County Commissioner warns students of future job replacement

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Tommy Calvert, Bexar County commissioner for Precinct 4, speaks to students and faculty during SACMEN’s Plática seminar Feb. 20 in the nursing complex. Calvert, 38, is the first and youngest African-American Bexar County commissioner. Calvert told students they can make a difference by “keeping your idealism.” Mitchell Gawlik

A quarter of Bexar County’s population reads at a fifth-grade level, he said.

By Sarah F. Morgan

Tommy Calvert, Bexar County Commissioner Precinct 4, told the Men Empowerment Network Feb. 20 to become more proficient in computer science as a safeguard against job replacement by artificial intelligence.

“Twenty-five to 43 percent of the jobs that we have right now will be replaced by a computer or robot,” Calvert said.

Calvert addressed members of SACMEN and students in business and humanities classes in the SACMEN Plática seminar in the nursing and allied health complex.

“Plática” is Spanish for “conversation.”

Young people need to be empowered as artificial intelligence becomes capable of doing what was once done by a human ­— from giving tickets at movie theaters to controlling cameras in a studio, Calvert said.

Calvert said many Americans have gotten complacent about their future careers.

This generation will be competing in a “global environment” where students’ educations will be up against those from around the world, Calvert said.

“I don’t think our society is ready for that … unfortunately Bexar County has one of the lowest adult literacy rates in the United States,” Calvert said.

Twenty-five percent of Bexar County’s population reads at a fifth-grade level, Calvert said.

“So that means your economy is not as kicking and as strong as it could and should be because your adult population is underperforming in the job place. So wages are lower. Homeownership is lower. Savings for college become unencouraged. Drug sales go up. A lot of crime increases,” Calvert said. “All kinds of ramifications for society happen when people don’t read well. In the information-technology economy, this is very scary.”

One of the keys to success is not knowing everything but knowing where to go to get more information, he said.

“How do you make a world-class city if you don’t see or know the world?” he asked. “Where do we compare?”

Calvert said he wants Bexar County to have the lowest cost of doing business and have the highest quality of life.

Calvert emphasized the importance of a high school education.

There’s a direct connection between high school dropouts and prison incarceration, Calvert said.

Bexar County also has a wealth-building issue, Calvert said.

Minorities in San Antonio are significantly less wealthy than the rest of Texas, Calvert said.

Hispanics are 18 times less wealthy than whites, and African-Americans are 20 times less wealthy than whites, Calvert said.

Calvert criticized the use of race as a “weapon of mass distraction.”

“People want to put cleavages between us … and pimp out race,” he said.

“I want you to know, no matter where you come from, you can make a huge difference in this entire world,” he said.

“Keep your young idealism and your positive thinking,” Calvert said.

Calvert is the first and youngest African-American commissioner in the county. He was elected into office in 2015. He is 38.

For more information on SACMEN, call 210-486-1603.


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