Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What happens when work is a thing of the past?

Elon Musk and other economists believe that automation will soon take so many jobs that governments will be forced to face the universal basic income (UBI).

While these experts believe a UBI is inevitable due to robots and artificial intelligence, it seems that we might consider what a society would look like without "gainful employment."

The CEO of Tesla's optimistic belief is that “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things,” says Musk. “Certainly more leisure time.” But I have to wonder, is that what people want - endless leisure time to do interesting things?

If we drill down into this premise, what does a universal basic income actually mean? Does it mean people will choose whether they want to be educated or not? If we don't have to go to work, will schools close and then turn into bastions of the arts to enrich our inner and outer lives? That sounds great if people choose to do that, but then who needs schools even for the Arts when you have MOOCs (massive open online courses)? You can take painting, reading, animation, sculpting - or learn how to use a machine that does all this for you.

Will anybody take statistics, physics, or higher mathematics? No one would have to because there's an AI app for that. Of course, there are those intrepid math geeks who would find it interesting and want to practice the ancient technology of slide rules just for kicks.

What about philosophy? It seems like philosophy teaches us how to interact with each other and/or the mystical, invisible powers of the universe or the lack of said powers. What about machine philosophy? I mean the machines are going to be doing everything from creating devices to repairing and inventing technology. It seems only natural to assume that fully functional AI will probably have their own philosophy. Hopefully, they don't conclude by thinking, "What do we need these meat bags for?"

And if you can just sit around all day eating potato chips, watching television, or immersed in some virtual reality, it seems we will soon be living Idiocracy, stuck to a barcalounger wrapped in corporate logos. Will people be happy with this life?

What happens when people get bored or start to feel resentful because they want more, what will they do? A universal basic income does not mean we will be equal. Will human society riot and/or sabotage? Will we become the Elois fodder for the Morlocks (go look it up, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells). Seriously, what's the point when you don't have to work, or do anything for yourself, for that matter.

What do you think? Will a universal basic income create a utopia where we all get along and create art or do good for humanity and the environment? Or will it create a resentful (and stupid) lower class with too much time on their hands? Or something in between?

40 comments:

  1. I think that with machines taking over certain jobs, it would be harder for workers with that same of knowledge to go brain-dead. Instead they could help with repairing those machines. The universal basic income would not financially support all countries. Prices would have to lowered or increased based on one's income. I feel like with machines taking over people jobs, it could potentially be dangerous for the community because we do not have to exercise our brains as much. But on the other hand, it would be better because you would have more leisure time to do they things you would enjoy without worry on stressful situations.

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  2. A world where machines do everything for us, as cool as it seems, does not sound like the best option for this world. We are struggling in this world with certain epidemic problems as it is. Adding machines to do our work will only increase those epidemics. There are also some people that cannot go throughout the day without without working. My grandpa is at the age where he can retire, but does not enjoy being at home doing nothing. I feel that the most inventive we can get in a world where a machine does everything for you is us finding a way to do even less. It would not be progress for this world, rather, it would be a huge set back for us. I do not agree with this idea, nor does it make sense to me.

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  3. Sure maybe if we do have a universal basic income, it could create a utopia. But not for long, Too much of anything is bad. If we had too much time on our hands to do nothing but lay around watch Television and get sucked into our own little world then it can hardly be said that we are human anymore. We will turn dumber and dumber if there is a universal basic income where robots do all our work.

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  4. With universal basic income and machine/technology taking over the jobs of people, I think it would result in many negative outcomes. People will become unmotivated and stop challenging themselves because they wouldn't need to anymore. They will become stuck and not reach out for more. Indeed people would probably stop going to school to get a further education because there would be no benefit from it, why learn more if you don't need too. People would become lazy and not be pushed to reach their full potential. Yes, it would provide for more free time and potentially less stress or pressure, but if you think of it, will it actually be worth it. Before you know it people would even become tired of that and not know what to do with their lives with so much time on their hands.

