The Futures of Work: How Will the Internet Change My Job?/transcript
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: It's too complicated for me. I don't know how to advance the next slide. There we go. All right. Thanks. Good morning. Thanks for coming.
Just as Mr. Redl discussed people's passion for Internet governance and things like that, I want to share mine. As a measure of my dedication to Internet governance and to all of you, I went and saw the new Mission Impossible movie last night for research, for research, because once you get past all the car chases and helicopter crashes, there is a couple of underlying themes that come out and come to the surface in this very important work of art.
One is, the inherent challenges of the state to protect the interest of individuals at the same time they're trying to protect their society as a whole. That's one of the important themes.
The other, which you may have seen in the previews, is that before there can be peace there has to be a great suffering, and we know that with the Industrial Revolution, that was the case and so I wonder whether we'll be able to side step that level of suffering in the transition that lies ahead of us today.
We have a great panel to discuss sort of the future of work, and what we're trying to do is have that in the context of Internet Governance, so if you're ever in Washington, you know there is a Future of Work panel every day basically at this point, so we're trying very hard to use Internet governance as the vector or the window into that conversation.
Before I get too far, I want to thank the organizers of the panel, Ramela, Judith, John, Robert, and then I especially want to call out Mike and Andrew who were really principle in constructing the scenarios that we're going to be discussing.
We've got a great panel for you. You have bios in front of you so I'll just mention people briefly. We have Stewart Baker, for purposes of our conversation, he's a cybersecurity our cybersecurity expert. We have Marjory Blumenthal the Senior Policy Analyst at RAND Corporation, done a lot on education training, how information technology might affect new cities, et cetera. I think that's going to be very exciting as well. Larry Irving, most of you know the former NTIA Administrator for nearly seven years or something like that and has a lot of knowledge about the intersection of government and the Internet and how those two co exist which we've been talking about quite a bit. And then finally, Andrew Mack on a transportation startup.
So one of the things we're trying to do is go through a set of scenarios that you all have in front of you at your table. And basically, look at the two main drivers, if you will, for what Internet Governance might look like and what these scenarios might be as we move into the sort of next phase of our economy, if you will.
One is the level of government regulation, and what is the degree to which the government will respond to changes in the economy with regard to regulation, just as Mr. Redl suggested, we would try to limit. The other is what level of fragmentation will we see in the Internet? How open will it remain or how will it become fragmented as attempts to accommodate or issues that come up as a result of the changes that we're seeing?
So what we have up here is a kind of a four quadrant diagram, which if anybody has been to business school or knows someone that has, you've seen many of these. You see the two axes, the amount of U.S. regulation and amount of fragmentation that sort of naturally falls out of that, these four scenarios that we're going to try to discuss today. And everything is a question of degree and nothing is meant to be the last word.
In fact, as Shane mentioned at the opening, we really want you to participate in this conversation. We're going to try to make it really move along if we can, but feel free to question the underlying drivers, any of the assumptions that are made as part of this discussion, because they're meant to be for purposes of discussion and please engage actively. We have the microphone runners. We may not let them hand you the microphone because we're going to try to keep things moving, but we want to hear from you for sure.
So in order to get us started, you have the scenarios in front of you. I'm going to ask Andrew Mack to briefly go over each scenario, we'll talk to the panelists if they want to add color commentary, and they are we're going to kind of hold a vote for all of you to see, and Glen here is going to take a picture of the room and that will be our way to count the vote later, and so we'll take a vote before and after and see if there is a change in what you feel of the likelihood of each of these scenarios is.
Without further ado, I'm going to turn it over to Andrew, you have a mic and go ahead with the scenario.
>> ANDREW: Can everyone hear me? Great. Imagine me reading these in a dramatic voice so you get a sense of the true scenarios. What can be done also, is we've tried very hard to present the scenarios as a combination of positives and negatives, so the way we'll do this. I'll read a quick blurb about the scenario and then lay out positives and negatives and go through that way.
The first scenario is called tech lash. In that scenario the Internet and social media are blamed for a wide range of problems such as cyberbullying, intellectual property theft, and cyberespionage. The U.S. policy holders are more inclined to regulate the Internet for national security and need to protect consumers, particularly in the interest of national security. Many of the larger global Internet and Cloud players are based in the U.S. and domestic policy decisions have global impact. Policies introduced include things like mandated encryption back doors, blocking the transfer of American user data to foreign countries, country specific limits on foreign investments, and others.
Other countries retaliate imposing their national rules, and startups find it harder to bear the cost of new regulations, a few government tech companies emerge, that are strictly held to account and heavily regulated by all levels of government.
In this scenario, there are a series of positives. National security could be improved, cyberespionage prevented as there is limited access to U.S. data by untrustworthy foreign actors. Fewer data breaches could occur due to very punitive measures with companies with poor cybersecurity practices.
Established industries are less threatened by new entrants foreign or developing. And consumers may feel more protected, consumers and workers, and on the other hand there are some real negatives. Innovation slows and U.S. tech companies play a smaller international role. The U.S. market becomes less global as regulations on international trade make it more costly.
U.S. technology may not be globally accessible and new foreign technologies may not be available in the U.S., and lower productivity, limited markets mean fewer new jobs and the possibility of wage stagnation especially in the tech sector.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: So before we go on, I want to not put you on the spot, but if anyone on the panel wants to provide color but try to avoid giving your opinion about the likelihood of the scenario because we want to get a vote and we don't want to bias, but any color you want to add about the drivers, et cetera, that you want to add, here is an opportunity for you before we go on. I just wanted to no? Yes?
