It’s month-end. You wake up to see your bank balance go up by $1000 for nothing.
Sounds amazing, isn’t it? Thanks to UBI.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) aims to solve poverty and unemployment. It provides minimum income to every citizen of the country to pull them out of poverty and provide them with a better standard of living.
From the looks of it, it seems like a dream come true. Get paid every month for nothing. Who wouldn’t want that?
This is the proposed solution for unemployment caused by automation by many governments around the world.
But there is a catch. lot of them actually.
Before We Dive In, Let Me Address Some Concerns You Might Have About AI.
- Automation will create more jobs. It is harmless.
Nope, the trajectory of technological innovation is far greater than job displacement. Look at this scenario- you learn a new skill in 6 months to keep up with the market requirements, you do that job for the next 6 months then it is gone again.
2. AI can’t replicate creativity.
Partially correct. Yes, it can’t understand what it means to be creative, but it can act better than Keanu Reeves and fool you into thinking it is creative. AI outperforms average lawyers, writers, radiologists, pilots, drivers, and experts in many other fields.
OpenAI’s new language generator GPT-3 is shockingly good-and completely mindless — MIT Technology Review
- AI still can’t do everything.
Yet. But are you willing to put your life on a stake that AI won’t be good enough to do everything? Keep in mind you have no idea what is going on in the research labs of tech-giants. We are used as Guinea pigs for their researches every day without even knowing it.
Tesla ‘very close’ to level 5 autonomous driving technology, Musk says- Reuters
I hope now we all can agree that AI is a genuine threat, and the question is not if it will replace jobs, but when will it replace jobs.
Sneak Peek at the Problem
So the problem is fairly simple: there are a bunch of robots more powerful, smart, capable, and definitely more useful than you for your company.
So what will happen? You will get fired.
Now, this happens to your neighbors, your friends, your children, your aunt living 10,000 km away from you. All of a sudden 800 million people around the world are unemployed. You might be thinking ‘Okay great, at least now I don’t have to tolerate my horrible boss and I am still getting $1000 a month. I can find another job or source of income. Where is the problem?’
The problem is with governments and laws. They are simply trying to escape from the actual issue of unemployment and administration costs.
Automation will displace a lot of jobs, and the pace of this change is off the charts. This means that the government will have to provide job opportunities, training, and will have to do all this more frequently. But they can escape all this through UBI.
Another issue is accessibility. Jobs in the future will definitely require technological know-how and computer skills. The digital divide has resulted in technology to be only available to the rich. UBI can improve accessibility, but those who are poor and unemployed would rather spend this money to meet their daily needs such as food and proper shelter.
From a psychological point of view, people need a differentiated and delineated purpose. Money can’t make up for it. When you have nothing to work on, how would you find your purpose? During the lockdown itself, when people had no work, many people committed suicide, lost their sense of purpose, and became mentally unhealthy.
Knowing that people now have more money to spend, there will be inflation causing the price of all the goods to rise, and then the value of those $1000 will decrease. Also, $1000/month was proposed by only the US and it hasn’t even been implemented yet. Underdeveloped nations cannot provide such amounts.
To fund UBI, some governments will cut down on public welfare, and others will completely obliterate it. No more administration costs and hassle for them.
In many countries around the world, people don’t have access to banks, knowledge of government schemes, rules, and regulations. What is the guarantee that these people will get the UBI amount and there won’t be any corruption?
Universal Basic Income is just a camouflage, it is like an invisible cloak for the government to hide themselves from actual problems.
It’s basically like this — ‘We give you $1000 a month, do whatever you want to do with it, we don’t care, but don’t bother us anymore.’
Automation will not stop, and it is not a destructive thing, it can make our lives much easier and better. But we need to prepare for it ourselves and don’t expect any government or god to save us. UBI is an easier way out, but it is not the only solution. There is something called as negative income tax that can be used, variations of UBI and execution strategies can differ according to the situation and it can be beneficial.
What are your views on this and do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments.
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