Julia Taylor: A call to action for Milwaukee now for 2046

President, Greater Milwaukee Committee

In 2046, systems will be more complex, and life will be more straightforward. The pandemic will cast a long shadow for years. We will be nearing the end of the fouth industrial revolution – the digital fusion of the physical, digital and biological worlds driven by AI. As AI becomes predominant, the ability to monitor and regulate it will be a significant issue over the next few decades. If we build AI on our current human biases we will make the struggle for equity more complex and challenging.

My big idea is a call to action for Milwaukee to address our racial equity issues head on now. We commit to change the policies, practices and systems that created the worst place to live in the country for people of color and figure out why systemic racism is so persistent in Milwaukee. We become clearly intentional as a community in how we invest for transformative change.

If we do this, the next two decades will see significant progress in racial and gender equity, including stronger educational outcomes, higher incomes, business and homeownership, and neighborhood integration.

With our long history in environmental sustainability and our innovative water research cluster of companies, government, and education we have a strong reputation as a community that cares about our environment. The arts, culture and sports are strong in Milwaukee and growing. We are recognized nationally for our city’s adaptive reuse and upcycling of our beautiful architecture. With our historical assets and our willingness to take on the issues of racial inequity, Milwaukee can benefit significantly from the pandemic. The ability to work anywhere can lead to a migration to a Milwaukee known as a beautiful city with tremendous natural resources, sports and arts, an innovative, supportive, and entrepreneurial business and philanthropic community, and a place that values and honors its diverse population with opportunities for all. So much more will be possible in 25 years if we address our problems today.

This column is part of “25 big ideas for Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin’s future,” a feature included in the BizTimes Milwaukee 25th anniversary issue. To read other contributions, visit biztimes.com/bigideas

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