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Federico Pistono on Singularity 1 on 1: Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK!

Federico Pistono is perhaps the youngest guest I have ever had on Singularity 1 on 1. Despite that Federico is already a scientific educator, social activist, blogger and aspiring filmmaker. More recently, he is the author of a book called Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK and an incoming student to Singularity University.

During our discussion with Federico we cover a wide variety of topics such as: his early fascination with technology and wide spectrum of personal interests; Singularity University and the grand challenges that humanity is facing today; his upcoming book Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s OK; artificial intelligence and the relationship between robotization and unemployment; the technological singularity and our chances of surviving it; entrepreneurship, capitalism and intellectual property rights.

My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Pistono is: “The cure for boredom is curiosity. And there is no cure for curiosity.”

(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.)

 

Who is Federico Pistono?

Federico Pistono

Federico Pistono is a scientific educator, social activist, blogger, and aspiring filmmaker.

He has written several articles for newspapers and blogs regarding a variety of topics, from science, technology, Internet communities and social media, artificial intelligence, and climate change. He was interviewed by radio and TV stations in Italy, Denmark, and the United Stated. He hosted hundreds of hours of podcasts covering the impact of technology in society, activism, as well as science-related news. He was invited to speak at universities, symposia and other events around the world.

Federico has a formal education in science and technology, with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Verona, Department of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences. He continued his studies by following online courses at Stanford on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as many other subjects. In 2012 he was accepted to the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley.

He is author of the book Robots will steal your job, but that’s OK: how to survive the economic collapse and be happy, which explores the impact of technological advances have on our lives, what it means to be happy, and provides suggestions on how to avoid a systemic collapse and live happier.

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  • Great talk. I really am looking forward to the book. It will be interesting to see if Frederico has to do much rewriting after attending SU this summer.

  • Great point friend, great point. You are clearly not really square after all, despite your name 😉

    I also would like to see if there will be any substantial changes…

  • Brian Bors

    Great intervieuw. It’s good that Danaylov is challanging the author and comming up with good counterpoints, it makes the talk so much more intresting. Pistono has good answers to these questions.

  • As of this very moment a Kiva Systems Order Fulfillment Warehouse Bot costs Amazon $10K a year to operate.

    And it can easily work for 8 thousand hours a year.

    That’s 2/3rds less than what it costs Amazon to hire a Minimum Wage worker who only works 2,000 hours a year.

    So, yeah, given that cost/efficiency ratio, of course Amazon is going to replace the bulk of its human workers as quickly as possible, (as well as Walmart by the end of the year/s 2015/2016, (at the latest), because just those 2 companies alone are going to see 10s of billions in *annual* profits by abandoning their human workforce/s, that’s how Free Market Capitalism works), that’s not even a question.

    The economy of the USA today is a 75% Service Economy.

    I’d focus more on what needs to happen after the tsunami of the Cambrian Wave of Robotics sweeps across the workplace rather than presenting the case that ‘the robots are coming’ because the robots are already here.

  • Interesting interview. Federico had a problem explaining the high unemployment in southern Europe, vs South Korea and Japan, in terms of robots taking over the jobs. Because one should expect the unemployment was higher in these asian countries. Clearly the crisis in Greece, Spain and Italy is not due to robots, but other complex factors such as corruption in Greece and a housing bubble in Spain, to name a few.

    I think Federico’s main point is valid: Computer algorithms are taking more sophisticated jobs from humans, and unlike the past there are no jobs that require little training, for the newly unemployed. So if a 45 year old truck driver is suddenly without a job, he can’t start on a 10 year long education to get a new job. How would we pay for the living expenses in the 10 years ? And maybe he didn’t start on a long education in the first place, because he wasn’t much into reading and studying. Not everyone can get a University degree.

    Federico mentioned Norway and a company there which has installed automated systems in ships, thereby reducing the need for human labor. I know a bit about Norway, I have lived there for many years ( currently I live in Denmark), and right now the unemployment rate in Norway is very low. They are importing foreign labor, as they need engineers, teachers and other groups. So the overall picture is very complex, it’s difficult to see what’s going on.

    I’m looking forward to the book.

  • CM Stewart

    The global transition from a mostly human labor force to a mostly robot labor force is bumpy. A university education stereotypically helps, but in many individual cases, the institutional years would be detrimental. Some people must be the innovators.

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