Monday, July 6, 2020

Reprogramming the American Dream (Kevin Scott)

In Reprogramming the American Dream, author Kevin Scott, who makes his career in technology, talks about his life and shares his recipe for improving rural America. Scott grew up in rural Virginia and, like J.D. Vance in Hillbilly Elegy, shares a tale of rural struggle to riches, escaping the hinterland to make something of himself in the big city.

Scott’s book discusses how Artificial Intelligence, or AI, can help businesses in rural America survive and thrive in the coming years. AI has been a disruptor on many facets of American employment in the past dozen or so years, and Scott anticipates that it will continue to cause disruption to vast swaths of American employment in the years to come. However, Scott also feels that AI can be a force for good if politicians and businesses take necessary steps to address technology in the workforce with effective policy and parameters around how it is used. Among Scott’s suggestions are an advocacy for increased technical education, retraining of workers impacted by AI, and increased access to high-speed internet. Many of Scott’s suggestions are practical and apolitical - geared to help rural America bridge the opportunity gap that is increasing between it and more technologically wired and advanced metropolitan areas.

Scott goes to great lengths to educate the reader on AI - maybe a bit too much - but it is done with a purpose to instruct and inform what technological advancement actually is. If you can handle some heavy reading at times, Scott’s practical suggestions around technology and education are valuable for the discussion on rural issues that continue to dominate chunks of policy.