In the new Washington Post offices at One Franklin Square last week, Baidu Chief Scientist Andrew Ng met with the Post’s Matt McFarland to discuss the hot topic of self-driving cars.
Below is an extract from the story authored by Matt, which went live on April 29 (read entire article here.)
“Proponents of autonomous vehicles are in a sticky situation. Self-driving technology is expected to have a tremendous impact on public health and reduce the 1.25 million deaths every year on global roads. At the same time, this emerging technology is a threat to the employment of the millions who are paid to sit behind the wheel — from truck drivers to cab drivers and delivery workers.
Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng, an expert in the world of artificial intelligence, acknowledges the unemployment concerns, but he sees a way forward that offers society the benefits of autonomous vehicles and blunts the negative impact of job losses.
‘I feel a strong moral responsibility or obligation to try to make self-driving cars a reality as quickly as possible,’ Ng said.
At Baidu, a Chinese tech company where Ng is developing self-driving technology, the number 3,000 has become a rallying call, representing the number of humans killed every day on roads. For Ng self-driving cars are a prime example of the benefits of what he calls the golden age of artificial intelligence.
But for humans who could lose their jobs in this golden age, governments could offer a solution, Ng says. He is an advocate for basic income, in which governments pay citizens a nominal amount to guarantee a basic standard of living. Several Northern European countries are planning basic income experiments.
‘We as a society have an ethical responsibility to help those whose jobs are displaced by this value-creating artificial intelligence,’ Ng said.
Ng suggests a tweak to basic income — paying the unemployed to study online and prepare for a new career.
“We ask you to invest in yourself so as to increase the chance that you can re-enter the workforce if you’re unemployed, and contribute back to the tax base and contribute back more to society in the future,” Ng said.
Read entire article here.