Leading automation scientist backs Universal Basic Income


Man behind self-driven car technologies believes universal payments will be necessary to deal with growing unemployment

ELON MUSK, the scientist behind some of the most advanced automation technologies in the world has said that some form of universal minimum payment to every citizen will be the likely outcome of the increased robotisation of the world economy.

The inventor and tech entrepreneur whose ground-breaking engineering concerns include Tesla Motors, which is pioneering self-driven electric cars and SpaceX, a company which invests in advanced space exploration equipment, told US broadcaster CNBC news he did not know of any other solutions besides so called Universal Basic Income (UBI).

UBI, also called a ‘citizens income’, is a scheme to replace much of the existing welfare system with a single guaranteed payment by the state to citizens, partly in anticipation of a growing workless population with the increased automation of production.

George Kerevan MP: SNP could begin laying ground for citizen’s income

He said: “I think that there’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation.”

“I’m not sure what else one would do,” he added.

The comments come after business advisory firm Deloitte released a report predicting that Scotland would lose up to 90,000 jobs in the public sector alone as a result of automation over the next 14 years.

UBI of one version or another has become a hot topic among academics and social scientists as automation begins to threaten the traditional social and economic position of large numbers of citizens.

Background: The evolution of UBI

Some politicians, including UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell, are considering the possibility of a UBI type scheme. SNP MP George Kerevan, a member of the UK parliament’s Treasury select committee and former economics lecturer, also supports the concept.

Picture courtesy of Web Summit

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