>> I would just make one comment that the way the scenario is worded, obviously and given this group, obviously puts a spotlight on the tech sector. There are actually jobs outside of the tech sector and one can reasonable ask whether if it the tech sector were to be constrained somewhat. Maybe there would be some opportunities elsewhere, and it's worth considering what those opportunities are, perhaps in neighborhoods that are less familiar to us.
>> ANDREW: So I guess I would say, as you think about what might drive this, you could imagine a situation where an entire election turns on social media's failure to control the data that it is collecting and it's misused by foreign governments and an entire party decides that social media is evil and deserves whatever Washington serves up to it, and at the same time social media could be systematically suppressing conservative speech so that the entire right half of the spectrum thinks that social media is evil and deserves whatever Washington serves up to them. That might drive some regulation.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Okay. All right. Thank you. Andrew, why don't you proceed to the second one.
>> ANDREW: The next scenario is called Wide Open. Under this scenario, government regulation is very limited. The global Internet is available to all workers and all companies with access to great choice, for free or low cost services. There are few government restrictions on startups with few limits on the use of user data. At least for many, the workers and businesses and consumers have easy access to new tools and technology. The on demand economies are fast growing and for consumers, most products and services are readily available with the push of a button. The changing economy requires some human support staff, but despite new jobs in automating industries like customer service, many workers have decreasing access to traditional employment. Some displaced workers find more work in the on demand economies, but importantly statistics fail to show how engaged and satisfied these workers are. Traditional means of traditional means of measuring employment are inadequate to capture this new reality. Government decides to replace binary unemployment statistics with new measures with worker engagement and satisfaction.
Under this scenario, a series of positives. Fast innovation with large portions of the tech industry, we have tech industry profits reinvested in research and development. Consumers and businesses and workers are presented with larger numbers of choices for the services and the services tend to be well integrated.
Acquisitions by big tech companies make some successful innovators really rich really fast, and employment opportunities are wide spread enabling young people to work in several different jobs at once or in succession before deciding on a specific career path.
On the other hand, there are some negatives. Governments face pressure to update welfare education and healthcare licensing regulations but political disagreements cause delays, our capacities for change are slow.
Sometimes companies innovate faster than they can prepare best practices, increasing the reach of things like data breaches and fraud. Unemployment malpractice and the more treatment of workers and consumers.
And workers who struggle to adapt to this new risk taking entrepreneurial economy may struggle and miss out on some of the benefits.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Yeah. I have an interesting anecdote. My Uber driver on the way over here actually managed the process of installing all the glass at CSIS, so it was a pretty interesting coincidence and an awful lot of glass, and maybe used up all the glass in the city and is now finding alternative means of employment via Uber.
Is there again any color that you want to add in terms of drivers, et cetera, on this scenario?
>> I guess, when I look at wide open, I guess it was the vision many of us 25, 30 years ago when we started looking at this. I think one of the things that is not listed as a negative, but I think one of the things that's coming up now is that our income inequality has it's never been broader in western society than it is today, and at least in the United States, which is happening in New York, Austin, Silicon Valley, is a driver of this income inequality and thinking about that I think is one of the things that we have to look at that we got a lot right, but it's an interesting question that poses for the society.
>> I also add one more point which is the add that the ability to start a company does not necessarily translate into the ability or the need to hire a lot of workers. Think about interest with IPO with 17 employees or something like that. The simple fact is that we have to measure this on two variables. Number one is how open and how much can we innovate, but also what's the impact on employment, and they may or may not be the same.
>> I guess one other piece of that is the ability to start a company doesn't actually mean you can get the investment or have an exit strategy and wide open might exacerbate some of that too because you'll have larger companies that are maybe dominant and the ability to somebody to when I go up to the Valley and I spend about a quarter of my life out there, a number of VCs are expressing concern about ability to develop an exit strategy that doesn't involve things, and if it doesn't involve things you probably can't get money and probably won't get money on the back end.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: All right. Andrew, go ahead.
>> ANDREW: Great. Our third today is called Focus on Home. In it, a handful of U.S. tech companies hold large market share in a particular industry and millions of U.S. citizens feel and rely upon them for services. Data leak data leaks from these companies alongside accusations of unsupported or toxic work environments puts increasing pressure on foreign governments to quote, reign in, unquote American tech jobs. They create U.S. tech firms, data collection, media collection and others. Some U.S. tech firms decide to dial down the foreign investments and instead focusing on the large U.S. domestic market, punitive regulations and inefficient market structures abroad limit the reach of foreign tech companies, and few establish themselves enough to compete with the dominant U.S. tech companies on a global stage.
In this scenario, there are three positives. There is limited access to U.S. data by untrustworthy foreign actors, while foreign companies may copy U.S. intellectual property, the lack of presence in the U.S. and lack of U.S. tech presence in foreign companies provides large scale IP theft, and the U.S. economy grows much faster compared to other more restricted companies and U.S. technological dominance therefore is mostly locked in.
On the negative side, transnational companies and employees find it hard to collaborate effectively across national market, slowing growth and productivity. The Internet feels less global and some markets are left out as technology in the U.S. continues to advance. Global inequality, the digital divide, begins to grow.
The loss of profitable access to foreign markets limits growth for U.S. tech companies and wider economy, and here I add also for smaller economies that want to be international, and lack of domestic competition from foreign tech companies limits consumer choice undermining the incentive for U.S. tech companies to innovate.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: All right. Any color? All right. Pretty scary scenario.
>> So I guess I feel constrained to note that I think even if U.S. companies focus on home, the rest of the world is not going to stop innovating and developing their own solutions. When you look at what's happening in Africa, Asia, we've gone from, I was David Redl 5 years ago and 15 million people on the Internet and now 4 billion people on the Internet and 7 billion mobile device, we can focus on home and that's not going to change what the rest of the world does.
