The Economics of the Future

with Dr Richard Petty & Brett King

The Economics of the Future

with Dr Richard Petty & Brett king

TF guests richard petty brett king

In this week’s show Robert Tercek joins Brett King and Richard Petty, the authors of a new book titled The Rise of Technosocialism, to discuss how 21st century economics will be reframed by inequality, automation and climate change. Right now inflation is a massive issue, but it’s just the start of some seismic changes to core economics set to hit humanity over the next few decades. Which future scenario is likely? Luddistan, Failedistan, Technosocialism or the US’ Neo-Feudalism?

The Economics of the Future

Breaking Banks

Hosted By Brett King, Jason Henrichs, & JP Nicols
The #1 global fintech radio show and podcast. Every week we explore the personalities, startups, innovators, and industry players driving disruption in financial services; from Incumbents to unicorns, and from the latest cutting edge technology to the people who are using it to help to create a more innovative, inclusive and healthy financial future.

“Technosocialism isn’t a political movement, it’s a social outcome. It resets long-term economic growth within a framework that doesn’t harm the economy but allows big government capability—with strong investment in technology infrastructure that improves government productivity—eliminating the funding and budgetary objections that government programs typically face.”

Brett King  is an Australian born futurist, entrepreneur and best selling author . 

Brett’s 2016 book Augmented:life in the mart lane was cited by Chinese leader Xi Jinping as recommended reading on AI.

Brett cowrote with Dr Richard Petty the 2021 book “The Rise of Technosocialism: How Inequality, AI and Climate Will Usher in a New World Order

Dr Richard Petty  focused on economics & finance is a government policy advisor, entrepreneur and awarded academic, he has authored or co-authored more than 100 academic and professional works including several books, and several of his journal articles are among the top cited in their fields. Richard has been professor or visiting professor at several business schools and delivered lectures and addresses at many universities including Stanford.

How did Richard & Brett arrive at their vision for the future

Core themes of ‘The Rise of Techonsocialism are; uncertainty, protests, inequality, AI jobs, climate, food  and the economy. The book look at how society will adapt to these forces.

During the Covid pandemic the wealth of the world’s billionaires topped $10 Trillion for the first time, while 150 million people globally slipped back into extreme poverty.

How will humanity adapt to highly automated societies. By 2035 AI will already be making many jobs obsolete, at the same time there will be a labor shortage of skilled STEM workers. 

What will our response to climate change be? By 2050 between 300 million and 1 Billion people will be displaced by global sea rise alone across more than 500 coastal cities. Others will be forced to flee in search for food as farmland globally fails due to rising temperatures. Where will they all go?

The book explores what an optimal response to these compounding Crises might be.

Time is compressing and the forces we are seeing today are shaping thing more rapidly, an exampel is the rapid uptake of  central bank digital currencies with e-CNY gaining over 260m user in a couple of years.

The changes that AI & climate will have on society and so large and happening so quickly that any delay in response is going to cost millions of lives and cost trillions of dollars.

The somewhat provocative term techonsocialism is actually different from what most folks would consider traditional socialism. 

Its less a case of the workers owning the means of production and more that technology will enable broader prosperity, the citizens should own the outcomes of the economy. The economy can be refocused to first and foremost meet the core needs of citizens and doing that with technology will dramatical reduce the cost of government.. one could say socialism without the cost, a lower cost that the cost of todays current way which is not meeting citizens needs.

The book explores four potential outcomes for the planet in the foreseeable future, determined by whether we have a planned or chaotic future and whether or not society is inclusive and collective or exclusionary and divided. Three of the outcomes may not be appealing to most folks leaving Technsocialism as the best one left.

Technosocialism see’s government working hand in hand with business to increase productivity and innovation, Singapore is. good example of where this approach is working well and is watched closely by larger countries, including china which is making moves in this direction and has  clear directive  industrial policies. the USA currently has  has laissez faire approach, less systematic coordination.

The Knowledge innovation & creative economy is where the focus should be. AI Robotics and Automation are a double edges sword for the economy, creating jobs and destroying jobs.  The worlds biggest companies now employ a fraction of the number of people  that  the biggest companies of prior decades.

Automation in trucking for example will displace many of those jobs, it is incumbent on government and industry to help those worker make the transition to new work.


