“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Teach a robot to fish, does the whole world eat or starve?”
This question raised by a user on Reddit seems to bring to light the job displacement crisis that we have looming over our heads as automation creeps into our workforce faster than ever. “Elon Musk thinks that we are living in a matrix. Elon Musk thinks life is actually a simulation.” The latest addition to Elon Musk ’s hall of fame of unconventional thoughts is the answer to this question.
“There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” said Musk. In a recent interview with CNBC, Tesla, and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk decided to finally shed some light on the issue of humans being rendered jobless because of machines quipped with artificial intelligence. His solution to this problem involves the facilitation of a universal basic income for all, presumably sponsored by the government. Basic income sounds like a good policy. With more and more people entering the state of living a life of chronic economic insecurity, the appeal for it will only grow stronger.
However, the concept of basic wage doesn’t seem to be applicable in the present scenario of the world. Developed countries like America are struggling to provide free healthcare and college education without drowning in debt, what are the chances of a basic income being guaranteed to all anytime in the near future?
The Future of Basic Income
Most left-leaning economists like James Tobin and John Kenneth Galbraith seem to be in favour of a basic income for all. The interest in the introduction of a universal basic income has spread like an avalanche. What’s surprising is that governments are interested in trying out this radical proposal which challenges the social notions surrounding the work-income relationship which had been set in stone for years to soften the blow as automation replaces human jobs.
The only way we’ll know whether this radical welfare reform will actually work is by dipping our toes in the water. We will soon witness an experiment which pays people for being human without any conditions attached in Finland whose results will play an important role in the determination of the implementation of the basic income system. Ontario’s budget documents also contain unspecified plans for the Canadian Government to provide its citizens with a basic wage. What we can conclude is that the suggestion made by the
What we can conclude is that the suggestion made by the high profile innovator will act as the first step in adapting to groundbreaking technological advancements which can potentially shake the foundation of our society. The fact that remains unchanged is that the implementation of this policy will be one of the most intrepid experiments in modern history.