Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated via Twitter recently that universal basic income will become “necessary” if many jobs performed by human workers become automated.
One Twitter users recently asked billionaire tech CEO Elon Musk if he supported universal basic income, a program under which the average citizen would receive monthly government-funded cash handouts. Musk replied that such a program may be “necessary over time” if A.I. continues to advance and begins to perform many jobs previously performed by human workers.
Universal income will be necessary over time if AI takes over most human jobs
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 15, 2018
Musk previously expressed this opinion in an interview with CNBC in 2016 where he said: “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” Musk told CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”
Musk isn’t the only tech entrepreneur who has expressed his support for universal basic income, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also discussed the possible need for the program during a commencement speech at Harvard University in May 2017. “Let’s face it: There is something wrong with our system when I can leave [Harvard] and make billions of dollars in ten years, while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business,” Zuckerberg said. “Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson also supported the idea in a post from August 2017: “With the acceleration of [artificial intelligence] and other new technology … the world is changing fast. A lot of exciting new innovations are going to be created, which will generate a lot of opportunities and a lot of wealth, but there is a real danger it could also reduce the amount of jobs. This will make experimenting with ideas like basic income even more important in the years to come.”
Elon Musk also seems to believe that universal basic income could create further equality in the marketplace by encouraging more competition:
Read Das Kapital when I was 14, incl cross-checking English translation of original German. Adam Smith FTW obv. Ironically, future automation will naturally lead to greater equality of consumption. Monopolies are true enemy of people. Competing to serve is good.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 16, 2018