Optimally humanity is best served by working together






this week on the futurist brett king is in the hot seat there’s one element that you will see repeatedly in human history is that we tend to not plan very well for these things the the crisis have to be on us and debilitating for us to respond but the scale of artificial intelligence and climate in respect to the changes they’re going to bring on society are so large that any delay in response to this and any complacency as you say is going to cost lives and trillions of dollars technology is as all your listeners will be aware of because they interact with it on a daily basis emancipates you from the drudgery of tasks that one didn’t want to do in the past maybe doesn’t want to do in the future and won’t need to it’s a force for good in that way now that doesn’t mean that equality is going to disappear but it does mean that uh more people are going to have access to greater resources and and a better quality of life

hello welcome to the future i’m rob terczyk and this week we’ve got something special for you my co-host brett king will be in the hot seat answering questions with his co-author on their new book techno socialism hey brett welcome to the future it’s great to be back in the future with you robert um i like living in the future yeah um and uh you know this is a this is an unusual uh one where i get i’m on the other side of the microphone if you like uh where you’re asking the questions that’s right um but um yeah great great too i’ll do my best to make it as uncomfortable as possible for you to get started let’s let’s talk a little bit about your co-author so this time you’ve written a number of books uh and for folks who don’t know brett’s written several books particularly the bank series the future banking series which are superb but this time brett’s worked with a co-author dr richard petty who is a global policy advisor who’s worked all over the world including in china we’ll get into that in a moment he’s also an entrepreneur a best-selling author and an academic now brett what attracted you to work with richard petty on this book his hairstyle and now um now richard and i have known each other for more than 20 years now we work together in hong kong and around the world actually we we had a bit we had a businesses in in china and dubai and elsewhere that we we worked on together so we’d known each other for for quite a while um and we we’d been looking for a project to do together um and this this ended up being being something we incubated for a number of years we talked about it and it just slowly took shape um but um i think what really sort of kicked this off is we end up getting together in sydney at one point we both happened to be there and we got into a a board room with a white board and i think spent um four or five hours in front of a white board just mapping some some ideas out and and the book was sort of born out of that now you know we we did have some things we talked about prior to that but that was the kickoff and at that point um you know it was sort of the melding of the minds and we knew each other so well that was was uh fairly effortless um you know to put the book together after that but yeah we’ve been looking for something to do together like this but we’ll get into your process and we’ll get into the scenarios uh in just a second but now i think it’s a good time for us to introduce richard richard welcome to the futurists it’s great to have you here this is a show where we talk to people who are thinking about and actually actively building the future and what we’re most interested in is how did you arrive at your vision of the future what was your methodology for arriving at that and what are you doing about that to implement it those are the questions that we like so welcome richard to the show thank you rob hot brett you know what i’m interested in talking to you about is uh is the core premise of the book so richard share with me a little bit about the perspectives that you brought to technosocialism well brett and i spent a lot of time talking about the various ideas in the book and how they take form and how they might take dimension in terms of different chapters and we arrived at the core themes because they’re universal and hopefully because they’re universal they’re applicable and of interest to everybody i think brett’s uh background is is banking and technology a whole range of things but if i were to narrow it down a future of tech future of technology broadly and banking and my background is in finance and economics and accounting and business uh and as an academic so i think we we blended the two hopefully fairly successfully to produce a book that’s of interest well the book is actually a very good book uh i told brett it’s the best book of his that i’ve read so clearly your contribution made a big difference um what’s interesting about the book and why it’s relevant to the show this is not just a shameless plug