>> And I think I would add, picking up on your example from Africa, when we started working in Nigeria there were 20,000 cell phones and now there is a cell phone for every man, woman, and child in a 200 million-person economy, and we'd be it stretches my imagination to think that even in a more focused on home kind of environment we leave that market off of our planning.
>> MODERATOR: All right. Thanks. One more?
>> ANDREW: Okay. This is called Rules for Innovation. Under this scenario, a handful excuse me. Yeah. That's right. Under this scenario a handful of U.S. tech companies own large portions of domestic market share in the digital infrastructure and services. Governments concerned about their unchecked influence on their influence checked influence on the U.S. economy intervene in markets attempting to attempting to protect consumers and guarantee competition.
Policies implemented include things like net neutrality regulations, net neutrality regulations on both telecommunications and edge providers, data ownership reportability requirements and rigorous antitrust enforcement.
Local governments also begin to play a larger role in regulating how technologies are locally implemented, including restrictions on peer to peer and on demand economies to protect local businesses.
Positives for this scenario, in a world with limited competition, workers wouldn't have to learn how to use the new and different digital tools all the time. They'd stick with updates of the ones that they know.
Governments have a goal of trying to balance innovation, consumer welfare, and stability as a stated goal, and checks on innovation would mean workers vulnerable to technological change such as those without transferable skills might feel more secure.
Work may be more stable, jobs less likely to be threatened by disruptive new technologies and business models, and the public generally might feel more in control of their relationship with technology and less concerned about changes in the economy and how their data is handled and ramifications on society broadly.
On the negative side, costly regulations are just that, they're costly and limit the payout from new technology, hinder innovation, particularly in areas that require large capital expenditure.
Lobbying by established industries could harm competition and new tech and increases in the cost of compliance could undermine U.S. startup culture and workers dissatisfied with current employment might feel less empowered to start up their own innovative businesses. Chinese and international companies operating on environments comparatively less regulated might take a larger share of the tech market both overseas and in the United States.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Right, so sort of begs the question about whether the government is going to be able to help tech companies and non tech companies as you mentioned at the same time, or will those things be in conflict?
One of the things that we want to do now, we'll call it a first inning stretch, is what I want to do is take a kind of informal vote here about what you think the likelihood of each of these scenarios is.
So which scenario you think is most likely to happen of the four, and I was hoping that you would vote by just standing up at your seat if you're feeling up for that. And we'll take your picture and then we'll be able to compare these later and do an actual count because they be we'll have a discussion about it and see if you feel differently by the end of the discussion.
So on that first scenario that involves this tech clash that you heard at the beginning, how many of you think that's the most likely of the four scenarios, understanding that everything is a matter of degree and things like that? What was the question? Which one of the four scenarios do you find most likely to occur? So if you think tech clash is the one most likely to occur, go ahead and stand up. All right. Interesting. I'm going to take down your names.
Facial recognition technology. You got that, Glen? Thank you.
Wide Open? Low government regulation and a very open Internet? Teletopia.
All right. Focus on Home? Right, turn our attention inward away from the international arena and focus on just the United States.
Great. And then finally, the Rules for Innovation, and the government really trying to take a real role in balancing the interests of the tech industry.
All right. Thank you very much, and thank you, Glen.
All right. So we wanted to keep you from giving too many biasing opinions with the vote in terms of what you think is the most likely scenario or where you think the strongest drivers are, but now I just want to go through the panel and get your sense, or your verbalized vote, if you will, about these scenarios and where you think we're headed, and particularly in the context of the future of work, right.
So I mean, that's an interesting part of this discussion, we're trying to look at what the implication is going to be for people for jobs, et cetera, but through this window of Internet governance. So if you want to go ahead and go first, just give your sense of these and where you think we're headed.
>> I think under almost any one of these scenarios you've got enormous companies in a political environment, and then you have the rest of us, and I kind of imagine what the future of work would have been like if instead of work it was the future of species when man first appeared in the savanna. You know, you can imagine God saying, yeah, we don't have a lot of openings left for apex predators, you guys aren't going to make it. Herbivores, large herbivores, nah, maybe a couple but rodents, oh, we have so many openings for rodents.
And I think that's those are the job prospects for practical everybody, you get to be a rodent in a world that big tech dominates, and as long as you don't aggravate big tech, they won't poison you, and you can make a good living a pretty good living. Somebody once said globalization means that we all get to make a good living from the point of view of a Pakistani hut carrier.
And there is some of that, we're all going to be competing with the third world for almost everything, and so I think that produces hostility to big tech, not surprisingly, and that means lots of regulation and the regulation is inevitably local which means we're sliding rapidly toward tech lash.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: All right. Tech lash.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: I agree that it's hard to see a future, at least at the moment, that doesn't involve the big tech firm, but I do wonder about the opportunities that are a little bit further afield. I think a lot of the description here focuses on people who embrace tech, are comfortable with tech, except for that last one, the people uncomfortable with tech.
But we do have a lot of people that are never going to be entrepreneurs, and we have a lot of people who are never going to do truly intellectual work, so finding ways to allow everybody to get some kind of fulfillment in work can be shaped by these parameters, really, for setting up who is in the economy, who wins in the economy, what the alternatives are, what happens with competition, and so on.
I think even if on a national basis we don't focus on home, or regardless of how much we focus on home, at least in this country we can see a bit of a shift from the national stage, which is certainly where I focus, to a lot more activity happening at state and local levels.
And once you look at those, you see different kinds of opportunities, and so you see the Internet of Things arising for environmental management, for helping to balance storm water runoff and sewage use of the same pipes, with a Pittsburgh example.
There are new opportunities for educating people, which in fact if you take the big tech companies or now these ads promoting YouTube for self education, but there is a lot of reality to that.
