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Elon Musk Predicts Future Where ” None Of Us Will Have A Job” – Promotes Universal High Income

Last Updated May 24, 2024 11:04 AM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated May 24, 2024 11:04 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Elon Musk predicts that advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually automate most jobs.
  • Musk proposes a universal high income as a solution to address this challenge.
  • However, despite Musk’s remarks, research suggests a slower pace of AI adoption in workplaces than initially anticipated.

In a thought-provoking address at VivaTech 2024 , Elon Musk painted a startling picture of the future dominated by artificial intelligence (AI). Tesla’s owner predicted a world where AI will be so advanced that “probably none of us will have a job.”

Despite his confidence in AI’s role in our future, Musk described the technology as his biggest fear and has been vocal about his concerns.

Musk Believes Nobody Will Have a Job

Speaking via webcam at a tech conference in Paris, tech billionaire Elon Musk expressed  concerns about AI’s future impact, suggesting that “probably none of us will have a job” as AI develops and grows.

“If you want to do a job that’s kind of like a hobby, you can do a job,” Musk said. “But otherwise, AI and robots will provide any goods and services that you want.” He explained that for this scenario to be viable, there must be “universal high income.”

At the conference, the SpaceX CEO also discussed his plans to put people on Mars “probably within 10 years, maybe seven to eight.” He said that while his “biggest hope is Mars, my biggest fear is AI.”

Musk referenced the “Culture ” book series by Iain M. Banks, which depicts a utopian society run by advanced technology. He described it as the most realistic and “best envisioning of a future AI.”

He questioned whether humans would find fulfillment in a life without jobs and careers. “If computers and robots can do everything better than you, does your life have meaning?” Musk said. “I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this – in that we may give AI meaning.”

What Is Universal High Income

Musk said that for this scenario to succeed, there would need to be a “universal high income,” which he distinguished from universal basic income. However, he did not elaborate much on this concept.

Universal basic income (UBI) refers to the government giving a fixed amount of money to everyone, regardless of their earnings. In contrast, Universal high income (UHI) envisions a society where AI significantly reduces the cost of human labor, making basic needs affordable for everyone.

The concept of UHI assumes that the savings from automation are passed on to consumers and that the economy remains balanced despite massive job disruption. This requires astute economic and social policies to distribute AI’s benefits equitably. It also assumes that the value created by AI will exceed the displacement of jobs in both volume and speed, allowing for the recalibration of income distribution mechanisms.

Creating a system of universal high income would demand unprecedented global coordination and a reimagining of economic frameworks, according  to experts. Potential policy measures could include imposing taxes on AI productivity to fund UHI and ensuring that the wealth made by machines is shared broadly.

This may also involve redefining ownership models so that the public holds stakes in automated enterprises, perhaps through sovereign wealth funds or public shares in AI-driven companies. Encouraging human-centric innovation by subsidizing industries that thrive on uniquely human abilities would create new value channels and support the swift to a UHI system.

AI Role In Musk’s Vision

Musk predicts that AI will eventually cancel all jobs. However, he also believes that this development might not be entirely negative. He sees a future where having a job would be “optional,” so that people could pursue work out of interest rather than necessity.

Tesla’s founder also mentioned that AI will provide unprecedented educational opportunities, saying, “I think everyone will have access to this magic genie, and you can ask any question. It’ll certainly be bigger for education. It’ll be the best tutor.” Musk predicted that this future would bring an age of abundance of goods and services.

Earlier, OpenAI‘s CEO Sam Altman and Mark Zuckerberg shared  similar views. They see a “future of abundance” where there would be no scarcity of goods and services, making AI an economic equalizer accessible to everyone.

Nonetheless, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab found  that workplaces are adopting AI more slowly than some had expected and feared. The report also noted that many jobs previously identified as vulnerable to AI were not economically beneficial for employers to automate at that time.

AI may take our jobs in the future. But this future is likely  further away than we think.

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