Home COVID-19 says that Automation + UBI is the Future

COVID-19 says that Automation + UBI is the Future

With COVID-19, one of the biggest affect on our lives is that our entire global economy is all interconnected and powered by labor. When labor stops, either because we need to have social distancing or factories get shutdown due to everyone under quarantine, everything comes to a halt.

What is the solution to this issue? Obviously, it’s automation. COVID-19 is a demonstration of a pandemic, one that we have seen from mobile games like Plague and movies like Contagion (2011). The key to solving the pandemic is isolation. Keep people away from other people so they can transmit. And automation solves everything. We need automated factories. We need automated transportation and logistics. We need automated laborers in the form of Boston Dynamic’s Atlas. Actually, we wouldn’t even need most of these robots to have AI. We only need high quality internet and connectivity, like 5G, to be able to control these robots. The only jobs that we need humans to do will be possible within the comfort of their homes. That is, assuming that they have one.

Which comes to the second part of the equation. What if you don’t have a comfortable home? Where do you isolate yourself? And what if automation is everywhere, what happens to all the labor jobs and white collar repetitive jobs?

That’s why I love the concept of UBI (Universal Basic Income, google it if you don’t what this is yet). Something like a monthly income that will guarantee that you can get a roof over your head and food in your belly somewhere within the country. That means this money is not for you to live in New York City. This guarantees people the time to figure things out and stand back up, either through educating themselves and investing in something that will allow them to do some kind of work to make extra money. It allows people, regardless of their situation, to ride out pandemics.

And to get the money, tax the automation in the form of a wealth tax. Not. Robots are not persons (yet) and so a wealth tax would do nothing since all the money will exist in corporations. A VAT (value added tax) that collects from every transaction made in the country is the obvious way to go. Both UBI and VAT are 3 letter acronyms that really are just such an amazing decomplexification (simplification) of a terribly hard problem. Create one rule that creates a floor for all human beings and create one rule that taxes everything by the amount that is spent.

If you think I sound like Andrew Yang, that’s because I’m a big fan and I generally agree with most of what he has said as it aligns so strongly with my personal futurist thinking. I think this is the most humanistic way to approach it. The other way to look at it is natural selection, where people who are poor, old, weak, stupid, unlucky, etc. should just not be able to pass along their genes. I am okay with both of these solutions, but if I had a choice, I would most definitely choose the more humanist approach.

What do you think? What does the future look like to you?

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.