So as I look at these scenarios, I expect that there will be a lot of surprises, and that even if most of us are rodents, that that's another way of saying we're resilient, and we can cope. And part of the challenge of thinking about employment is that it's always easier to see what is going to be displaced, and we can see that, but I am somewhat optimistic that especially with a more local focus, we'll come up with some new alternative.
>> There are openings for cockroaches too.
>> LARRY IRVING: There was an article yesterday, the opening of rats, I don't know why we have it, but it was how resilient and entrepreneurial rats actually are. Scary.
As I look at these different scenarios, I read something like two days ago that a hundred years ago, 50% of the American workforce was engaged in agriculture. My mother is 89 this year and my grandmother would have been 106 this year, so their lifetime we went from half the workforce was engaged in agriculture a farm and now an industrial society and now we're moving to the digital society. This happens pretty fast. I'm looking at the scenarios, I assume what's going to happen, rules of innovation and wide open, because I think we are basically an optimistic country and optimistic people and I think we actually believe in progress. But I also believe that most folks feel that we've not adequately protected workers, not adequately protected competition, not adequately protected new entrants and innovation, and I don't think we'll ever be fully focused on home and tech lash can be required by too many people that don't understand what they're lifting.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: That's Washington.
>> LARRY IRVING: Yes and more generally, people try to make informed decisions even when they're wrong decision, and I think that the beauty of the Facebook hearings before the senate, I'll exclude the House because that's where I spent most of my life as a youngster, but is that both sides realized, America realized that both sides had some real problems, the lack of candor and honesty was alarming to some of this and the lack of knowledge about the underpinning of the industry was alarming to anybody interested in the policy.
Let me finish. I was in Australia earlier this year and did two maps. One map showed the communities in America that had broadband and then another map showed the communities, and this is before a group of folks like us check people and look at America, the areas that have broadband, they were all in blue. The next day I was giving a political speech to elected officials in Australia and I have not looked at the two maps side by side and that map showed the counties won by Donald Trump, when I look at the maps together, the communities that adopted and accepted and engaged in broadband, almost were all blue, both on that map and in the electoral map, so we have a disconnect, it's not just that America is split politically, we're split in terms of how we look and view and embrace and use technology, and that's why I think we're going to have to look at rules for innovation. We have to figure out how we make this revolution a truly national revolution, how we make sure that every American really feels invested in that, and I don't think we're there yet. And the right answer is, the right answer for 306 million Americans and not the right answer for 5 or 6 or 7 companies and people that invest to fund them.
One last piece, the Uber driver you were speaking about, that Uber driver has less protections my dad had an 8th grade education and moved from Virginia to New York City and worked as a civil servant. When you think about retirement, healthcare, quality of life, he had more protections in the 50s and 60s as a black guy with 8th grade education than most of the folks in the good jobs do today and that's something that I think is going to require us to rethink a lot of resents we've had over the last five or six years with regard to workers in tech.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Right, so that might be less employer centric view of that too, right? I guess part of what's interesting about this is that it's not just about everyone being an entrepreneur, but it might be about an environment of greater personal agency, where people by definition, must be more in control of their future than they've had to be historically. Right. And so in that environment, the the people are a little bit more on their own than they were, you know, prior to the Industrial Revolution.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: I think what Larry is also saying, and you can correct me, if there is an adequate safety net then it might be a little easier to have that agency.
>> LARRY IRVING: I think we go to a society, we're going to see it in the next five or six years. Baby boomers, I'm one of them, right in the middle, they're way under invested in retirement. We're about to hit that. If we have another recession, there are a lot of people that are going to have a lot of problems in their 40s, 50s, and 60s that just don't have enough. Because we got rid of pension and people are self investing and they're under investing.
The healthcare issues are dominating the election for just this year. The you know, yesterday we were talking about this, like if I get hit, it's my car, my dad was a cab driver part time, and there was a fleet of cars and he didn't have to worry about getting out of work because the car got hit because there was a fleet. He had a cold, there were sick days the cab company would take care of. We got rid of a lot of safety net things that came in the 30s, 40s, 50s, decided that we don't need or these haven't been developed in this new economy, and I think we've got to think about those things because we are invested as a society in each other's wellbeing, I would hope.
>> I'm not sure I want to be a rodent or cockroach. We have on a cultural basis
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: I don't want to be.
>> We have two themes a little bit in conflict right now. On the one hand, the fact that many people are going to be less economically important, the things that they make may or may not be as valuable, and then at the same time we have a kind of a predator culture, where you're going to want to be an entrepreneur, you want to start your own thing, you're an actor. And to some extent, I wonder whether the way that we think about work is going to or may need to change.
As an entrepreneur, someone who is launching an ag tech startup, one of my big concerns is these large companies, will they be my friends or competitors of mine? Once we sit down with them, you know, they can do in a fraction of the time whether a we what most startups can do, and that's I think a legitimate concern for people that come up with a good idea, who want it if there is so much concentration. To the question about agriculture, I mean, we forget that around the world there are 500 million small farms, so that's not necessarily the cornerstone of our employment economy here in the United States any longer, but there are 1.5 billion people that live in the small communities and that's the largest country on earth, right. So we do have to make the transition and think about it not just in terms of the United States but also in terms of the rest of the world's economy, they're our future markets.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: So what I want to do is challenge you to think less aspirationally about what you think ought to happen and what do you think the drivers are and what do you think is actually going to happen. Because certainly, we didn't handle the Industrial Revolution, even though things sort of turned out, that transition was pretty painful for individuals that got displaced by the transition, and so us saying that we need a safety net, do you believe that that's the way we're going? Do you think that a traditional that that's a government led initiative? Or is it more about, again, freeing up healthcare to be more acceptable to individuals or applicable to employees, so is there something that is more accommodating to what the next phase looks like as opposed to looking backwards and saying, well, you know, I really miss the days when we had pensions. Is there a way to rethink about what that looks like going forward rather than always trying to drag ourselves back to the golden era when everything was fine and half the population voted, right? So I mean, I think there is always a danger of looking backwards for our solutions instead of looking at what our future conflict is going to look like and designing our solutions in that context.
