Hillary Clinton Says She Should Have Addressed 'Rise of the Robots'

"Have you ever seen a movie where the machines start thinking for themselves that ends well?"


Hillary Clinton openly admits in her new book that she is “less-than-tech-savvy” (remember “chillin’ in Cedar Rapids”?), but it turns out there is one thing she shares in common with the Silicon Valley crowd.

Clinton’s new book, What Happened?, details her decision to run for president and what went wrong from there. It also gives her ample opportunity to address the concerns she has regarding automation and artificial intelligence, which stem from “a series of alarming conversations with leading technologists in Silicon Valley.”

She goes on to specifically reiterate her fear that the “arrival of self-driving cars could displace millions of truckers and taxi drivers.” She also cites economists’ estimates that automation could put one-third of all American men aged 25 to 54 out of work by 2050.

While some argue that automation’s potential impact on job displacement is overhyped, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Elon Musk typically side with Clinton on this. Though she doesn’t delve too much into whether or not this belief informed her initial interest in campaigning on a platform of basic income, that link is becoming increasingly popular throughout the realm of American politics.

Clinton also shows Silicon Valley’s influence on her vision of the future by dipping her toe into the A.I.-will-destroy-us-all pool.

“Think about it,” she writes. “Have you ever seen a movie where the machines start thinking for themselves that ends well? Every time I went out to Silicon Valley during the campaign, I came home more alarmed about this. My staff lived in fear that I’d start talking about ‘the rise of robots’ in some Iowa town hall. Maybe I should have.”

Again, this sentiment mirrors those expressed by Musk, who is known for his doom ‘n gloom stance. He recently went as far as to say, “A.I. is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization, and I don’t think people fully appreciate that.” Luckily, technologists and scientists are notably less alarmist.