Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Robots= Universal Basic Income?

I haven't written about robotics and artificial intelligence in a while, but I couldn't pass up this article from CBS News about what's going on in Europe. It seems robots are increasingly replacing human workers, especially those in the most menial jobs. What to do when it's more cost effective to hire a robot than pay some bum to sweep a floor? Many in Europe seem to think they should pay the bums to do nothing.

I keep reading bits and pieces about universal basic income with some libertarians seeming to be in favor of it although I never was able to read the arguments in favor. As for me, I wrote here some time ago I wasn't sure there was any alternative of what to do with the unemployed when automation takes over most jobs, short of a final solution type deal where everyone is disposed of with the exception of the handful left with jobs.

I'm not sure I like the idea of it being universal, either, meaning everyone gets paid the same regardless of ability. I don't know I'd have the guts if I was in charge of it but I'd prefer to see people of worth- those who were capable of holding a job- getting paid more than those who aren't capable. Again, not sure if I'd have the guts and I'm pretty sure making those decisions will be part in my future. More likely, I'd be one of those targeted for disposal.

Oh, shame on me. I used the self- checkout at Winco last Sunday.


At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the arguments in favor of a basic universal income is that it would eliminate most other forms of money transfers such as SNAP (food stamps), unemployment insurance, WIC, and others.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is an argument I have heard against "jobs coming back to America". That the jobs never left; they were just replaced by automation. From the mentioned self-check-out (to the "don't check out" idea of the "store of the future", which scans you and your items via radio tags and charges accounts accordingly), to the upcoming self driving cabs, trucks, and busses, to artificial intelligences replacing phone operators and secretaries, to just more automated versions of our current machines, to more and more fully robotic factories there are going to be less positions.
I read once that one of the main problems with communism was that it was used a century or two too early; that robots and computers were the honesty-keeping tools needed to make it a success. I guess in time it looks like we will see.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred , just read this.

Robot rights: EU votes to grant "electronic personhood" to Cyberdyne T-800s

The article says it's about liability and such. I think it is about granting government the right to tax robots as individuals.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" One of the arguments in favor of a basic universal income is that it would eliminate most other forms of money transfers such as SNAP (food stamps), unemployment insurance, WIC, and others."

True that. It would be simpler. I can't help but wonder, though, how many might aspire to just qualifying for basic income instead of doing something useful?

And how would you differentiate someone that had a job, but got fired thru incompetence, vs. someone who applied for a job knowing it would likely become automated soon so he'd qualify for basic income?

I don't buy that European idea that having basic income would get receivers inspired to start a business or be otherwise productive. I know many people on disability, my wife included, who feel disability is an entitlement and that's all they should do. Even joke with her about getting a job and she just glares at me.

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a basic income for all, in my imagination. However, in real life, it just won't work without having to cull the old, sick, disabled, uncoordinated, dimwitted, and probably ugly's. All extra funds will have to go towards maintaining robots, innovating new robots, software for new improved super duper fast & sexy robots, .. the govt won't tolerate having to cut back on their toys & sex slaves.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Sally Sheffield said...

My idea is work for money, and provide for those with mental and physical disabilities. To support jobs, I never use self-check.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Robertson mentioned in his last podcast that when, not if, but when a computer-robot virus attacks, the people who live won't know how to take care care of themselves. Our future generation will rely on robotics to feed, clothe, shelter them, much like we today depend on smartphones and google for all our memorization details. Why memorize something when google can find it for you? Why remember your kid's phone number when your smart phone does that for you?
The outcome won't be pretty.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

" To support jobs, I never use self-check."

I generally don't, either, if only because I always need a cashier to help me with self- check anyway. But the other day the lines were fairly long and all I had was two packages of tortellinis. I would have felt the fool for waiting in line all that time for just 2 packages of pasta.

Oh, I still had to have the checker help me out when I came to an impassed with the self check machine.


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