So again, I want to push back a little bit on our aspirations and then say, what do you think are the drivers that are happening right now, and do you think we're headed in the right direction, and what do you think do you think we're heading in as far as these scenarios as opposed to where you'd like us or believe that we ought to normatively end up? Does that make sense?
>> LARRY IRVING: Yeah, but I don't want to dominate today.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: I want to pick up on something Larry said before. An important driver is the aging population. A lot of the small farms are in the southern hemisphere and the age structures are different from what we have here and so there will be employment in elder care, and there will be employment in service industries of different kinds. You know, whether we can meet the needs adequately, that's a whole other story. The role of technology, that's a whole other story, but I think that something that's not in here that is an important driver is aging.
To respond to your question, I will acknowledge some of my limitations when it comes to certain aspects of economics, but I do not see the government as a solution for the financial security that people need growing older, so the question of whether there can be new, creative, flexible mechanisms that some segments of the private sector perhaps in partnership with the government can forge to help lubricate the transitions, that's an open question. I don't know that anybody is looking at those issues except perhaps some foundations or sponsored research, but it's open.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: What do you think is likely is the question?
>> STEWART BAKER: It's clear Silicon Valley makes things for their problems. Taxi service sucks in Silicon Valley so they get Uber.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: It sucks everywhere, just to be clear about it. It was pretty bad.
>> STEWART BAKER: It was pretty bad in San Francisco, and Outlook is constantly making my secretary redundant. It's forcing me to do the work that my secretary used to do because nobody at Microsoft has secretaries, and so they envision a world through their own webs. And if you're not in that world, you don't really exist for them, and the solution that they're coming up with out of Silicon Valley is some kind of income maintenance solution, right, everybody should have a guaranteed income. Which I got to say, it feels like a kind of half contemptuous tip to people who can't make it. It's like oh, yeah here take that. And I think that's where we're headed, is that they will continue to develop a world in which people who are not like them don't matter and they're just paid off to shut up.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Okay. Those are strong words. Those are fighting words. Again, what I want to do, and as we open the conversation up more broadly, let's try not to spend the day talking about universal basic income, for example, because let's talk about Internet governance and that's the purpose of these scenarios. It's meant to be a window or vector into this conversation and not something that's going to encompass every aspect of the future of work, so in other words, what's the role of Internet governance in terms of fragmentation of Internet, the amount we're regulating technology on the Internet, the export of encryption technology, all of the kind of things we've gone through in the past, if we can to some extent, fuzzy boundaries, think about things through Internet governance.
>> I think over the next few years there is going to be a national conversation about global governance about how we think about the policies. You have Nancy Pelosi and (?) situated to think about this, he's from the Department of Commerce, a young guy, relatively progressive, and he's going to start looking from a perspective, what should the Internet principles be the Internet Bill of Rights for Consumers, that's one piece.
We have Gail Slater and David Redl and others in the administration looking at privacy, and they're looking at privacy both from the perspective of Americans have a different history about privacy than New York does. If you're in Germany and you have (?) for 50 years and Nazis for 20 before that, you're concern about privacy is different than Americans do, but it doesn't mean it's wrong, it means it's different and we need our own American perspective. We're looking at a rapidly changing workforce and competition policy. We talked about it. I know Amazon is a sponsor and I'm not beating up on Amazon but are they a friend or predator if you're Duracell or Everready, so for years I get my batteries, and I go online and Amazon sends batteries and now Amazon knows when I get batteries and what batteries, and I get Duracell and then decide they want Amazon batteries. They say by the way, you're getting batteries, if you get ours you get half the price of Duracell so that can't be a good thing. And from a competition policy standpoint, how should we look at that and multiply that by all the other sectors of the economy that Amazon, more about your customer, between your customer and 50% of online commerce is through Amazon. Should we maybe have a competition policy around that?
And the point I'm trying to make is somebody in the Democratic Party or Republican Party if they're smart will sit down and look at vectors and say we need a comprehensive thought about how we think about this and how we think it impacts workers. What does it mean we're losing hundreds of thousands of retail jobs? You can walk into any store in the country and see fewer people. We're creating hundreds of thousands of retail jobs in distribution centers, and now would I rather be the person selling at the Nordstrom or the guy in the back of an Amazon warehouse. That's a question I hope I don't have to answer.
But that is a question we're seeing shifts in these things, so little towns in Indiana, with the Amazon retail centers are booming and 5th Avenue in New York, you see a bunch of people that don't have jobs in the stores that are going, the store fronts are going away. Who is having those conversations?
And my point it's not aspirational, but it's my belief that if either party wants to survive politically, they're going to have to start thinking about these things holistically. And one of the good things we did in 1993 and '94 and '95 when I was back in government is we did look at these holistically, and none of us yet have talked about voice recognition or AI or IoT which adds a whole another label of complexity and will change this even more both with the competition, with the jobs and about economic policy, so if we're not looking at there between now and 2020, why do we have a government because these I think are the critical issues.
And then hopefully the national implications because whatever Amazon, Facebook and Google do, we've got JD.com and others and they're not just competitors but they have a very different viewpoint and I know I certainly don't want everything I do being sucked up, not just by a company, but by a government and then the government giving me social credits on top of that. If we're not exporting our values as Americans on democracies of these issues, we're going to see a world in which Chinese values on these dominate and I'm not sure that's a good thing either.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: I would just add I think, I couldn't agree with you more. I sense that there is both a pro and a con.
