefits their communities, desJardins says. Men tend to be more interested in questions about algorithms and mathematical properties. Since men have come to dominate AI, she says, “research has become very narrowly focused on solving technical problems and not on the big questions.”

To close the diversity gap, schools need to emphasize the humanistic applications of artificial intelligence.

via Is the Field of Artificial Intelligence Sexist? –

Elon Musk is spending $10 million to save us from an evil robot takeover – Quartz

the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX announced yesterday that he is giving $10 million to fund research that ensures artificial intelligence will be used for good, not evil. … This week, Musk signed an open letter calling for research that will “help maximize the societal benefit of AI.”

via Elon Musk is spending $10 million to save us from an evil robot takeover – Quartz.

Donation is to the “Future of Life Institute” — nonprofit research group

Research priorities document [src]

I think I have a new hero.