The BriefGet Up To Speed
Around the world, technology is disrupting the workforce, with automation poised to displace humans in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and beyond. Will the rise of robots fuel a new wave of “us versus them” populism capable of undermining democracy?View Debate Page
- Founder and President, Eurasia Group
This in no way is going to help to resolve the most challenging war in the Middle East today.
“If you want to be sure the near-term pain a trade battle would impose on U.S. workers will prove worthwhile in the long run, you'd better have allies—both political and military,” writes Ian Bremmer.
"Last October, China's President Xi Jinping delivered the most consequential speech since Mikhail Gorbachev stepped before cameras to formally dissolve the Soviet Union. Addressing the Communist Party's 19th Party Congress, Xi made clear that China is ready to claim its share of global leadership. The implications of this step are global."
An interview between Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Ian Bremmer.
"There are many ways a government can assert its interests on the international stage. Some use military muscle. Others use subversion or bluster. In Asia, Africa, Latin America and even in Europe, China is using investment to get what it wants from countries and governments in need."
"China continues to take a long-term, government-led and -funded approach to global trade and investment, noted Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer, one of the world’s foremost political scientists, in a keynote conversation with Oracle CEO Mark Hurd."
"'Increasingly the foreign policy establishment in the United States... does believe that China is a strategic competitor of the United States; that's in the national security doctrine but is also a feeling that is much broader,' says Dr Ian Bremmer, author of nine books, and founder and president of global political risk research and consultancy Eurasia Group, and GZero Media."
"Every year, Eurasia Group puts out a list of top geopolitical risks. In 2019, China looms large in many of them."
"Apple is really good at high-end consumer products that have secure data. Why would China want you to have that?" Bremmer asked. "That's completely opposed to the Chinese model."
"In China, by contrast, 280 million people watched AlphaGo win. There, what really mattered was that a machine owned by a California company, Alphabet, the parent of Google, had conquered a game invented more than 2,500 years ago in Asia."
"But the most important stop will be in Beijing, where Trump will meet President Xi Jinping for the first time since the Chinese leader heralded a “new era” in global politics at his pivotal party congress in October. Trump will try to project strength while calling for closer cooperation on North Korea and on resolving trade disputes. But he arrives at a moment when China, not the U.S., is the single most powerful actor in the global economy."
"Ian Bremmer of Eurasia Group discusses the trade war between the United States and China."
"Not so long ago, U.S. leaders predicted that economic development and the birth of a middle class in China would inevitably move that nation toward democracy. Instead, China’s leadership has profited from a weaker West. It has seized on opportunities created by European fragmentation and political dysfunction in Washington to offer China as an alternative model of stability and development."
"This week marks the 40th anniversary of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s decision to “reform and open up” China to the rest of the world. To celebrate the occasion, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a major, 80-minute address on Dec.18 to political and business leaders in Beijing."
"China will expand its Belt and Road development strategy of large-scale investment in foreign countries, extending Beijing’s economic and political influence abroad as the U.S. long-term commitment to its regional allies wavers. More important, Xi will continue to protect plans that allow China to compete for access to, and development of, the emerging information and communication technologies crucial for both national security and prosperity in the 21st century."
Ian Bremmer speaks with LinkedIn Editors about the future of China.
Ian Bremmer argues, “Today, most manufacturing jobs and service sector jobs in the US that are leaving are leaving because they are getting automated.”
Ian Bremmer argues, “The dramatic rise of anti-establishment political movements has been greatly impacted by information technologies that allow individuals to understand the world through an ever-narrower lens of beliefs and facts they already agree with.”
“The storms creating turmoil in the US and Europe - including technological change in the workplace and a deepening sense of grievance at income inequality - are now crossing into the developing world, where governments and institutions aren't ready.”
“The introduction of robotics and AI across the globe, even on a limited scale, will sharply reduce the low-wage advantage that helps poor countries and poor people become middle-income countries and middle-class consumers.”
