He’s getting a lot of flak for not having a good understanding of economics, but could it be that Stephen Hawking just isn’t afraid to throw stones in a glass house? CNET describes the fallout from his reddit AMA:
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In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Hawking offered a new disturbance in an answer to a long question about technological unemployment.
“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed,” he wrote. “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.”
Some might almost see this as a hope for technological socialism. However, Hawking observed: “So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”
Many have debated and will continue to debate whether technology really does drive inequality or whether people adjust to new circumstances and new ingenuity brings new markets and new jobs, ones previously unforeseen.