from my buddy’s book not at all in fact the while brett was writing the book is when we came up with the idea for the show because the subject matter of the book is really really relevant to what we’re trying to do on the futurists namely it’s helping people understand what’s coming next what’s likely to occur in the near future and why that’s likely to occur and what to do about it now so that you can be prepared these are these are really two themes that are true in technosocialism the book and they’re also part of what we hope to build here at the futurists uh no so you two seem to have as part of your methodology first you’ve worked together in many places in the world and i think that’s a really important thing for people to take away from the show people who are thinking about the future tend to get out and look around the world it’s a bit like that old adage that i know brett likes to quote uh the idea that the the future’s already here it’s just unevenly distributed that’s a william gibson quote and it’s a good one it’s relevant it’s actually true you know um i’ve seen that myself from working in asia and europe as much as i possibly can i think it’s important to get out there so you do have that in common but in addition you’re multidisciplinary and so while brett has a focus on finance and technology and the intersection of the two you bring other perspectives from economics and so forth into it and that mixture then allows you to kind of compare and contrast some perspectives so for the folks who are listening that right there is a key point that is that is part of the methodology of creating this book techno socialism bret why don’t you tell me in a nutshell what’s the theme of the book what’s the book about well so if you look at the subtitle it says the rise of techno-socialism how um inequality ai and climate change will usher in in a new world right um and so it’s very much a philosophical conversation about how humanity will adapt to these forces obviously inequality is a massive problem right now and has become a much more significant problem as a result of the pandemic you know the the gap between the rich and the poor has grown globally the number of people you know for the first time in 100 years we’ve seen people slip back into poverty this is a trend over 100 years that we’ve been um you know that we sort of got on top of but on you know the the other issues are clearly how humanity’s going to adapt to a world where we have highly automated societies and the changing role of work and human capital in those societies and of course our response to climate change and the resources and effort that it’s going to take on a global basis and the corporation it’s going to need any one of these three things would be considered a crisis historically in respect to um you know the the how humanity is going to have to respond to that so we wanted to sort of really map out what are the potential ways we’re going to have to deal what are the ways humanity might respond to that and put an argument forward for what we thought was the optimal way that humanity could uh respond to those changes but um you know okay one thing i noticed is you just mentioned three things three of the big drivers of your scenarios uh you described and we characterized them as as crises right so uh climate change in global inequality or income inequality uh and the rise of artificial intelligence now i would submit to you that quite a few people are very complacent about this they don’t see it as a crisis at all and you know many people deny a climate change at least you know many people in the united states seem to deny that it’s even a factor inequality although it is a great matter of great concern many people are not concerned about it they’re not reacting to it we’re not certainly not taking measures to do anything to uh to rectify that or redistribute income in any meaningful way and then with the rest of artificial intelligence i think the mass group of people right now is fairly indifferent to it and maybe even unaware of it correct me if i got that wrong no i think you’re broadly right rob uh most people i believe would be familiar with the ideas they’d hear about it in the in the ether it would be background noise but very few people are dealing with the issues directly i i would say climate change aside because it’s been such a focus in mainstream media for a long time but if you look at wealth and income inequality and ai and and even the digital economy these these concepts are um very important and prevalent uh already in some sectors but they’re not widely distributed through the economy in a way where many people are engaging with the with the ideas on a daily basis and being confronted by them and what they mean and the the issue we have really is just how quickly the forces that are shaping the world have been accelerating so i have conversations regularly with people where they say things like well you know post uh industrialization