>> ANDREW: There is certainly the danger, and there is also tremendous power in data and there is tremendous power in data from people that have not been polled in the past. One of the things I think we need to figure out, is very much in the context of Internet governance, what are the models, and how to give people a sense of enough ease and enough security and at the same time to be connected with the rest of the world.
If we don't have a good model for it, other models will come out, so we have to really figure out how we're going to presents ourselves so that we can be entrepreneurial on a global scale.
>> We don't have a choice on what companies we're going to be dealing with or whose values, there are only two choices now. There are only two economies that have the scale to deal with this. There is China's Internet economy and there is Silicon Valley's Internet economy. There is never going to be a European Internet economy, and the African Internet economy is much more likely to look like rodents than like apex predators.
And so that's going to drive us. If you don't like Chinese values being imposed through consumer products made by, you know, Buy Do then you are dragging us toward a fractured Internet which everybody here probably thinks is a bad idea, but which when you present it as us versus Chinese values, they applaud.
We're going to end up dividing up the world, and my guess is that that means we're going to be excluding Chinese products here because we don't like the values that come with it.
>> LARRY IRVING: I don't know if it's the values that come with it. I think it's about the government scrutiny of my activities that come that is a problem. Whether that's a value or activity, I'm not sure.
And I don't know whether a fragmented Internet is a good thing or bad thing. I spent 30 years of my life trying to create a holistic Internet environment and China may think it's an interest to have it different, and Iran will have it different, and different countries will make their own decisions.
My point is we have an opportunity as a nation or group of nations, western democracies, to think about how we want to approach the issues and I don't know that enough thought is being given to it.
I certainly think that one of the things about America from 1990, when I first started here until today is we didn't just lead in items of Internet policy and a technology policy to create the best product but alleges the best ideas. If you look at the agenda Al Gore released, I'm doing some writing on that right now, that agenda for action in 1993, everything we talked about then has been kind of a foundational approach that the rest of the world used in looking at Internet policy. Now it's an inflection point we're beginning to see tugs in other directions and if we don't rethink that 25 year old set of principles we have some problems going forward.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: So again, I'm just going to briefly push back a little bit because, again, because you are being very articulate about what we ought to be doing and don't believe that we are. And you said if we don't do it, and we will have problems. And that's where I'm getting at with the scenario, so absent of change, of course, where is it that you think we're going briefly? I mean, where are we headed? Where are we headed in terms of a scenario if we don't change course or we don't do the heavy thinking that you're suggesting, et cetera, what do you think is the path that we are on today?
>> LARRY IRVING: I think regional heavy handed regulation and I think we'd be on intensely fragmented Internet policy and I think it's problematic for a number of reasons, and I would assume that most folks in the room would feel the same way.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Okay. So what I'd love to do is get you all to participate. We don't exactly have a roundtable discussion here and we have a big crowd, but I'd really love to hear from all of you, both in terms of questioning all the assumptions that you've heard thus far and your views on we had an interesting mix of votes on which scenario was most likely, and I want to hear why you think so, et cetera, and make your case. But let's try and keep it tight in terms of your comments, so microphone holders, hold on to the microphone and just hold it in front of people, and we're going to enforce discipline of that, so we're going to start in the back here with Marilyn, and introduce yourself, please, whenever you speak for the transcript records.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I actually think it's okay
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Because you're Marilyn Cade.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I promise not to eat it. My name is Marilyn Cade, and I spend most of my time working with the ICT sector in developing countries, so my question to all of you, I have a quick comment. My observation is, boy, we were very U.S. centric in most of the discussion, and my question to you is, really and it kind of goes to a point that you made, Larry, about that we didn't just have good technology, but we had good ideas and we worked very, very hard to build friends internationally.
We cannot live in an ecosystem island called North America, and so what's your what's your thought on how we do the best we can to achieve the best outcome for the world but also reflects on the best outcome for the U.S.?
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: All right. Do you want to take that quickly? Yeah, I want to try and get as many people speaking as possible.
>> STEWART BAKER: I think the most likely outcome for the next 10 years is pretty brutal competition between the Chinese version of the Internet and Silicon Valley's version of it. And especially in the mobile Internet, China has enormous advantages in Africa, in particular, and so the U.S. is going to have to struggle to have Silicon Valley's model survive.
>> LARRY IRVING: I say we need a U.S. model, we need to think about that model, include Silicon Valley in the discussions, have a message and start working as hard over the next five years as we did in the proceeding 25 years of selling that message.
>> And if we go back to Larry's '90s and information infrastructure taskforce, we can also use what we know about the Internet and education, the Internet to support health.
>> LARRY IRVING: Healthcare, aging population, agriculture.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: So we can be much more applied and work for those application domains.
>> I think we dismissed to likely that a lot of emerging markets are lions. There are lions and apex predators in every market. We can create a new model, if you will a competitor model perhaps, we can create a new model that works for multiple markets, but we need to do it in conjunction with partners.
>> STEWART BAKER: So name one in Europe. Name an apex predator in the Internet economy in Europe. I think it's going to be very hard.
>> ANDREW: But if I can suggest, remember that apex predator, a cat can be an apex predator in your house, right. I mean, I think we have this vision of only lions and tigers, and on a regional basis, you know, an apex predator in Nigeria might be big for that.
>> (Speaking off mic).
