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Forum series welcomes former 2020 presidential candidate: A conversation with Andrew Yang

| Denise Olson

Photo caption: Author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang will join Blugolds in a virtual Forum series discussion about artificial intelligence, automation and the U.S. economy.

The 78th season of the signature UW-Eau Claire Forum series continues with a virtual presentation by 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang. On Nov. 10 Yang will offer an interactive presentation titled "The Implication of Artificial Intelligence."

Yang's Forum presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be hosted via Zoom, a platform allowing up to 300 participants per session. This event is free for UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff, and will be available to the general public for a charge of $5. Attendees must preregister for the Zoom event via the Blugold ticketing website. Campus users will be directed to a login page. 

The one-hour presentation will be followed by 30 minutes of Q&A, and participants are asked to submit questions prior to the event by emailing activities@uwec.edu.

Following long-standing tradition for Forum events, Yang will be introduced by a Blugold student. Haadia Malik, a senior marketing analytics major from Oshkosh, will have the honor of introducing the evening's esteemed guest.

"I’ve been part of the #YangGang for the past two years now and it’s awesome to see how much it has grown since I learned about Andrew," Malik said. "I’m incredibly excited for Andrew to come to campus (virtually) and so honored to be able to introduce him on Tuesday."   

Yang is an author and entrepreneur who spent his early career as a corporate attorney. In 2011 he founded Venture for America, a nonprofit that created thousands of jobs in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and other cities throughout the country that were hard-hit by the 2008 recession. The alumnus of Brown University and Columbia Law School was selected by the Obama administration as a 2012 Champion of Change and a 2015 Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. In 2017 Yang turned his focus toward a bid for the presidency, officially filing his campaign papers in November of that year. 

Yang ran as a Democrat whose signature campaign proposal was to give all Americans a $1,000 monthly "Freedom Dividend" in response to widespread job losses due to technology and automation. He went on to be a highly popular candidate, qualifying to take part in seven Democratic primary debates.

The tagline for Yang's campaign was "Move Humanity Forward" and was built around 150 comprehensive policies meant to "put humanity first." When asked why he decided to run, Yang's response was simple and deeply personal. 

"I'm not running for president because I ever fantasized about being president," he said. "I'm running for president because I'm an American and I'm a parent, and I can see the country we will leave to our children. It is not something that I am willing to accept."

Yang's 2018 book "The War on Normal People" explores the future of the U.S. economy and the American workforce in an age of automation and artificial intelligence, two forces he believes will eliminate millions of jobs over the next several years.

"We are entering an age of super-intelligent computers that can take any complex data set — every legal precedent, radiology film, asset price, financial transaction, actuarial table, Facebook like, customer review, resume bullet, facial expression and so on — synthesize it, and then perform tasks and make decisions in ways that are as good as or better than the smartest human in the vast majority of cases," he wrote.

"The market rewards business leaders for making things more efficient. Efficiency doesn’t love normal people."