(The AEGIS Alliance) – Billionaire technology giant Elon Musk has been tweeting a lot lately — about all kinds of topics, from his mentors of philosophy (Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams) to his standings in politics (he’s a socialist).
But seemingly lost in all of his tweets, Musk now states that universal basic income (UBI) — free cash handouts essentially — “will be necessary over time if AI (artificial intelligence) takes over most human jobs.”
This is what Elon Musk tweeted last Friday in response to a question by a Twitter user who asked if he supports UBI.
Universal income will be necessary over time if AI takes over most human jobs
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 15, 2018
Universal basic income is basically a cash handout which is distributed to the people of a region or state irrespective of their status in employment. In November of 2016, Musk said to CNBC that automation would lead cash handouts being required..
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Elon Musk stated. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
Elon Musk is not the only Silicon Valley giant to bring up the concept.
“Let’s face it: There is something wrong with our system when I can leave [Harvard] and make billions of dollars in 10 years, while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business,” Zuckerberg said in his May 2017 commencement address at his alma mater. “Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”
Billionaire serial entrepreneur Richard Branson has also stated that he supports investigating this concept for similar reasons to Elon Musk.
“With the acceleration of [artificial intelligence] and other new technology … the world is changing fast,” Branson wrote in an August 2017 post. “A lot of exciting new innovations are going to be created, which will generate a lot of opportunities and a lot of wealth, but there is a real danger it could also reduce the amount of jobs. This will make experimenting with ideas like basic income even more important in the years to come.”
The concept of universal basic income isn’t exclusively the brain fodder of only billionaires.
One youthful and hopeful democratic presidential candidate is banking his 2020 campaign for the White House on the concept of handing out $1,000 per month to all legal citizens from the ages of 18 to 64. Author and Entrepreneur Andrew Yang named this payment “the Freedom Dividend.”
In addition, Michael Tubbs, the young mayor of Stockton, Calif., has introduced a universal basic income experiment as one way to alleviate poverty in those areas. Also, UBI is officially part of the California Democratic Party’s 2018 party platform— a move which may potentially bring the concept of universal basic income out of the purely theoretical stage and into actual use.
Elon Musk holds the belief that automation could make universal basic income necessary, he also claims it could create more equality in marketplaces by encouraging more competition for consumers’ money.
“Ironically, future automation will naturally lead to greater equality of consumption. Monopolies are true enemy of people. Competing to serve is good,” Elon Musk stated in a Tweet on Saturday.
Read Das Kapital when I was 14, incl cross-checking English translation of original German. Adam Smith FTW obv. Ironically, future automation will naturally lead to greater equality of consumption. Monopolies are true enemy of people. Competing to serve is good.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2018
Featured Image: CC/Flickr/Heisenberg Media
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.