Ian Bremmer argues, “The populist backlash in the U.S. and across the entirety of Europe is a backlash to globalism, and it’s only set to intensify (and expand beyond the U.S. and Europe) over the coming years, making “us vs them”—the conflict between the winners and losers in this emerging world order—a fundamental challenge to the liberal democratic model.”
Katy Waldman interviews Ian Bremmer, Slate, March 6, 2012
Bremmer and Musacchio debate, This house believes that state capitalism is a viable alternative to liberal capitalism, for the Economist.
With Europe, China and the U.S. in crisis, the real question is which of them will stumble first.
Unrest, inflation and an aging populace stand in the way of the Middle Kingdom's touted domination.
We are now living in a G-Zero world, one in which no single country or bloc of countries has the political and economic leverage -- or the will -- to drive a truly international agenda.
The world's two great powers are growing dangerously hostile to one another. Could this be worse than the cold war?
- Author, "The People vs. Democracy"
A book excerpt and interview with Yascha Mounk, author of “The People vs Democracy”
"Political scientist Yascha Mounk tells explains to Amanpour why some of Europe's oldest democracies might be on shaky ground."
"Democrats and Republicans belong to increasingly homogeneous parties. Can we survive the loss of local politics?"
"Voters are more open to progressive economic policy now than in the recent past. But they are not opposed to capitalism."
"A new study shows Americans have little understanding of their political adversaries—and education doesn’t help."
"The coalitions that sustained the traditional left parties in the West have collapsed. New ones can be built—but it won’t be easy."
"Parties are losing control over their candidates. Two scholars argue that ordinary Americans are the ones paying the price."
Yascha Mounk argues, “Nationalism is like a half-wild beast. As long as it remains under our control, it can be of tremendous use. But if we abandon it, others are sure to step in, prodding and baiting the beast to bring out its most ferocious side.”
“As liberal democracies have become worse at improving their citizens’ living standards, populist movements that disavow liberalism are emerging from Brussels to Brasília and from Warsaw to Washington.”
In his new book, Yascha Mounk writes: “Some of the most important economic decisions facing countries around the world are now taken by technocrats.”
Yascha Mounk argues, “Donald Trump won two-thirds of American counties but only a little more than one-third of America's GDP. He did much better in parts of the country where there has been less recent economic investment, where there are fewer highly qualified people, even where the share of jobs that might be automated away in the coming decades is higher.”
“Finding the right response to automation is both an economic and a political necessity. At stake is not only the broad-based prosperity to which society has long grown accustomed, but also the continued viability of the democratic system itself.”
At this point, why would we expect anything else?
On Wednesday [March 15, 2017] at AEI, experts on European politics discussed the results of the Dutch general election.
The world has just experienced a watershed year for populist politics, with antiestablishment challengers winning elections and illiberal regimes modeling an alternative, says expert Yascha Mounk.
Dark days this summer showed how government by the people—beset by illiberal populists on one side and undemocratic elites on the other—is poised for extinction.
Four reasons not to be cheered by Emmanuel Macron’s election to the French presidency.
What the rise of populist movements means for democracy.
With Angela Merkel’s re-election almost certain, Germany’s election has been startlingly dull. But more is going on than meets the eye.
Yascha Mounk discusses the global turn against illiberal democracy and the rise of populism across the world on CNN's Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria.
At this point, why would we expect anything else?
Take it from a new American.
America is on its way to a full-blown constitutional crisis.
It might not be Trump, but our system is more vulnerable to a demagogue than you'd think.
We have been surprised by the scale and intensity of attention our work has garnered around the world since the New York Times profiled it last week. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been. Our research, after all, helped contextualize the seismic shifts we’ve seen in some of the world’s long-standing democracies over the past year — and comes to some rather startling findings.
WASHINGTON — Yascha Mounk is used to being the most pessimistic person in the room. Mr. Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard, has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way.
