Alumni Short

Hockett and Omarova Propose a National Investment Authority Ithaca, NEW YORK, Feb 21, 2018

As featured in the Financial Times, on February 21, 2018. Click here to view the complete Financial Times article. (Please note, visitors will be required to complete a registration process before proceeding to the article.)

How Can We Protect Workers from AI? FT Readers Respond

By Rana Foroohar

In my column on Monday, I proposed that the coming economic and political disruption that will result from the rise of artificial intelligence would require the public and private sector in the US to come together and create a kind of "digital New Deal" for the up to 25 per cent of the global workforce who would be made redundant. I invited readers to write in with their thoughts about how such a solution might work.

They responded with ideas that range from the practical and detailed (including a 1930s style public investment bank), to the systemic (revamp education) to the existential (figure out a new definition for work and what it means). Below, is an edited selection of the comments.

A latter-day New Deal

Saule T. Omarova, a professor of law at Cornell University, describes a proposal she co-authored with colleague Robert C. Hockett to create a new National Investment Authority - a hybrid of the New Deal-era Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a modern sovereign wealth fund, and a private equity firm - that would develop and implement a national strategy for the of the real economy.

She writes: "The proposal is framed in terms of financing public infrastructure, but it is much broader and more ambitious than simply new roads. We envision it along the lines of the latter-day New Deal approach to financing transformative, large-scale, publicly beneficial projects that would create sustainable jobs and help the country regain its competitive edge - but without exacerbating inequality and excesses of private power. Even though the scope of our proposal is broader than specific AI-related problems, it specifically targets these types of structural imbalances in the economy. We think of this new proposed entity as a "publicly owned BlackRock" that will finance and channel technological progress in ways that benefit all of us, and not just the richest few."