uh baby boomer and look at the time frame taken from major change there 20 years 30 years 40 years these various things happen whatever examples they cite uh so we’ve got you know 30 years 40 years looking into the future based on the past to think about what might be happening that’s just not true what’s happening is the time compression the spatial compression means that the forces that we’re seeing today uh are shaping things far more rapidly so the changes take central bank digital currency as one example in china talk about a trial in 2018 and it’s here that they could be given okay so one thing you’re saying is that these three big forces in a way they reinforce and accelerate each other i think that’s quite true you know for instance artificial intelligence though it brings great opportunities for those who are deploying it it also means a lot of people are going to be displaced from their jobs and that’s going to at least in the short term exacerbate income inequality and we can say the same about climate change you know if most people uh sleepwalk through climate change until there’s a fire in their neighborhood or until it’s like super snowy and freezing cold but then you know the weather goes away and and after time we sort of slip back into complacency but those disruptions in the climate are also going to have an effect i think on inequality and so you can start to see those big three factors influencing each other in some in some respects accelerating what might become a mega crisis is that your premise is that how you see this is that why you felt it was so urgent to write this book i i think um there’s one element that you will see repeatedly in human history is that we tend to not plan very well for these things the the crises have to be on us and um debilitating for us to respond right but the scale of artificial intelligence and climate in respect to the changes they’re going to um bring on society are so large that um any delay in response to this and any complacency as you say is going to cost lives and trillions of dollars and the best illustration of that is the pandemic that we just had and this is you know many people acted like wow nobody could have foreseen this no one could have possibly imagined that there would be a new kind of coronavirus that would come out of the wuhan district from perhaps a bat when in fact that very scenario dozens and dozens of times by expert scientists just no one was listening to them and and um the inequality um you know all of these crises produce economic uncertainty that’s the premise in the book but that’s right the the inequality issue when we’ve seen the the levels of inequality that we have today we’ve seen these in the past it has always um been a precursor for revolution that that’s how serious the level of inequality we have today is and you can see as we discuss in the book that the number of protests globally and the participation in protests globally has increased significantly more than doubled in terms of frequency and a tenfold increase in terms of participation volume of uh protesters so that gives you the indication that what’s happened in the past with inequality producing revolution we’ve got all of the potential ingredients for that happening in many countries around the world today because of inequality alone that’s even before we get into the unemployment potential of automation and the broader impact of climate so so given all of those trends and those scary uh those scary factors that are causing so much um let’s say disruption or uncertainty big theme in your book um you propose that the solution the antidote to all this is a form of socialism now here in the us those are fighting words you know when we talk about social socialism in the united states it’s basically a catch-all phrase for something that i don’t like very much and it’s thrown around by various political figures who i think aren’t very well informed uh how accurately are you using this term socialism what’s your definition of socialism and techno socialism well neither britain or i are a socialist we should say that up front we’re both uh raised in capitalist economies with capitalist views and ideals so i’m not talking to a modern day frederick angles and karl marx here proposing some sort of red-shirted revolution absolutely not that’s absolutely not so so the title is perhaps uh interesting and maybe maybe there to help stimulate interest but but in specific terms it goes to equality of kind that isn’t what socialism uh of the past would presage or or advocate for it but it’s a broader quality and it’s a broader quality that technology brings about and technology enables uh technology is as all your listeners will be aware of because they interact with it on a daily basis emancipates you from the drudgery of tasks that one didn’t want to do in the past maybe doesn’t want to do in the future and won’t need to um so it’s uh it’s a force for good in that way now that doesn’t mean that income or wealth equality is going to disappear but it does mean that uh more people are going to have access to greater resources and and a better quality of life so this is what the technology is enabling now the classical association socialism envisioned the notion that the workers will own the means of production right famously and and um that’s both bikunin and karl marx writing in the 1870s um and to a certain extent in digital media that’s true you know in this creator economy now everybody has a super computer in their pocket a smartphone and they are able to contribute uh so one aspect of equality richard is access right equal access there’s a lot of ways to define equality but historically that’s always been an issue in most countries uh that not everybody has equal access to opportunity one might say that digital media does level the playing field at least somewhat um and the fact that everybody with a smartphone now can participate in the creator economy would you point to that as a form of techno-socialism so let me let me jump in here um yes absolutely i think what we advocate in the book and richard came up with this great concept um you know which was that the economy should serve the citizens first and foremost so rather than the the workers owning the means of production that it’s like the citizens should own the outcome of the economy you know and so if you look at alignment of how economic output works today in the systems we have today it’s geared towards a very small subsection of the community at large or the citizens whereas you know if you repurpose the economy to focus on the core needs of citizens first and foremost and you do that with technology two things happen you get much better at look after looking after the core needs of citizens and over the period of time within just a couple of decades you can reduce the cost of government and all of those services to citizens dramatically so it’s like um socialism but without the cost in fact cheaper than the cost of the current system today we demonstrate in the book for example on healthcare how you can lower the cost of that the national healthcare system in the united states by seventy percent seven zero percent from the system today using using uh you know uh automation of that system great okay so we’re talking about two things then one is equal access equality of access to opportunity and what brett you just spoke about is equality of outcome uh you know basically divvying up the pie we know that there’s some prosperity there but it’s not equally distributed so that’s another way to go about doing it in the second half of this program what i’d love to do is get into the four different scenarios that you posit for the future and tell me how you arrived at those scenarios and then tell me why you chose techno socialism as the most favorable outcome so right now i’m talking to dr richard petty and my co-host brett king they are the co-authors of the rise of technosocialism one of the best books on the topic of the near future that i’ve read and part of that is because it’s so well informed by data as as brett and richard just pointed out they meticulously document every scenario every claim that’s in the book with factual information so in the second half after the break we’re going to come back and talk about some of the core parts of what’s inside the prescription for the future you’re listening to the futurists see you in a moment