The citizens of wealthy, established democracies are less satisfied with their governments than they have been at any time since opinion polling began. Most scholars have interpreted this as a sign of dissatisfaction with particular governments rather than with the political system as a whole. Drawing on recent public opinion data, we suggest that this optimistic interpretation is no longer plausible. Across a wide sample of countries in North America and Western Europe, citizens of mature democracies have become markedly less satisfied with their form of government and surprisingly open to nondemocratic alternatives. A serious democratic disconnect has emerged. If it widens even further, it may begin to challenge the stability of seemingly consolidated democracies.
In recent years, parties and candidates challenging key democratic norms have won unprecedented popular support in liberal democracies across the globe. Drawing on public opinion data from the World Values Survey and various national polls, we show that the success of anti-establishment parties and candidates is not a temporal or geographic aberration, but rather a reflection of growing popular disaffection with liberal-democratic norms and institutions, and of increasing support for authoritarian interpretations of democracy. The record number of anti-system politicians in office raises uncertainty about the strength of supposedly “consolidated” liberal democracies and highlights the need for further analysis of the signs of democratic deconsolidation.
- Internet Entrepreneur & Author, "Tomorrows Versus Yesterdays"
“Silicon Valley in particular has this idea this is the first time we've ever lived through this … This is a massive revolution but it's happened before in human history. It certainly happened in the Industrial Age. And the disruption, the idea that the feeling of powerlessness, the alienation, the atomization, the confusion. These are familiar things in history.”
Andrew Keen argues, “In 2018, with Silicon Valley's intellectual and financial might behind it, UBI will take the centre stage in our discussions about a smart future dominated by technological unemployment.”
Andrew Keen argues, “It’s time to start looking for ways to fix our networked future. The good news is that we are finally recognizing the magnitude of the digital problem.”
Andrew Keen discusses his new book, which examines the effects of rapid technological change and what we can do to help technology be a positive force in the future.
Andrew Keen argues, “Throughout history, we've always had five tools, five ways of reshaping the world to our own interest.”
Andrew Keen explains that he is a supporter of the openness and innovative nature of Silicon Valley.
“With his new book, Keen switches from sarcasm to a kind of pragmatic optimism. Our digital future can be shaped in more humane directions, he argues. But for that to happen we need to be realistic about the scale of the challenge, to learn from history and accept that there are no magic bullets or technological fixes.”
“History, Keen says, is the best guide to overcoming technology’s discontents. The United States and Europe were ‘reasonably effective’ in responding to an earlier tech crisis — the industrial revolution.”
The real question, of course, is whether what Google wants is what we want too. Do we really want Google digesting so much intimate data about us? Could iGoogle actually be a remix of "1984's" Room 101 — that Orwellian dystopia in which our most secret desires and most repressed fears are revealed?
The vision of a luxury automated tomorrow is giving way to an altogether darker prospect in which algorithms make the professional classes redundant. Andrew Keen reveals how to join the elite who are on the right side of artificial intelligence.
The fact that something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t rule out the chance that it will. Given the unrelenting logic of Moore’s Law, it’s just common sense, and anyone who says they don’t see that is either willfully ignorant, or woefully naïve.
The hidden negatives outweigh the positives. Under our noses, one of the biggest ever shifts in power between people and big institutions is taking place, disguised in the language of inclusion and transparency.
In my upcoming new book, The Internet Is Not the Answer, I argue that the networked revolution has, so far, been an enormous failure.
Andrew Keen, a twenty-year veteran of the tech industry, traces the technological and economic history of the Internet from its founding in the 1960s through the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity, and investigates how the Internet is reconfiguring our worldoften at great cost.
Andrew Keen is known as the Antichrist of Silicon Valley. He calls Google a monster, Uber a bad idea and wants governments to regulate both.
Rather than the answer to our contemporary problems, the Internet, that human-computer symbiosis that J. C. R. Licklider believed would save humanity, is actually diminishing most aspects of our lives.
In a panel discussion on personal data collection and the internet, Andrew Keen argues that Facebook, Google, and the rest reduce and trivialize us by treating people exclusively as consumers, as data.
