Will Someone?

Welcome

Article from Issue 196/2017
Author(s):

One of the more interesting news items that crossed my desk – or my desktop, as in Mate, since loose papers don't really fly through my office like they used to, was a quote from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's CEO Meg Whitman, "AI and robots? Will someone think of the jobs?"

Dear Reader,

One of the more interesting news items that crossed my desk – or my desktop, as in Mate, since loose papers don't really fly through my office like they used to, was a quote from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise's CEO Meg Whitman, "AI and robots? Will someone think of the jobs?"

The quote came from a speech Whitman gave at the World Economic Forum in Davos Klosters, Switzerland. I wish I could find a full transcript of the speech, but so far it doesn't seem to be out there. Lots of videos are available at the World Economic Forum website [2] – and probably more will be there by the time you read this – so if you look around enough, you might run across it.

The Register and other commentators reporting on the speech have noted the irony of Whitman making these remarks, since Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has laid off 90,000 people since Whitman took over. I don't really have a solution to the problem Whitman raises, which is the displacement of workers due to automation and artificial intelligence, and if I did, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fit on this page. All I can really do in this column is point things out, and a couple things about this story strike me as interesting.

First, it has always seemed strange that all these predictions of the techno apocalypse seem so passive – no one really has an answer for what to do about them. "Someone had better do something about this," is a common theme, but no one says "I'm going to do something about this." I would, of course, have to include myself in this category of people who talk but don't really have a roadmap, but at least I am willing to register some alarm and don't attempt to soft-pedal this potential world fiasco as yet another emerging business trend.

Second, it seems a testament to our politically polarized world that only our allies get to state the obvious. Yes, Meg Whitman has laid off lots of people, but that does not seem particularly relevant to the substance of her warnings. The head of an oil company might not be the ideal person to raise awareness about climate change, but if an oil executive said we'd better do something about global warming, that would actually be a quite a welcome development.

I don't have a solution for what to do about the displacement of jobs due to automation, but I have a sense that Free Software is probably helping somehow because the problem seems related to the concentration of wealth, and Free Software is a counter-balancing influence to the concentration of wealth.

I agree with Ms. Whitman's observation that we'd better pay attention to the effect automation is having on our economy, and I have a feeling the solution to this problem is going to be much more radical and disruptive than anyone is talking about right now. So wake up everybody.

Joe Casad, Editor in Chief

Infos

  1. "AI and Robots? Will Someone Think of the Jobs?" by Paul Kunert: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/17/ai_hpe_ceo_whitman_job_irony/
  2. World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2017

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • News

    Updates on Technologies, Trends, and Tools

  • Welcome

    HP CEO Meg Whitman just announced that HP employees will no longer be able to telecommute because the company will need “all hands on deck” at the corporate offices. Few details emerged on who these telecommuters were or what they were doing from their homes. The announcement was strangely similar to another by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer a couple months ago. In both cases, the argument was that colocation would lead to increased productivity through teamwork and enhanced collaboration.

  • HP Splits into Two Companies

    Enterprise giant frees itself from ink and home PCs (and visa versa).

  • Top 50 Tech Visionaries Article: 5 women make the list
  • Welcome

    Once it was announced to the public, the news of the KRACK attack spread quickly over the Internet – a flaw in the handshake system for wireless devices that allows an attacker to compromise encryption. According to reports, the attack puts almost all devices that engage in WPA2-encrypted wireless networking at risk.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News

njobs Europe
What:
Where:
Country:
Njobs Netherlands Njobs Deutschland Njobs United Kingdom Njobs Italia Njobs France Njobs Espana Njobs Poland
Njobs Austria Njobs Denmark Njobs Belgium Njobs Czech Republic Njobs Mexico Njobs India Njobs Colombia