Musk believes that universal high income is the solution for a future with AI taking over jobs. (Image Credit: Rishi Sunak/YouTube)
During the AI Safety Summit in the UK last week, Elon Musk mentioned that AI could eventually eliminate humanity’s need to have a job. And he suggested that universal high income would help people with their financial needs.
“It’s hard to say exactly what that moment is, but there will come a point where no job is needed,” Musk mentioned to Rishi Sunak. “You can have a job if you want to have a job or sort of personal satisfaction, but the AI will be able to do everything.” While many people might get worried about this, Musk said it may make others feel comfortable. He even changed his outlook on it, turning it into something positive by referring to it as a protopian future.
“I think everyone will have access to this magic genie, and you’re able to ask any question. It’ll be certainly bigger for education. It’ll be the best tutor,” he said. “And there will be no shortage of goods and services. It will be an age of abundance.”
Additionally, Musk mentioned the possibility of a universal high income due to the AI surge. This would be a better option to have compared to the universal basic income that Mark Zuckerberg and Sam Alton support. He didn’t explain what universal high income would look like versus basic income but indicated that it would work as an equalizer.
His universal high-income idea may mean that he’s stepping away from how he feels about universal basic income. According to Musk’s 2018 X post, he stated universal income “will be necessary over time if AI takes over most human jobs.” During an AI-focused presentation in 2021, he announced Tesla is developing a robot that could take over human work.
It’s also possible that Musk is conforming with those criticizing universal income. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen believes UBI could “turn people into zoo animals to be farmed by the state,” writing that “man was not meant to be farmed; man was meant to be useful, to be productive, to be proud.” Even then, more people have become more accepting of UBI. According to a Joblist survey conducted with 18,617 jobseekers last year, 19% stated that universal income would help relieve work-related stress.
A Denver-based UBI experiment proved advantageous for the homeless. Many individuals receiving $1,000/month for a year had stopped sleeping on the streets within the first six months. Those who resided in their apartments or homes saw an improvement in mental health and full-time employment. It’ll be hard to gauge what a universal high income would entail because Musk didn’t elaborate. One thing is clear these days --- nobody wants to wait around for robots to take over jobs so they can receive this income. That’s because we’re already getting hit hard by increased living costs and financial security.
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