Elon Musk Supports A Universal Basic Income To Protect People Whose Jobs Are Taken By Robots

Artificial intelligence threatens to upend a number of industries.

If artificial intelligence (AI) automates millions of jobs, how do we protect the redundant workforce that is left behind?

It’s a question some prominent figures in both politics and tech are eager to address as Silicon Valley pushes the boundaries of machine learning.

President Obama weighed in on the discussion earlier this summer, and now Elon Musk has revealed his position.

Bobby Yip / Reuters

The Tesla, Solar City and SpaceX founder told CNBC:

“There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income or something like that due to automation. I’m not sure what else one would do.”

Universal basic income involves governments paying out a sum of money to everyone, without any conditions.

The idea has gained varying levels of political traction in Switzerland, the UK Labour party and even Silicon Valley.

Many in the tech community echo Musk’s sentiments about needing to prepare for AI’s impact on employment.

But Musk is hopeful that advanced digital intelligence will utimately improve people’s lifestyles:

“People [will] have time do other things, more complex things, more interesting things; certainly more leisure time.”

He added that the most challenging task will be figuring out how we integrate with advanced AI.

Last year, Musk co-founded OpenAI with that aim in mind.

The non-profit artificial intelligence research organisation sets out to advance intelligence in the way that is most likely to “benefit humanity as a whole”.

According to some studies, creeping artificial intelligence is set to make as many as half of American jobs redundant.

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