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hey welcome back to the futurist i’m rob tercek and today i’m interviewing my co-host brett king and his co-author richard petty dr richard petty about their new book techno-socialism now bret one of the core premises in the book is scenarios and that’s also really relevant to our show that’s why you’re on the show today you posit four scenarios for the future of humanity can you tell us about those four scenarios so so um we came up with four scenarios they are the ladder stand scenario the fail to stand scenario neo-feudalism and technosocialism and those uh quadrants on a um you know a two-by-two representation of two primary axes one is societies that are inclusive versus exclusionary and futures that are optimal or planned versus futures that are chaotic and so on the chaotic side you have um on the inclusive side is where we say technology creates division so we reject technology like artificial intelligence so that’s the inclusive chaotic on the exclusionary chaotic you have the foul states where we just waited too long to react to some of these core problems and you know as a result you have failed states in a way that’s kind of the default path that we’re on if we just do nothing and we sort of sit back and go yeah ai climate change whatever we’re not doing anything about it then we end up in failed us down exactly um and then on the planned futures you have exclusionary economies like the united states where we said neo-feudalism is essentially where we’re heading today which is where the gap between rich and poor gets baked in systemically so the stratification of you know wealth in society is is sort of baked in by market mechanisms and by the way um you know society responds um and then the inclusionary uh technology based you know planned outcomes is where we we look at you know reducing the cost of government making technology accessible to everyone so for things like better health care better access to education better transportation systems access to food shelter you know all those sort of things that we use technology to ensure that um the the best quality of those uh uh you know capabilities are delivered across the economy okay so that’s that’s the four quadrant those are the four quadrants so for those who are listening if we do nothing we end up in feldestan basically the land of failure um where these these big trends these big disruptors are going to overwhelm our systems another alternative which is also kind of a failure is neo-feudalism and that’s where the rich do something about it they start to build walled cities with private police and so forth and they leave everybody else behind we have a scenario of massive inequality ludustan is a scenario of chaos where people reject technology altogether and we are unable therefore to harness it to improve life and things to begin to degrade so from the viewpoint of this book the only scenario that makes sense is techno-socialism techno-socialism relies on technology but with planning and foresight that’s what brings it to the relevance of our listeners here now i would say planned economy is a loaded term certainly here in the united states where we’ve had 50 years of neoconservativism and the idea that the government should be hands off in particular on the technology industry where we barely regulate anything anymore in the united states um that seems like it’s quite a quite opposed to the national trend in the us that may be different elsewhere and i know that you’re both australian tell me a little bit about that though you know how likely is it that we’re going to see um you know government policy or some sort of industrial policy well when we talk about government policy i think it’s important to understand there’s a real bifurcation on the global stage among governments and thinking about regulation and policy so some some economies i would suggest are over over regulated and continue heading in that direction and other economies are very focused and perhaps regulated in a more in a more sensible way ultimately this needs to lead to productivity that’s that’s something we argue in the book if it doesn’t result in productivity then it’s going to stymie innovation kill the knowledge economy uh you know or under realize the potential that’s there so government needs to work hand in hand with business i think the policy prescriptions that uh the government puts out need to be informed by business but quickly really nimbly and it needs to be an effective compact rather than just shutting business down which many businesses would argue feels like it’s so often the case now where do you see that happening is there any place in the world where you’d point to a national government that’s actually doing a good job of working hand in hand with business to set intelligent policies i think if you look at the examples of smart cities that we give in the book and and perhaps a good example there is singapore working hand in hand with business to create smart city developments and to look at new economy initiatives if you look at what singapore’s done with digital hub and what they’ve done with inner education education being such a key and core industry to knowledge innovation and creativity which is the backbone of the future economy uh now singapore is not perfect of course there are many ways in which uh in which singapore might be argued to be uh over-regulating or overly intrusive but to a large degree they get it right in a lot of areas in terms of improving productivity and supporting industry so i think that’s a fair example it happens in the in the us in parts of the us but not in u.s overall and possibly because in the u.s there are so many other distractions and so much uh political uh infighting and fractiousness that that just doesn’t help the cause it doesn’t help anyone’s cause ultimately and in the us the states pursue their own policies yeah correct so it’s very much a state-by-state uh success success fail uh scorecard in in many industries so the states is an interesting case study for that reason now uh singapore has often been admired by other parts of asia nation other nations in asia it’s often looked at as a model when i lived in hong kong there was a very healthy rivalry between hong kong and singapore but singapore was viewed also though as as a little bit of an exception in the sense that it’s a small island country with only six million residents and um and because it doesn’t really control any resources of its own it had to focus on certain industries where they could be competitive and they also focus very much on diplomacy and good relationships with their neighbors because they’re a small country in the middle of some very big countries now china in general over the last 20 years has observed the singapore phenomenon and in some ways has tried to replicate it first i know there was an initiative in singapore nearly 20 years ago to actually work with the singapore government to try to replicate some aspects of governance in shanghai and what you see in china is you know an attempt to create a i guess a benevolent dictatorship similar to singapore uh you know where they’re they’re um it’s a it’s a dictatorship that decrees things that are kind of in favor of the people we’ve seen recently that president xi in china is doing some of this you know there’s been a real crackdown on technology companies and particularly the