Elon Musk, the tech visionary behind companies such as Tesla and Spacex, believes that, at some point in the future, there won’t be enough paid work for human beings. At that point, it will be necessary to give people a monthly stipend to live on. Proponents call this a “universal basic income.”
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Musk told CNBC. “I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
A 2013 study conducted by Oxford University professors estimates that 47 percent of all U.S. employment is at risk of automation.
Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, warned of artificial intelligence creating “digital refugees.” At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Benioff said there was “no clear path forward” on how to deal with the job displacement that will occur.
It’s not just liberals and tech pioneers who see a basic income, or UBI, as inevitable. Some conservative scholars and economists believe that a set amount of money per month, for every person, would be a better use of tax money than our current safety net.