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Pew Research Center is out this morning with what Fox News would deem a “Fox News Alert”: Americans are worried about the impact of automation on their lives.
This may seem obvious, but the nitty gritty of the Pew investigation, conducted this spring, is quite interesting. For example, Americans are rather worried that computer algorithms will replace humans in choosing job candidates—even though researchers have shown clearly that algorithms do a better job than humans at choosing job candidates. Americans fear losing control if they’re forced to ride in autonomous vehicles. These same Americans fly in airplanes every day that largely are flown by computers, and impressively efficient ones at that.
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Fretful respondents are unsurprisingly willing to engage in cognitive dissonance about coming automation. While 77% of Americans think robots will take over many jobs in coming decades, just 30% think robots will replace their jobs. That reminds me off all the old surveys about Americans thinking Congress was filled with a bunch of bums—but not their representatives.
There’s a lot that’s fascinating in this Pew study, even if the report ultimately is a dog-bites-man account: Humans are fretful about technological advances that will change their existence, yet they’ll ultimately embrace them, adapt to them and more often than not prosper from them.
There’s a notable new “media” player to talk about. Global affairs consultant Ian Bremmer, founder of the Eurasia Group, has started a newsletter called “Signal,” aimed at millennials. For years Bremmer has written a maddeningly all lowercase yet fascinating weekly newsletter on geopolitics. But that email goes out mostly to his exclusive list of clients. Signal is for the public, as his new digital TV show and his widely followed LinkedIn and other social media posts. Bremmer, who lives in New York and spends about half his time traveling the globe, told me recently he has hired 15 people to work for his new media concern, which he is positioning as being like “Axios, but for the rest of the world.”
I recommend you check out Bremmer’s offerings because he’s the rare political commentator who frequently has something original to say other than what he read in the morning’s papers.