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AI and UBI: A Critique of The Guardian article


The Guardian article promises but fails to highlight concrete drawbacks of implementing Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a solution for job loss to AI.

The vague skepticism presented in the article is possibly driven by a fear of lost meaning in a work-free world.

However, meaning can be found elsewhere – in hobbies, for example.

The Breakdown:

Click to read the arguments presented in the article, followed by their weaknesses.
  • “Even if AI takes your job away, you don’t necessarily just become unemployed for the rest of your life. What happens is you go down in the labour market, you start crowding the lower-income professions”.
  • The policy should be “incentivizing people to find more stable work”.
    • The weakness of the argument is pointed out by another quote in the article: “Why try to push everyone into paid work, if you can objectively see that there are not enough jobs around?”.
  • UBI will “likely require large increases in taxation” and therefore is “difficult to sell”.
    • On the other hand, the article refers to research that shows a modest UBI scheme “would not result in a net increase to taxation”. This is supported by further research.
    • In a future AI-based economy, such challenges could become irrelevant. Moreover, if UBI becomes a necessity, there will be no need to sell it.

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