Elon Musk says people should receive a universal income once robots take their jobs

'People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,' Tesla and SpaceX founder says

Samuel Osborne
Monday 07 November 2016 12:26 GMT
Elon Musk believes Universal Basic Income will follow more automation

Elon Musk has said a universal income will eventually need to be adopted as human workers are replaced by robots.

"I think there's a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," the founder of Tesla and SpaceX said in an interview with CNBC. "I'm not sure what else one would do.

"People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things," he added.

"Certainly more leisure time. And then we've got to figure out how we integrate with a world and future with advanced AI."

"Ultimately," he said," it would need to be some kind of improved symbiosis with digital super-intelligence."

Mr Musk has donated huge amounts of money to research the dangers of artificial intelligence and AI research group has opened a "gym" for robots to ensure they can be properly tested.

Two thirds of the British public support the introduction of a universal basic income, a poll found in May.

Such an income would replace other social security payments nad be high enough "to cover all basic needs," the opinion study explained.

However, the Government rejected plans to bring in the universal basic income in September, arguing the policy would be too expensive and not effective.

“Even the most modest of universal basic income systems would necessitate higher taxes," Damian Hinds, Employment Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, said during the debate.

"At the same time it would cause a significant decrease in the motivation to work amongst citizens with unforeseen consequences for the national economy."

Swiss voters 'reject basic income grant for all'

In 2017, Finland will experiment in giving 2,000 randomly selected welfare recipients a basic income.

In Britain, the RSA think-tank has proposed an ambitious basic income system to replace the welfare system. The Fabian Society has meanwhile proposed a basic income-like payment to complement existing benefits.

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