Andrew Yang: AI, UBI and the War on Normal People

Editor: At the end of this post is a ‘Waking Up’ podcast by Sam Harris interviewing Andrew Yang, economist, entrepreneur and business educator, a who is running as a Democrat for US President in 2020. To begin with, I am not a fan or even a casual follower of Sam Harris, first because he is avowedly one of the Intellectual Dark Web who promotes and rationalizes racist, misogynist and xenophobic views, and second because I find him extremely boring and rigid in his thinking (his absolutist view that there is ‘no free will’ is ridiculous). Harris manages not to be racist, misogynist or boring in this podcast, mainly because of the person he is interviewing.
However, he is the first media producer I have come across who is introducing Andrew Yang to the public. I would not have known about Yang if it wasn’t for this podcast. (I found it on Twitter.) So with that caveat, I invite you to listen to this introduction to Andrew Yang and what he stands for.
My first web-check on Andrew Yang was not does he support gay rights (he does), but what is his stance on climate change? I found that he is committed to reducing carbon emissions and taking action on climate, including a CARBON TAX, not only because of its catastrophic impacts, but because of its potential to spark economic and technological innovation.
I also checked his position on the criminal justice system and immigration. Yang advocates for reform of the criminal justice system and the reduction of mass incarceration. Here is a portion of Yang’s platform on criminal justice:
  • Review the current mandatory minimum laws to bring them in line with what data shows us is effective
  • Shift federal drug policy away from punishment and towards treatment
  • End the use of for-profit, private prisons
  • Fund programs targeted at reducing recidivism and increasing reintegration
  • Push for a reconsideration of the harshness of our felony laws, including an investigation into any civil rights issues raised by the disproportionate amount of minorities convicted of these crimes
Yang is the first generation son of immigrants from Taiwan to the US. Here is a portion of his statement on immigration:
  • Work with Congress to consider a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in this country illegally. Steps I would consider including in this pathway:
    • A multi-step waiting system, consisting of stages:
      • Work permit (5-8 years)
      • Permanent resident (5-8 years)
      • Full citizenship (after 10 – 15 years)
    • Full background check
    • Fines and payment of back taxes
    • Education requirements
The reason that I am very interested in Andrew Yang’s bid for President is because he is not only socially progressive (see the list of his platform issues here), but he is addressing core issues that the US is struggling and utterly failing to deal with: mass unemployment, poor health care, inequality, and the impact of artificial intelligence and mechanization on almost every job sector.
Yang’s solution is to reorganize the economy to provide UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME to every American, MEDICARE FOR ALL, and to retool our economy to secure HUMANistic goals of EQUALITY and WELL-BEING. And to do all this in a way that actually strengthens the economy.
What I disagree with: I would rather he proposed free university education rather than just ‘reducing student loan debt.’
Yang’s book, The War on Normal People, is worth a read; I’m going to get a copy. What I see that is of value in his campaign for President is its capacity to change the national conversation around work, poverty, health care, equality, immigration and dealing with profound technological and climate changes.
You can find out more about Andrew Yang’s campaign for President 2020 and his platform at his campaign website: https://www.yang2020.com

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with presidential candidate Andrew Yang about “universal basic income” (UBI). They discuss the state of the economy, the rise of automation and AI, the arguments for and against UBI, and other topics.

https://samharris.org/podcasts/130-universal-basic-income/

Andrew Yang is the founder of Venture for America, a major non-profit that places top college graduates in start-ups for two years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Yang has been the CEO, co-founder or executive at a number of technology and education companies. Yang was named a Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship and a Champion of Change by the White House and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He was also named to the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Department of Commerce. A major documentary with an Oscar-winning director, Generation Startup, featuring Yang and Venture for America, was released in Fall 2016 and is available on Netflix and other streaming platforms. He is a graduate of Columbia Law, where he was an Editor of the Law Review, James Kent Scholar and winner of the Class of 1912 Prize, and Brown University where he graduated with degrees in Economics and Political Science. He is the author of The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future.

Website: https://www.yang2020.com/

Twitter: @AndrewYangVFA

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