excessive technologies um and a reach in a shifting over to um over to more scientific industry like you know core science uh the manufacturing industries things like chips and renewable energy solar panels and so forth can you talk a little bit about the contrast with china between china and singapore so i i think the one thing that’s clear that china is is doing in terms of its prosperity doctrine is is looking at this problem of inequality and the potential for you know we we saw the tech giants uh particularly um you know start to get huge amounts of power in the economy and you know recently they’ve sort of pulled back on that but the interesting thing is you know you could probably characterize china’s economy as less regulation when it came to a lot of the technology initiatives particularly for example the the alibaba and group um you know 10 cent um you know these businesses just on the areas of like mobile wallet and mobile banking innovation that’s happened a lot of that occurred um at a sort of break that speed without any real regulation but as soon as it it started to look like it could turn negative um or result in issues then then the chinese government stepped in um so the real core thing we focus on though in the book is the fact that china as an economy is preparing its nation for the types of skill sets that are going to be needed in the 21st century and it appears they’re doing a better job of that than than the us you know in the u.s we still hear arguments about traditional industries supporting big coal and um you know so forth you know was was a part of donald trump’s campaign um whereas you know china last year deployed more solar in a single year than the entire solar installation base of the united states the last 40 years um you know in in addition they teach artificial intelligence at almost every element of the education system today um and for every one phd stem graduate that graduates in the us three graduate in china then you’ve got the eight trillion dollars they’re spending on belton road you know so all of these things led us to um you know believe and and articulate in the book that we think china is going to be a very strong economic player you know for the remainder of the century you can jump in on your point of contrasting singapore and china and where the differences are going to lie so you’re exactly right about singapore singapore’s had to adapt and innovate and they’ve done that very well and they’ve succeeded because of it but they’re constrained by a small population and the lack of resources china isn’t china has massive population huge access to resources it’s a one-party state however one might feel about that but that collectivism leads to and has led to the greatest economic miracle we’ve seen where you’ve lifted hundreds of millions 600 million people out of pro out of poverty uh and put them into uh into a more modern economy with uh with a lot more quick action to come so i’d echo what what brett said and just add to that by if you look at china’s five-year plan and you look at china uh 2025 made in china 2035 standards uh china standards if one looks at belton road if one looks at the greater bay area initiative these key policy initiatives china really has a lot happening that goes to future economy and goes to uh identifying and carving out a a successful future in in many ways we would think now everything you just mentioned all those initiatives belton road made in china 2025 these are what we would call industrial policy where the government sets uh you know indus industrial goals and then marshals in sort of a way you know leads uh industry to achieving those goals and china’s been very explicit about this uh you know the the chinese government has set forth these goals they publish them they update them regularly and so forth that’s quite different from the united states approach which i would characterize as laissez-faire and in a way clueless uh because you know if you if you watch our our congress uh attempt to do you know an investigation where they interview someone like mark zuckerberg or uh or the ceos of other technology companies just the nature of the questions that the you know that the 70 year old senators are asking shows that they don’t really understand the technologies that they’re they’re talking about um this is a frightening scenario for some people in america and others cheer it they say that’s what makes america great you know the government doesn’t get in the way they leave us uh they leave it free for business to proceed why don’t you two comment a little bit about those two and i know i’m generalizing like mad when i make those comments um because what you’re really advocating in the book is a more directed approach a governmental approach where um there is some form of industrial policy so please comment on that well it has worked for the us in the past and the question is will it work for the us into the future so laissez faire works really well when you’ve got a whole lot of innovation happening in the whole of entrepreneurs who are incentivized to produce what what they’ve produced and in many ways the us is the leader in many industries and will remain so into the foreseeable future uh particularly in in areas of technology and social technologies and communication technologies and and so on one could go on and on so the innovation is there but will it continue and uh to brett’s point about the stem phds if one looks at how many doctoral students you have in the u.s versus china china dwarfs the u.s in stem in areas that go to engineering math innovation technology so what sort of future does that predict but the main the main issue i suppose rob the main factor in all of this is coordination in the u.s there just isn’t the uh systematic coordination between government and industry that we see in china you know for for better or worse in terms of a political lens regardless of one how feels about it uh coordination works if everyone has a common and clear understanding so i think your point’s very relevant about the the uh the gap between the generational gap that perhaps doesn’t play into that in a in a very sensible way for the us and for other economies like it and you also need a shared framework and a shared understanding of facts and i’d submit that that’s not always the case in the us in our highly politicized and highly polarized environment right now richard one of the things that you mentioned and you described in the book we’ve formulated is an acronym kic knowledge innovation and creative and these are some of the ingredients that you think are going to be necessary for com for industry to respond to these initiatives to achieve these targets um tell me more about that plan well we’re already in a knowledge economy and we have been for for some time the signposts are there as as you discussed during your uh your podcast for the future economy and what that means and we we’d suggest that it’s knowledge innovation and creative economy into the future that will survive so that umbrella brings in all of the jobs the industries and then the jobs that are likely to succeed into the future and it’s where the focus focus should be for anyone who’s who’s looking at the future in a way that might be viewed as like the antidote to artificial intelligence right so artificial intelligence is a double-edged sword uh in some respects because uh on the one hand it offers the path