big idea brief
The Big Idea Brief series tackles the big public policy issues of the day. It distills those issues into a concise and accessible read, offering ideas on how pressing challenges can be addressed. The series seeks to inform and drive vibrant public discourse, a key to policy innovation and healthy democratic institutions.

We accept unsolicited submissions for the Big Idea Brief series. Contributions on topical international security and governance issues should be sent to Submissions must not exceed 4,000 words and should contain a minimum number of footnotes.

Big Idea Brief No. 1 – Robotics and the Age of Automation: Preparing for the Coming Disruption
In the inaugural Waterloo Symposium on Technology and Society, Martin Ford explored the ways in which AI and automation are outpacing humans in a range of sectors, from education to law, agriculture to healthcare, and beyond. He presented a pragmatic view of what the future of work will look like. But Ford also sought to answer an existential question: can accelerating technology disrupt our entire economic system to the point where a fundamental restructuring is required? This paper will summarize the ideas presented by Ford and situate them within wider philosophical and policy debates. It will explore different policy options, from universal basic income to education system reforms, that private and public sector actors can enact to better prepare our society for the coming technological disruption.

December 2019