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Science & Technology

Could robots force a universal basic income ?

By T.K. Randall
November 6, 2016 · Comment icon 25 comments

What happens when robots take all of our jobs ? Image Credit: YouTube / Boston Dynamics
As robots automate more and more jobs, will the government be forced to pay everyone a basic wage ?
There's no denying that robots have the potential to take over from human workers in a wide range of job positions in the coming years, but if things reach the point where there simply aren't enough employment opportunities left to go round then governments may face some tough decisions on how to maintain a society in which the traditional concept of going to work may no longer exist.

"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during a recent interview with CNBC.

"Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen."

The idea of a society in which everyone receives a set wage regardless of whether they actually go to work or not might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, yet just a few months ago Switzerland considered doing exactly that.
The European nation held a referendum proposing the idea of a 2,500 Swiss francs ($2578) universal monthly income however it was ultimately rejected by the voters.

If it had gone ahead though, exactly what would it be like living in a society where money is no longer a primary concern ? What would people do to occupy their time ?

"People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things," said Musk.

As things stand, it may not be that long before we get to experience such a world for ourselves.

Source: CNBC | Comments (25)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
As long as there are some governments willing and able to pay LESS for a human child to do that of a robot...
Comment icon #17 Posted by grimsituation6 8 years ago
Here is how it will work... We will never have a classless society, but instead of wages people will be taxed on their footprints. Meaning the ammount of waste an individual produces. People who do work will be allowed to produce more waste and therefore will
Comment icon #18 Posted by grimsituation6 8 years ago
Actually the total cost of a child laborer is more than a robot. You dont need to water or feed a robot, if it breaks an arm you just replace it.
Comment icon #19 Posted by grimsituation6 8 years ago
Its more likely that currency will lose value, than likely for there to be a manditory wage. Meaning people wont need money because things are being made for almost nothing. Dont need money you dont need a wage.
Comment icon #20 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
Currently, child labor is far cheaper in all respects than robots in certain industries.
Comment icon #21 Posted by White Unicorn 8 years ago
It's possible to make it work but would be a complex system and alot of fight to get it accepted. It could make the Republican trickle down  effect work! It's like the temporary boost of the economy in all local regions when Bush gave a $400 credit just for filing a tax return, even to low income seniors who hadn't filed for years.  Back in college economics, I remember being taught that for every job lost 7 other people lose there job because of that person's spending and loss of taxes being paid. Lower income jobs are the first to go. We faced this economic spiral down because of automatio... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by OverSword 8 years ago
All these extra mouths would be seen by the wealthy elite as unnecessary and in order to qualify for benefits you will have to agree to sterilization.  Eventually there are about 100,000,000  cyber augmented people world wide living like super powered gods and those still alive will wonder why they needed so many people in the past on the very rare occasion that they bother to think about it at all.
Comment icon #23 Posted by OverSword 8 years ago
Governments would soon be obsolete.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
Chicken and egg. No jobs, no customers, nothing for robots to build ... Which is why we need Eddie Van Halen ... which is why we need a triumphant video!
Comment icon #25 Posted by AdealJustice 8 years ago
a step towards totalitarianism? In todays world when you become worthless you become dispensable.  What we need to ensure are balancing populations, and human rights, smaller governments. This free money system wont work when you don't have the right to those funds provided by the government when you don't listen to their rules. Would critics of the establishment simply go out of existence?


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