- David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Brookings Institution
“The turn to the right in Europe was fueled by two interrelated factors. First was the 2008 economic crisis. … The economic crisis pushed popular opinion toward a growing Euroskepticism—the second factor boosting the popularity of the far right’s anti-EU platforms. Across Europe, citizens began to doubt that European integration—supported and ushered in by centrist parties on the left and the right—was the answer to their discontent.”
Alina Polyakova argues that Europe “should call out far-right populists’ political opportunism and use this moment of collective soul-searching about the future of the European Union to create policies that address the people’s concerns.”
“The center right across the world should not give in to the far right, and the center left must stand firm on progressive principles that channel voters’ anxieties rather than feed them.”
Alina Polyakova argues, “If you look at the trends, the economic trends and vis-à-vis electoral support for far-right political parties since the 1990s, there is no clear causal relationship between an economic decline, increase in unemployment and how likely these parties are to do well at the polls.”
Alina Polyakova, Yascha Mounk & Moises Naim discuss threats to democracy.
“The boundaries between smart materials, artificial intelligence, embodiment, biology, and robotics are blurring. This is how robotics will really affect the human race over the next twenty to forty years.”
Here are 12 jobs with the highest degrees of automation, as well as what they pay and how much the job will grow or decline by the year 2024 … according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
“AI opens up opportunities for many new jobs to be created some that we can imagine and many we probably can’t right now.”
“A Pew Research Center survey conducted in May examines Americans’ attitudes about four emerging automation technologies: workplace automation, driverless cars, robot caregivers, and computer algorithms that evaluate and hire job applicants.”
An overview of studies that polled how Americans feel about automation.
“Thanks primarily to automation, and to a lesser extent globalization, no rich country’s middle-skilled workers are safe.”
“People on low and middle incomes have seen their wages stagnate and the share of middle-skilled jobs has fallen, contributing to rising inequality and concerns that top earners are getting a disproportionate share of the gains from economic growth, according to a new OECD report.”
“Automation is software that follows pre-programmed ‘rules’. Artificial intelligence is designed to simulate human thinking.”
For the Motion
“As new technologies transform the economy, wages fall, and displaced workers compete with those already employed for available jobs. We can see this effect around us now.”
“Another wave of disruption is about to wash across the world economy, knocking out entire new classes of jobs: artificial intelligence. This could provide decades’ worth of fuel to the revolt against the global elites.”
“Perhaps the weak wage growth of recent years is telling us something, namely that technology is hollowing out the middle class and creating a bifurcated economy in which a small number of very rich people employ armies of poor people to cater for their every whim.”
“As companies scramble to borrow money in order to buy machinery and robots, the resulting investment boom will drive up rates.”
“Disruptive technologies, which have helped bring enormous progress, could be disastrous if they get out of hand.”
“UBI will not solve the social problems that come from loss of people’s purpose in life and of their social stature and identity — which jobs provide.”
“Self-driving buses would knock out crucial jobs in black communities across the country.”
Against the Motion
“Everyone thinks that automation will take away our jobs. The evidence disagrees.”
“Technology is changing the way we work — that’s not in dispute. These changes can improve people’s lives and lead to a more creative, intellectually engaged workforce.”
“The conventional wisdom among technologists is well-established: Robots are going to eat our jobs. But economists tend to have a different perspective.”
“There’s an argument to say that rather than engineering humans out of the equation, artificial intelligence will enable us to reach our full potential—performing better.”
“Across the world, the labor pool isn't growing fast enough to support our needs.”
“If vast swathes of the human population are rendered effectively unemployable, it is imperative that a mechanism is in place to ensure that everyone will stand to benefit from automation—many believe that a universal basic income might be the answer.”
The Rise of Populism
“There is … an internal challenge to liberal democracy—a challenge from populists who seek to drive a wedge between democracy and liberalism.”
“It’s not a threat to democracy but a salve.”
The State of Democracy
Freedom House found that last year, “seventy-one countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties, with only 35 registering gains. This marked the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.”
“What if democracy is actually doing fine and it is something else that needs correcting?”
“More than half the countries in the latest update of a democratic-health index saw their scores decline.”