The idea of a guaranteed income for all has been floating around for centuries, its popularity ebbing and flowing with the passing tide of current events. While it is still considered by many to be a radical concept, proponents of a universal basic income (UBI) no longer see it only as a solution to poverty but as the answer to some of the biggest threats faced by modern workers: wage inequality, job insecurity – and the looming possibility of AI-induced job losses.
Elon Musk, at the recent Bletchley Park summit, said he believed “no job is needed” due to the development of AI, and that a job can be for “personal satisfaction”. Economist and political theorist Karl Widerquist, professor of philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar, sees it differently.
“Even if AI takes your job away, you don’t necessarily just become unemployed for the rest of your life,” he says. “What happens is you go down in the labour market, you start crowding the lower-income professions.”
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