Panel Discussion Subjects

Four subjects are set to be discussed by panels: refitting the job economy, financing a civil society, education in an era of AI, and human/robot interactions.

Panel A: Refitting the ‘Job Economy’

Increasing application of robot, artificial intelligence, and digital technologies (among yet others) are set to enhance industry performance, and further raise the prospects for ‘well-being’ of the continent’s populous. The transformative characteristics of a 21st century economy are well beyond mere refitting the present economic and social organization. In progress is a fully transformed application of human productive resources. The relation of man to work assumes new characteristics along with the means for his support. Pursuit of ‘social policy’ (jobs for full-employment of all potential male and female workers extending well beyond current retirement) collides with an era of industrial reliance on superior technology resources for productivity. Are policies that have a central goal to create ‘jobs’ relevant aims for a transformed industrial economy? How to prepare for an encompassing economic and social agenda in an era beyond a ‘job economy’? What new for means of engaging the state’s future prime-age human resources in gainful and purposeful societal endeavors?

Panel B: Financing a Civil Society

In a ‘job economy’ employment, wage incomes and ever increasing ‘standard of living’ GDP/Capita became a model1 (economic principle) for distributing the wealth (compensation, wages) from productive processes. As ‘jobs’ as a principle means for industrial employment decline, and as labor’s share of the national income decline, even as industrial output advances, new economic principles are required for maintaining gainful, and purposeful, human resources. A wage-economy is seen a dubious self-adjusting prescription for securing incomes for the region’s inhabitants and maintaining the state’s future tax base from levies on wage incomes. As the ordered structure of jobs in mass steady employment shifts to ‘telework’, ICT-mobile work, crowd employment etc. with uncertain periods of income and prolonged periods of ‘free-time’ what course will sustain household incomes? Anticipated are concepts and principles for relevant tax policies to a 21st century economy. By what means will the economy sustain individual livelihood, households, and advancing human development in an economy with fewer means for job (or steady) incomes.

Panel C: Education in an Era of AI

With the progression of the industrial revolution western higher education underwent a distinct transformation as its graduates became the source for operating advancing forms of machinery as well as for staffing the increasing complexities in administration within a free-enterprise, capitalist, economic system. Educated man coupled with clever machine/systems were the essential resource combination for spurring output (GDP) and productivity (GDP/Capita). The size and education of the work became a measure for the potency of the economy. With robot ‘intelligent’ labor becoming an increasing addition to the industrial labor market, what education edge remains for human labor? With ‘intelligent’ devices omnipresent, what is appropriate content for childhood education? What constitutes literacy in the era beyond reading as the basic means for acquiring knowledge? Will Facebook and ‘virtual reality’ serve well to replace the literary novel as a means for extending our private opportunity for imagination? With AI all-about what happens to man’s reliance on myth for his private ‘truth’? What is the purpose of education in the era of increasing leisure time? What is the role for higher education when it is no longer central in the product supply chain for industry? What knowledge will preserve man’s identity?

Panel D: Human/Robot Relations

Throughout history humans have engaged in formative behavior to alien incursion into their territory. Humans’ adaption has spanned perils from conquests, migrations, natural disasters, revolutions and rampant diseases. It accommodated to the mass migration of rural population into the urban domain. There were conceived new social modes of accommodation. Robots are now on the move. Intelligent mobile robots penetrate the labor market. Industry estimates have 40 million the labor market by 2050. Regular contact with these yet new intruders on the societal turf will require its own form of mores, rules, conventions, disciplines. Their current physical, mental and ‘emotional’ state of being has them ‘dependent’ not unlike early stages in human development. Advancing a decade or two these will surely be more dexterous, skilful and more ‘independent’. How to prepare Western society for the inclusion of these seemingly inanimate ‘objects’, yet ones prized for their abilities and loyalty? What ‘rights’ will these be due? What obligations are due these from their owners? What basis determines their contacts with humans? What is their place in a transforming social order? How to prepare for this yet additional influx of ‘migrant’ labor?