>> I think we have partners we're missing out on as we construct this model and that's good news for us if we play our cards right.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: Pretty big telecom players in America also. All right. Go ahead. Where do you think things are going and why?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: My name is Andrew Bridges. I'm very cynical and I fear the tech lash because everything that's happening the last couple of years, which tech companies I think have unfortunately contributed to, because they have promised solutions that they cannot deliver. I think the problems that we've seen with social media and the like may emanate from the architecture and practices of technology companies, but I think ultimately, the public has a great deal of responsibility for whether a we've seen and this will replace more responsibility on individuals, and as long as tech companies keep touting they are so bright they can create all the solutions we're not going to get a way out of this.
I had a question about the fragmentation because this was a fantastic panel, thank you very much, but it seems to me we're going to have a series of fragmentations and asymmetrical fragmentations, and the questions of fragmentations may not be that different from questions about tariffs, and so for example, it may be U.S. policy that we will welcome all of the Internet to our door, that we will be able to access everything. But the problem is that persons in other countries will not able to access everything, and those governments will choose what the citizens can access, and maybe they won't have access to American sources.
When we say fragmentation is bad, we may not experience that fragmentation because we may have access to everything. But what we're going to be saying is that other people should not like the fragmentation that they have chosen, and that goes sort of to Marilyn's point that this is a very U.S. centric view.
We can determine how much Internet we want, but are we telling the rest of the world that they should not determine differently from us how much Internet they want. Thank you.
>> STEWART BAKER: If the Internet succeeds as it has in Italy, it's going to feel like an Italian Internet and the Italians are perfectly entitled to say we want rules for the Internet that reflect Italian values. And our decision to say no, no, you get Silicon Valley values like everyone else is aggravating everybody and the result is that you get heavy regulations and 5 billion dollar fines in Europe and in other places you get the Chinese saying to Turkey saying you can build an Internet with Chinese values and tweak them slightly so they're Turkish values and that's going to have a big impact on the competition, and I should stop here just for one second and say, if you find this challenging or interesting or worth listening to, I do have a weekly cyberlaw podcast that you can listen to and I tell all of my left wing friends that you can go to the gym and just listen to the podcast and your heart rate will get over 100.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: It's already over 100 (Laughing). Here in the blue blazer. I'm trying to switch the geography up a little bit here.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thanks. Steve with NetChoice. The tee up was the feature of the question of work. I think the question we're not looking at is what will life be like for workers in the future, for those individual, for those human beings, and you came close with the scenario for Wide Open that you introduced the concept we were engaged by, the engagement index, a notion of measuring are people getting as much work as they want and are they satisfied? Today at least when we ask people if they're satisfied with their job, they say three things, is it meaningful to me, am I rewarded for my effort and initiative, and the third element is control. Do I have some control over the nature of what I do and when I do it? Turns out on that measure of satisfaction, the Internet is awfully good at supporting these peer to peer economy jobs where people can control when and how they work and actually can manage more closely how they're rewarded.
So I think that has potential that are of that, but as Larry said, it's not so good on protection or certainty, so if we believe, if we aspire the Internet will help us create a scenario of the future where people are engaged and satisfied, but also fully protected and certain, I don't know that that's going to be possible. We may have to look at a world where it's bifurcated between those who do entrepreneurial inclinations for which the Internet is going to be superb but for those with certainty and protection, I don't know yet know the role the Internet will play in certainty and protection.
So I would ask you to focus your thoughts on whether the scenarios are getting to what we do to help people feel satisfied with the work they'll have in the future, and if you have anything to share on that, I would appreciate it.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: One of the things I mentioned before is the availability through the Internet of mechanisms for you to train yourself to do something new, so that goes back to the point earlier about agency, and I remember talking with somebody about how you can even learn welding on the Internet, which is a little scary to me, but obviously the potentials are broad.
But the second comment I'd make is that I heard a radio piece in the last week about people having side hustles and the commentator said actually this is a good thing and everybody should have a side hustle. My guess is the Internet would be very helpful in researching and acting on that drive for side hustles. Yes.
>> ANDREW: I think the distinction I would draw, I did a Ted Talk a couple years back about micro franchising and one of the lines I emphasized was that not everybody is going to be an entrepreneur, but everybody can be more entrepreneurial, and I think that's the thing that we want to try to tease out of it if we can. The question is whether we're going to create a struggle economy or that we're going to create a more open economy with more options and that's where the secret sauce I think comes in, trying to guarantee the basic levels of, you need to have a certain level of calorie intake in order to be entrepreneurial, I think, and so we want to make sure we get to that floor one way or the other. I don't know whether we can do it, but I know that we need that in order to unlock that entrepreneurial spirit.
>> STEWART BAKER: One of the great really kind of unsung successes of the American economy in the last 10 years has been the development and complete dominance by U.S. firms of cybersecurity as a field, and it's in a very effective it's a great living.
And I remember talking to a student at Brown who had done some early side hustle stuff in this area that was very effective, and he said something that I think was true for a lot of us. In cybersecurity you're either self taught or you aren't any good, and that's the world we're all going to live in, I think. We're all going to have to become self taught and we're going to have to reteach ourselves every five years the ways in which new technology affects us.
For some people, that is a really exciting opportunity and it doesn't matter how educated you are, it's a question of do you have the moxie. But boy, a lot of other people are not going to have that, even in you've got it, you know, you get in in a car accident and you don't know what you're going to do.
>> LARRY IRVING: I hope we rethink policy and education provision in this country because we have some significant problems. On the work force front, you know, we have an industrial education system, and we thought education agricultural, we haven't thought of education moving from industrial to information society in the economy and owning your own business and being yourself and agency and all the great words that people with college educations think of.
