Jun 18, 2018
Sam Weston is attempting the impossible: trying to educate our
lawmakers about technology and its effect on the workforce. Okay,
maybe it’s not impossible, but so far, it’s been an uphill battle
as automation and artificial intelligence have continued to take
jobs from people who need them. There’s no support for those
people, and Sam’s mission is not just to raise awareness; he aims
to help those lawmakers by giving them context with awareness, and
a plan to make things better.
- Sam was born in New Zealand and began his career in politics
there, but it wasn’t long before he came to the US to become a
political consultant. From there, he stepped into PR and then into
an Internet agency where he participated in the early days of the
Internet and saw its impact on business.
- The Internet has been great for business. We all know this. But
there’s a hidden truth that no one wants to talk about. Businesses
have been growing but it’s at the expense of employees, and the
Internet explosion threw fuel on the fire. Consider: Facebook
changed the world, but have all the changes been good?
- No doubt you’ve seen a million different promises that if you
fix THIS ONE THING, you’ll fix work for yourself. It’s the perfect
marketing pitch. But according to Sam, fixing one problem won’t fix
all of work. In fact, a lot of what people say is broken about work
isn’t really broken at all. Case in point: communication.
- So, if all these problems are just symptoms, then what is the
actual problem? It’s simple: no one is fixing work for employees.
All the consultants, programs, and courses are trying to fix work
for the company instead. Most employers are happy with the way
things are and Sam reveals what’s really on their minds when they
think of fixing work. If you’re a cynic, you’ll agree.
- As always, there’s an underlying problem here: the interests of
a company are its shareholders. And that interest will always be
diametrically opposed to the interest of the employee who asks,
‘how can I get paid what I’m worth?’ A different sort of problem
for those who don’t struggle to earn enough to live is finding
purpose and meaning in their work. They wonder if they’re wasting
- The amount of change rushing toward the workforce is massive.
With the advent of AI and technology, more and more jobs will be
disappearing. Importantly, this second rush of automation won’t
just affect automotive industries and factory workers; it’s the
white-collar workers who will bear the brunt of this coming change.
Laurie asks a scary question, ‘is the future of work NOT work?’ Sam
believes the jury is out on whether the number of jobs AI creates
will be more or less than the number of jobs it destroys. But
here’s the parallel issue: no one is talking about the jobs it will
- We already don’t have a great track record of supporting people
whose jobs were either outsourced or taken by robots, and it brings
up an interesting discussion around politics (of course) and how
the Democratic party has become more about the status quo instead
of for the working class. You’ll want to hear what Sam and Laurie
have to say about political capital and what it means for change.
Do you agree?
- With all the gloom and doom of business interests and the AI
tidal wave that’s about to hit, we have to wonder what’s standing
in the way of truly fixing the systemic problems of work? Sam’s
response is so dead-on that you’ll be nodding along: our
policymakers are technology-illiterate. They don’t understand the
problem or how to fix it.
- According to Sam, we are drowning in awareness of problems, but
we aren’t drowning in change. This is what he’s dedicated himself
to fixing. If we can present the problems that technology brings,
give it context, and make it matter to policymakers, that is a HUGE
step forward in heading off the issues before they arise.
- Another problem with political leaders is that they’re having
the same arguments they’ve been having for nearly 60 years. They
lack a real vision for the future, so their policies don’t
encompass that. Whether you like Elon Musk or not, the man knows
how to look toward the future, and both policymakers AND business
owners can learn from him.
- It might not only be up to policymakers and business owners to
create a vision for the future. In the past, families like the
Rockefellers and Carnegies have done amazing work, so where are the
new millionaires and billionaires who are creating real, positive
change in our world? (If that’s you, Sam has some pointed advice
that can help you make almost immediate change and why you
shouldn’t focus on foundations.)
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Find Sam Online:
Sam Weston's Website