Chris Christie for Robots and Tech Progress

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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a good pro-progress answer at Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate. Asked what he would do about the “22 percent of American workers [who] fear their jobs will be lost to a robot…and to artificial intelligence,” Christie gave a reply that avoided anti-tech fear-mongering.

I think artificial intelligence offers us is an extraordinary opportunity to expand well beyond the productivity that we have now,” he said. He rightly added: “We can’t be afraid of innovation. America has been the great innovator of this world over the last 250 years, a technological innovator, a manufacturing innovator, and a freedom and governmental innovator. And that’s why America has to continue to stand strong in the world, pro-innovation [and] pro-progress.”

Christie argued that new technologies such as artificial intelligence have expanded “all kinds of new, even unthought-of opportunities for folks.” He acknowledged that technical unemployment does occur, but rather than taking that as an argument against innovation he saw it as a reason to retrain workers for the new jobs that progress produces.

Importantly, Christie also declared that he would reduce the regulatory burdens that slow down new technologies and the economic growth they produce. “What I will do,” Christie stated, “is to make sure that every innovator in this country gets the government the hell off its back and out of its pocket so that it can innovate and bring great new inventions to our country that will make everybody’s lives better.”

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