to great prosperity as we can automate more parts of the economy and clearly that’s that’s that’s demonstrably true uh the rewards of that the benefits that are not always equally distributed but nevertheless ai definitely brings efficiency uh to the to the production of goods at the same time it also destroys jobs and this is a fact and in your book you cite that widely cited oxford report where they prognosticate that some 50 percent of jobs might be displaced by a.i so the knowledge economy innovation jobs and jobs that involve creativity these things these seem to be less likely to be automated you know brett you haven’t spoken up a little bit but why don’t you respond to that a little bit this this double-edged aspect of artificial intelligence and robotics so we can see where this is trending because if you look at the largest companies today we identify them in the book you know nine out of ten of the largest companies in the world today our technology company the the only one that’s an exception to that is saudi aramco um but of those nine um technology companies that are in the top ten um and i’m not sure facebook might have slipped out of that recently but um if you look at the number of people they employ for the economic output those businesses produce that has been declining over time it is it is about one-fifth of the largest employers in the 1950s and 1960s in the united states in terms of that ratio of employees or individuals working human capital to profitability so these technology companies are massively more profitable require a lot less people um to accomplish that we can you know we would expect that that trend would continue that corporations will become more and more automated because you know humans are one of the most expensive components of labor take a business like uber for example um you know when we have autonomous vehicles we can cut out the cost of human labor um but the more society we automate in that respect the more problem we have of having to find jobs that humans can now do that have been replaced by that automation and that’s really at the heart of this question as to you know what do we do when we have highly um automated societies with these corporations that the market rewards because they’re extremely productive and extremely efficient at producing um you know capital return you know what do we do with the humans and and that’s a very real question that we sort of did try to tackle in the book but it’s a bigger question of sort of the role of work in society and how we value people in society if they’re unable to work because society’s taking that option away from them as a result of automation ironically the one saving grace here may be response to climate change which is going to require a lot of heavy lifting uh so that may employ people who are otherwise displaced yeah yeah and if i could if i could establish what brett said very quickly so i think we would view ai and kic as being very compatible in the sense that uh knowledge will be the frontier that pushes ai and and everything else so it’s essential that everything innovation needs to happen all the time everywhere for us to progress and advance and on the creative side people are are going to want uh to see performers and and artists of all kinds whether it goes from food to visual art to uh you know the other fine arts uh produce they’re gonna want to see real human performers uh that will remain people are fundamentally gregarious and like the human connection so ai won’t uh displace or replace that uh anytime anytime soon okay but let me drill into that a little bit because right now as we’re recording this there’s a demonstration happening in ottawa in canada and across canada at the border with the united states where truckers are objecting to a range of issues but you can boil them down to in some respects what they’re resentful uh that their future is being circumscribed and dictated by other people they blame it on government they blame it on regulation but in some respects they’re also reacting to displacement by technology and artificial intelligence anyone who’s currently working as a truck driver in north america knows that they don’t have a very long future because already robot trucking is available it’s being tested on roads in the united states right now and it’s just a few years away from becoming reality and that’s a big deal because what people may not know is that truck drivers are one of the largest uh independent jobs that’s available in the united states where will all those displaced truckers go they’re not going to become comedians they’re not going to be entertainers i don’t think they want to become people who are in the creative industry how do you respond to that richard i’m very sympathetic to their plight as a much younger man uh i operated heavy machinery for a living for a time so you know i i understand how how that feels and how that works um but but being sympathetic to apply it won’t won’t change the outcome uh for them the the outcome is going to be that automation is going to happen logistics and supply chains are going to innovate and change trucking’s going to change and they’re they’re either going to have to be retrained to do something else not not to be comedians necessarily but to work in other meaningful jobs that they hopefully enjoy and get fulfillment from or or are they going to have to change you know change mindset change industry altogether it’s going to it’s going to come down to that the change is happening you can either accept it and try and adapt uh and prepare for the future and that also is an age variable right so if one’s close to retirement there’s less of an imperative if one’s in their 30s and they’re operating heavy machinery for a living then that’s that’s a greater imperative i would suggest it’s figure out what else you might like to do and what is derivative of what you’re doing now perhaps and then tool up the skill up there and it’s incumbent on government and companies and industries to help do that because look as a 20 year old guy operating heavy machinery i had no idea about much of what was happening in the rest of the world and i would have needed somebody to tell me that that was a limited path and that here we’re going to help you out we’ve got some training programs some ideas and we’re going to sponsor you through that so you don’t end up unemployed or redundant to society in some ways in 10 years 20 years time that is something that’s absolutely essential that should be the focus it’s not the focus now for many governments many policy makers and some for some companies because if you look at it as a company and the shareholder value return automation and ai helps so you know where does that leak the employees well that’s a secondary question for some and it can’t be and it shouldn’t be right uh you know one of the things you’ll notice in the us is that truckers are actually voting with their feet we have a crisis here right now which is that there aren’t enough truckers truck drivers in the united states um and that’s partly because for the last 10 years we’ve been hearing about robot vehicles and so young people who hear that say well that’s a lousy career path i’m going to choose a different career path so to some extent individuals are already making informed decisions and to give those drivers their due i think they may be more informed than we sometimes give them credit for