We have a great resource in community colleges that is underutilized, we can use online tools, but there is also an anti education, anti intellectualism thing going through the country. Two books, Hillbilly Elegy, inside that book there are a lot of folks who think education is a detriment to life in this country and there is another book The Great Revolt talking about why so many people in the Midwest voted for Donald Trump and among, I grew up in a community in Southeast Queens, New York where going to college was beyond what most people thought people in the community could do, and there was why are you doing that, you don't need to do that. It's even worse it seems like in working class white America.
There was a study in California of all places, two thirds of white Californians thought their children did not or should not go to college as compared to 60% of Asian parents, 57% of black parents, and two thirds of white parents didn't think their kids needed to or should go to college, that's a problem in this country, and we don't rethink education and reach where the people are, we're not going to be successful.
>> STEWART BAKER: Because college sucks these days. An entire house for having a learned European history.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: There are alternatives to community colleges and things like that and other ways to get educated. I think part of the issue again is this looks forward versus looks backwards. If you're an economic development officer in a state, and you use the old express that if all you have is a hammer every problem becomes a nail, right, and I have the power to give away land or give breaks on taxes, et cetera, in order to break I'm talking to Amazon, what I'm going to ask them is, put a distribution center in my state. When I should be asking, can you help me to get my citizens businesses online? Because that's what Amazon is actually set up to help them do, right. They're not set up to try and find your way back to the old economy. And so I mean, I think part of what we need to do is figure out how to, again, come up with these solutions but in a forward thinking way instead of a backwards thinking way. Others? Yeah, go ahead.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good morning. All right. My name is Clayton Bank from Silicon Valley. I had two quick points and a question of the one point is, I think broadband has to be very much a utility, if you will, for all of this to work. And so as we're looking at the future of work, everyone has to be connected and it's not a zero sum game. We got to get out of this language of the other. It's all of us. Even if you have really good broadband connection, a better broadband connection will bring more money into your household.
The second thing to your point, when you talked about the future and how is it going to be designed, it's got to be co designed. I think we have to have the government, private sector, the academics, and what's been missing most of the Industrial Revolutions is the community. What do they really want? This still boils down to people, and my question is telework. As you guys think about the future, at least from my opinion, telework is going to play a big role and there has to be more governance around that. I believe Representative Connolly just introduced a bill around that so I'd love to hear what you guys are thinking around telework.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: So telework has obviously been around for a while, it has grown certainly in this city. Government, historically, maybe a little bit less so now has often encouraged it for various reasons, and certainly anecdotally what I see in the private sector is people of all kinds, yes, are fulfilling the vision of working anywhere and anytime. I'm not sure I understand what you mean about governance about it. In general, the people that I know who tend to do telework, possibly work more than they would have if they had been in an office for a variety of reasons, and one can argue about whether there would be governance of that. But I agree with you to make those opportunities available, especially for people who have mobility impairments, other disabilities, you do definitely broaden access to work to the extent that telework is genuinely supported.
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Speaking off mic). Some pull back on some of the provisions of people with telework versus what we've had in the past, so there is some evolving governance going on around telework?
>> ANDREW: Andrew I suggest that we all telework. I don't think we think of it in these ways, but I'm on the phone with Colombia yesterday morning, right, over that, that's telework. I wasn't able to go there physically. You mentioned something else super important, we need to do this in a way that creates community and creates trust because in a lot of ways we're moving out of the data economy and into a trust economy where your networks and the trusted nature of your networks really matter a lot. And so I think one of the questions that we have to answer is, how do we create that trust, how do we create the structures and the systems that engender more trust in the future especially so we can go into new business models? And that sense of community, I think, is we're really struggling with that and trying to reverse engineer.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: That's another area with an old conception of community and potentially a new conception of community. And add was asked about the roles of the Internet, one is creating virtual communities that allows people to have communication, et cetera, that is outside of a physical community. A lot of people when we start talking about personal agency are concerned about labor mobility and people's ability to move to where work is or to be able to work from where they are, and a lot of that is going to require the government to get engaged in removing, and spending as much time removing the barriers to entrepreneurship, to labor mobility that we've set up over the past decades.
Robert Gara was online and asked a question for the panel, which is who do you think are the three top people that you think we should be watching or listening to or reading on this topic, and you don't have to come up with three, but that was his question. Who are the leaders in this area that people ought to be paying attention to? Some of you already mentioned some, but if you want to add to that, that was his question online.
>> LARRY IRVING: Everyone is looking at Tristan Harris and Roger Mcnamare because they're fighting the castle and attacking it. I think what (?) is comes up with, I don't know what he's going to do and I don't know him, we're both commerce alums but the fact that Pelosi that has Silicon Valley in the back yard the mantel to push for progressive Internet Bill of Rights for American, that should be interesting.
>> MARJORY BLUMENTHAL: I would just say from the economist side of the world, Otar at MIT always has interesting things to say and importantly about understanding the nature of work, how it can be alternatively packaged into jobs, and avoiding naive and simple discussions of displacement.
>> LARRY IRVING: There is a woman columnist in the Financial Times and I'm having a moment and forgetting it, but I'll post it on Twitter later today but she's fantastic in terms of looking at the international applications of a lot of it, I can't think of her name at the moment, but it's just I can't get there, but there are some really good folks in Financial Times and economists and it's important for particularly Americans to see what people outside of America are writing and think being this because we don't want this just to be a domestic conversation.
>> JONATHAN ZUCK: All right. Thanks, everybody, very much. Unfortunately, we are pressed for time. Please reach out to the panelists in the lobby. My name is Jonathan Zuck and I'm with an organization called the Innovators Network that is focused on the future of work, so please come up to me if you would like to be part of conversations that we hold as well, but thanks so much for your participation on this panel and enjoy the rest of the day. Thanks and join me in thanking the panel.
This text is based on live transcription. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.