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Great Podcast: James Hughes on “What is Technoprogressivism” (Review The Future), and my transcript

I ran across this ReviewTheFuture podcast with Prof. James Hughes of the IEET last week, and it provided so much food for thought that I decided to have it transcribed, see the best-of’s below (still adding), and the PDF.

Future Review Techno transcript progressive 046  PDF

In this episode, we talk with Trinity College professor and Institute for Ethics in Emerging Technology (IEET) founder Dr. James Hughes about the political term Technoprogressive and the recent Technoprogressive Declaration he helped develop (and we here at RTF have signed). Hughes contextualizes the movement as a new, techno-optimistic wing of the traditional Enlightenment liberal project, and portrays Technoprogressivism as the left wing counterpart to the noisy Libertarian wing of the futurist movement. We talk about the position of the technoprogressive movement on a host of issues, including universal basic income, longevity enhancement, and how to promote a techno-optimistic viewpoint specifically within the American Left, which has developed a sometimes-justified suspicion of technological solutions to problems.

Excerpts and quotes (emphasis by me)

I think really the tipping point for this particular idea, for both the realizations around technological unemployment as an inevitability and the realization that basic income guarantee is a desirable social policy. We’re probably at the same point with this debate that we were with gay marriage maybe 15 years ago where the tipping was beginning, and we just couldn’t foresee how quickly it was all going to fall into place.

Shrinking the work year would be to have more days of vacation, more paid family leave and so forth, which Americans are, of course, in need of. And then shrinking the work week would be having like a 35-hour work week and then a 30-hour work week and so forth.  Those will be good policies and those would have helped ease us into the situation that we’re going to be entering. But eventually, we have to say if we have fewer and fewer people who we can tax to support more and more people who are dependent on public services, then we need to have a whole renegotiation of the social contract around work, leisure, retirement, disability and so forth, and basic income is the most obvious solution to that.

So, one of the ideas that, of course, ends up being pretty much — if we’re going to have progressive taxation on the other end of what people make, negative income tax is basically the same thing as a basic income guarantee, and that has been supported by people like Milton Friedman and all kinds of people on the right, and it’s much easier probably in the United States at any rate to implement.

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