in the closing moments here i want you to talk a little bit about the bigger vision optimal humanity where all this is driving to all this economic activity all this technological change all the prescriptions that you offer share with me your vision of optimal humanity so this is why i i think the rise of techno-socialism as a book tends to be more a philosophical project rather than you know like an economics or policy one in many respects is um you know if we extend this out hundreds of years what do we want from humanity what’s the purpose of us being here aristotle who we quote in the book said it’s for humanity to thrive and i think the argument we make in the book is that we are entering a period of time where humanity will will not have any limitations in terms of what we can do um you know technologically or scientifically but that requires us optimally to work together that for the species for the planet for the other species that we share on you know the earth with um and and for future generations there is no downside to humanity working more collaboratively together to produce outcomes that are in the best interests of all humans whenever we create division wherever we have economic classes that separate that you know produce different outcomes that’s always going to be sub-optimal for the human species and for the planet because you’re going to have people gain that so ultimately that’s the philosophical question that we sort of left readers with in the book is um you know the techno-socialism is a path for that type of collectivism um where humanity can work together for better outcomes and if if you choo if you say no i want my tribe to be the one that gets all the benefits ultimately at some point that’s going to result in someone else having sub-optimal um you know outcomes so we believe that artificial intelligence and climate will force us into that sort of renaissance of thinking as a human species that optimally humanity is best served by working together and our fear is that if if that epiphany doesn’t happen that um you know the very species is at risk wow a bold vision and kind of a stirring call to action a stirring call to arms as well uh folks this is uh this is the futurists i’m rob tercek and i’ve been talking to my co-host brett king who is the co-author with our other guest today dr richard petty of the book the rise of technosocialism it’s a stirring read it’s in my opinion it’s one of brett’s best books it’s really well informed with data it’s rich with factual information so for each uh each assertion that’s made in the book and for each policy prescription that’s recommended in the book you’ll find a raft of data to support it so if you’re interested in a fun read with a bright vision of the future but a realistic take on the challenges that we face as humanity i really recommend the rise of techno-socialism in future episodes we’re going to bring other futurists other people who are future-minded to come in and share their methodologies with us but today i want to thank brett and dr richard petty for sharing their thoughts about the rise of tech and socialism thank you both very very much for joining us you’re welcome that’s it for the futurist this week if you liked the show i’m sure you did please subscribe and share it with those in your community and please don’t forget to leave us a five star review it always helps other people find the podcast you can also ping us on twitter and instagram on at futurist podcast for futurists you’d like to see on the show or topics you’d like us to cover thanks for joining and we will see you in the future

There is no downside to humanity working together to produce outcomes that are in the best interests of all humans @brettking