Amita Kuttner would much rather be unravelling the mysteries of the universe but first, there are more pressing terrestrial problems to solve.
The 28-year-old is two weeks away from defending her doctoral thesis on wormholes and black holes in the early universe, but the Green Party candidate for Burnaby-North Seymour officially launched her campaign on Friday.
“If I didn’t feel like this was absolutely urgently necessary, I would be doing astrophysics,” she said.
If Kuttner’s name is familiar, it may be because her mother was killed in the 2005 Blueridge mudslide, while she was away at boarding school.
“Since then I’ve been pursuing my education and really just going after science for the beauty of it. At some point in grad school, I realized I was very dissatisfied with the way the world is and I would not be willing to witnesses it disappear and change,” she said. “I decided I had to do something service oriented.”
Kuttner said she found a home with the Green Party because they were most willing to listen to her ideas, especially in her chief area of policy interest: the coming disruption as technological advances in automation, artificial intelligence and robotics displace workers across the economy.
“Unlike previous revolutions, this one affects everyone. In some sectors, services will be almost entirely wiped out first,” she said. “There is a complete policy void.”
To be ready, Canada should provide education for free, so as people’s jobs disappear, they have every chance to retrain for new work, she said. And the country’s social safety net will need a universal basic income or a guaranteed livable income.
“You have to make sure you do it in a way that is equitable and maintains our democracy and strengthens our democracy,” she said.
Canada also needs be creating a regulatory body to govern AI and to do its part in ensuring autonomous weapons are banned globally, Kuttner added.
Because of Kuttner’s expertise, she has already been named the Green Party’s critic for science and innovation.
As a young person coming out of school, you can also expect Kuttner to campaign on the usual kitchen table issues like the cost of living and the lack of meaningful employment.
The climate crisis, of course will be a part of her campaign, but Kuttner isn’t concerned about the search for answers there.
“All the solutions to the climate crisis exist. It’s just a matter of implementing them,” she said.
In Burnaby-North Seymour, Kuttner will face off against Liberal incumbent Terry Beech, NDP veteran Svend Robinson and yet-to-be-named Conservative and Peoples Party of Canada challengers.