What should governments do to help those that lose their jobs to automation?


As we forge forward toward a post-scarcity world, It is likely as a result of technological advances that many will be displaced from their jobs. Whereas in the past automation has created more jobs than it replaced, moving forward this will unlikely be the case.

Therefore we need to find a solution to the problem of how does one sustain an exponentially growing unemployed population?

One answer could be to create a universal payment scheme such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI) currently being piloted in cities around the world. A periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement, enough to afford the recipient to cover their basic cost of living.

Many governments are seriously considering this approach and it has opened the debate to what exactly one would do with one’s times should one find themselves in the position where they didn’t have to work at all?

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At this stage as there is a lack of employees everywhere and a huge demand that will grow for some time… governments should invest in retraining and education. We need nurses, plumbers, etc. and these jobs are not that difficult for humans, still very hard to automate and most people displaced by automation will manage to learn how to do it.

In longer term, when we have true AGI and most people are really out of jobs and unemployable, we might need UBI.

I think we should introduce some sort of robot / automation tax. Such a tax can be calculated based on the level of automation (eg a ratio between revenues and wage costs or something like it). UBI would be paid from automation tax returns.

This could mean we can introduce UBI right now. The UBI would be very low now (can be eg. 50EUR only) but would grow slowly every year as businesses get more and more automated. It needs to be calculated in a way that in 100% unemployment it is high enough to support 100% of population with nice enough UBI at that time.

The wealth created by AI and robots would be distributed fairly to those who helped create it.