Let’s say computers come for most of our jobs. This may not seem likely at the moment; computer scientists and economists offer wildly varying ideas for how deeply automation will affect future employment.
But for the sake of argument, imagine that within two or three decades we’ll have morphed into the Robotic States of America.
In Robot America, most manual laborers will have been replaced by herculean bots. Truck drivers, cabbies, delivery workers and airline pilots will have been superseded by vehicles that do it all. Doctors, lawyers, business executives and even technology columnists for The New York Times will have seen their ranks thinned by charming, attractive, all-knowing algorithms.
How will society function after humanity has been made redundant? Technologists and economists have been grappling with this fear for decades, but in the last few years, one idea has gained widespread interest — including from some of the very technologists who are now building the bot-ruled future.
Their plan is known as “universal basic income,” or U.B.I., and it goes like this: As the jobs dry up because of the spread of artificial intelligence, why not just give everyone a paycheck?
Imagine the government sending each adult about $1,000 a month, about enough to cover housing, food, health care and other basic needs for many Americans. U.B.I. would be aimed at easing the dislocation caused by technological progress, but it would also be bigger than that.
While U.B.I. has been associated with left-leaning academics, feminists and other progressive activists, it has lately been adopted by a wider range of thinkers, including some libertarians and conservatives. It has also gained support among a cadre of venture capitalists in New York and Silicon Valley, the people most familiar with the potential for technology to alter modern work.
Rather than a job-killing catastrophe, tech supporters of U.B.I. consider machine intelligence to be something like a natural bounty for society: The country has struck oil, and now it can hand out checks to each of its citizens.
These supporters argue machine intelligence will produce so much economic surplus that we could collectively afford to liberate much of humanity from both labor and suffering.
The most idealistic thinkers see the plan as a way to foster the sort of quasi-utopian future we’ve only encountered in science fiction universes like that of “Star Trek.” As computers perform more of our work, we’d all be free to become artists, scholars, entrepreneurs or otherwise engage our passions in a society no longer centered on the drudgery of daily labor.
The Latest on: Universal basic income
via Google News
The Latest on: Universal basic income
- Employment rose among those in California universal-income experiment, study findson March 3, 2021 at 2:20 pm
After getting $500 per month for two years without rules on how to spend it, 125 people in California paid off debt, got full-time jobs and ...
- Employment rose among those in Stockton’s universal basic income experiment: Studyon March 3, 2021 at 1:58 pm
After getting $500 per month for two years without rules on how to spend it, 125 people in Stockton paid off debt, got full-time jobs and had “statistically significant improvements” in ...
- One California city ran a Universal Basic Income Experiment. Employment rates went up.on March 3, 2021 at 1:41 pm
Former Mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs, joins Katy Tur with the findings from his two-year UBI experiment.
- Is universal income closer to reality? Cities from Stockton to St. Paul are already testing monthly checks for residentson March 3, 2021 at 9:53 am
Cities are testing guaranteed income for residents amid the pandemic's job losses. Proposals in Congress provide similar benefits through tax credits.
- Study: Employment rose among those in free money experimenton March 3, 2021 at 7:14 am
The program was the nation's highest-profile experiment in decades of universal basic income, an idea that was revived as a major part of Andrew Yang's 2020 campaign for president. The idea is to ...
- Universal basic income program focuses on young adults getting out of foster careon March 3, 2021 at 4:50 am
Santa Clara County started giving $1,000 a month to young adults transitioning out of foster care. Now, a California senator is proposing a similar pilot program for the entire state.
- Shaun Bailey: Tory London mayor candidate says universal basic income would be used to buy ‘lots of drugs’on March 3, 2021 at 2:20 am
Mr Bailey came under fire last month for suggesting homeless people should save up £5,000 for a mortgage deposit ...
- Tory London mayor hopeful says basic income would be used for 'lots of drugs'on March 3, 2021 at 12:33 am
The Conservative candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, has been criticised for arguing people paid a universal basic income (UBI) would blow the money on “lots of drugs”. Liberal Democrats and ...
- People would blow Universal Basic Income on 'lots of drugs', top Tory claimson March 2, 2021 at 10:24 pm
People would blow a Universal Basic Income on “lots of drugs”, the Tory candidate for London mayor has claimed. Shaun Bailey has been accused of “contempt” for families after making the argument ...
- Democrats’ Stealth Plan to Enact Universal Basic Incomeon March 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm
The Covid stimulus would give checks to parents, with no strings attached. UBI for everyone is next.
via Bing News