JONESBORO, Ark. – With a packed room, mostly of non-students, the 42nd President of the United States spoke to the crowd Monday night at The Fowler Center in Jonesboro.
“There’s a lot to talk about, I suppose, although I feel very much like an exhibit in a museum,” Clinton said. “Time has passed me by.”
But if Clinton really believes time has surpassed him, he may be unaware of how relevant he still is. Despite torrential downpours across Jonesboro, the Hope-native sought to inspire the audience to forget party lines and instead focus on conversations that will spur solutions.
“Will the explosion of AI with robotics mean you younger people are about to enter the first technological shift since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and will it kill more jobs than it creates?” Clinton asked hypothetically. “If so, what should we do?”
Clinton specifically discussed the challenges of robotics replacing human labor. It may have sounded like science-fiction when he was in the White House but today, it’s considered a reality: robots are replacing human labor. While it began in 20th century at different locations like car factories, 21st century technology is making this a more common scenario. Artificial intelligence threatens to expand robotic labor to the degree that human labor is obsolete. What then?
“Work four days a week?” Clinton asked the crowd. “Or, for those working five days, raise taxes to pay for those not working? I’m old fashioned and think we need the dignity of work.”
The problems we’ve never considered require solutions we’ve never considered, Clinton argued.
“Nothing in our modern discourse lays the foundation for the conversations we need to have,” Clinton said. “This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. We have to figure out how to do it.”
The 42nd U.S. President talked about the unique times we live in, calling them a time of “truly stunning opportunities and deep challenges.”
He also said he still thinks it is a job to be in public life.
“I think it matters if kids are better off than when we took office,” Clinton said.
Choosing his words carefully, Clinton sought to appeal to the entire room. However, he did make one statement which seems to suggest he believed America to be facing a perilous threat to our very way of life.
“We have to save our democracy and then we’ve got to do something with it instead of trying to play games to stay in power,” Clinton said.