Elon Musk – Universal Income Will Save Humanity from Robot Job Thieves
Ashley Allen / 4 years ago
Automation – using machines, robots, and AIs to fulfil tasks – is designed to benefit humanity and make life easier, but an important, albeit obvious, side effect of that is the loss of jobs for actual humans. Experts predict that automation could make half the world unemployed within the next 30 years, while one-third of UK jobs could become redundant in twenty years. If robots are doing everything, then what do we do? How can we earn money to afford to live?
One solution, which predates the automation revolution, is universal basic income, which is also known as citizen’s income or basic income guarantee. Universal basic income is a regular, unconditional payment from the state to everyone, without exception. It would make traditional unemployment and incapacity benefits redundant, since everyone – rich or poor, sick or healthy, employed or unemployed – would receive the exact same amount of money, without risk of it being taken away. It would also strip away the high cost of state welfare bureaucracy since there would be no means testing or assessment involved.
The value of universal basic income is quite low – for example, in the UK, the Green Party proposes a universal basic income of £72 a week, just above the poverty line – but would act as a safety net with which one could survive. Such a move would encourage many to work less hours, with many full-time jobs becoming part-time, theoretically opening up more employment placements, while helping to protect basic securities, such as health and housing, that could be put at risk by sudden misfortune, and supporting more creative endeavours.
One major proponent of universal basic income is green energy entrepreneur Elon Musk, who believes that such a move would safeguard the security of humanity when the robots take over.
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Musk told CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
“People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” Musk added. “Certainly more leisure time.”
Even US President Barack Obama is taking the idea seriously, revealing earlier this year that it’s a possibility that he has considered, and is sure to be discussed with greater urgency in the near future.
“Whether a universal income is the right model — is it gonna be accepted by a broad base of people? — that’s a debate that we’ll be having over the next 10 or 20 years,” President Obama told Wired back in August.