Why a Universal Basic Income is the Answer to Job Automation

The future of AI requires a guaranteed income for these two major reasons.

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The advances in AI and robotics will inevitably lead to greater — perhaps soaring — inequality and quite possibly outright unemployment, at least for certain groups of workers. This has the potential to rend the fabric of society and lead to both social and political disruptions — including the rise of demagogues.

In my 2015 book, Rise of the Robots, I argue that someday we will need something like a universal basic income (UBI) to ensure that income is adequately distributed throughout the population.

Here are two major reason for a universal basic income:

  1. To maintain social stability and make sure people can maintain a decent standard of living.
  2. To ensure that consumers have money to spend — because the market economy requires that there be adequate demand for products and services. Without this we risk economic stagnation or even a downward spiral, as well as a financial crisis if people cannot pay their debts.

I make my case for a basic income in my TED Talk at the 2017 TED Conference.

In my new book Architects of Intelligence, I interview leaders in the AI industry about the impact of AI on jobs. Everyone agrees there will be disruption, and many think a basic income is a good idea. Others disagree. Again, there are a great many interesting perspectives.

Originally published on Quora.

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