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  5. I think that a world where machines take over certain job. In order to allow people to have more leisure time seems idea. However this can be a major set back to our society advance it take humans think and use their brains in order to create a program these machine. In addition everyone definition of leisure activities varies some people define leisure as work thus the term work alcoholic. Therefore to be replace by machines can hurt people self esteem because it states that you think that machine better equip. For example this notions in brought up a lot in education replacing teaching with machines but humans strive face to face interaction.

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  6. If universal income becomes a reality and we all suddenly have a ton of leisure time on our hands, I think the utopia of practicing art and humanity will last up to a couple days. After that, everyone will run out of things they want to do and feel the need to get up and actually work on something more productive. A need to work would most likely fuel some resentment towards the robots who've taken all the jobs. I feel like with all that free time, chaos is soon to follow. When people have nothing to do, just like children, they start to cause trouble for entertainment. People who are used to always having something to do might even fall into a depression and feel as if they are useless compared to the high tech robot who took his/her job. Overall, I do think it'll result in some sort of utopia for a couple days. However, it'll only lead to chaos, resentment, and possibly depression.

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  7. The idea that machines will take over all jobs and leave people time to relax and not do anything reminds me of the Disney movie Walle. People literally don't do anything for themselves because there's a machine for it, the only thing they do is lift a finger to push a button or feed themselves. Now I'm sure if machines really were to take over jobs it wouldn't be exactly like the movie Walle but it would be along the same lines. People would become lazy and others so bored that they have nothing better to do than to bang their head against a wall. I personally wouldn't like a machine to do everything for me, I would feel completely useless and it would probably drive me mad. sort of like summer. Normally when summer comes around its time to relax and not do anything but I can only do that for so long before I want school to start so I have something to do. Being in a relaxing state all the time isn't what people are going to want, we need work.

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  8. The human life Is a cycle. We were born and educated for 12 years of our lives and after that, it’s up to us if we want to continue going to school as well start working. It has always been optional but in a world where machines do all the work, we don’t have that option anymore. I do believe that we will have a lot of “leisure” time to do anything we want but that doesn’t mean we’ll be happier. You can compare it to summer. During school, we dread for the summer to come. But when it does come, we dread for school again. No matter how much things you try and do, you’ll eventually get bored. The obesity rate will most likely go up. Actually, that’s debatable because no work leaves more time for the people to go work out. But that can also inspire people to stay home and be couch potatoes. And then there’s the whole thing about education. If there’s no work, there’s no point in achieving a higher education. We would just be going to school to learn basic knowledge and that’s it.

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  9. In my opinion, working and studying are two aspects of human life that we need. Meaning without it we will have free time but eventually we all will get sick of it. It is part of human nature to want to do something or to work up to something. Not doing anything might be really nice to have but that will just have more cons than pros. If we start relying on AI's to do all the work for us we'll get lazy and not go to school. Our IQ's start dropping, we gain more weight, and we start relying on artificial intelligence so much that we would not know a life without them. Studying to work and working to study should be performed by humans not AI's.

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  10. Not having to work and lounging around all day does seem nice when you think about it. But if machines do take over our jobs and we are left with a basic income and are free to just do whatever, what will the next generation be learning. No one is going to want to go to school and learn. We technically already have the ability to just work at home or learn information on the web. There will be no more excitement of landing your first job or big promotion. Although it is our option to whether or not we want to go to school, all humans share a natural curiosity of things. I think if we all took a break and didn't have to work a lot of people would be stuck. There wouldn't be any drive to pursue a dream. We should educate ourselves, work, achieve, and make our dreams come true ourselves; not just having it handed to you.

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  11. Elon Musk claims that people will have more time on their hands to do incredible things, but Musk needs to remember that not everyone is like him, not everyone is striving to change the world.I believe that if humans were to have more time in their hands without the need of going out to work, then the world would be in absolute chaos. First of all, people would sit around doing nothing, which could then lead to health problems such as depression. Second of all, people would be so unhappy with their lives that they would simply be angry ALL the time. Of course as it was mentioned, some people enjoy learning and don't see learning as something that has to be done in order to be successful.Those people would be perfectly fine.Not everyone feels the same about learning though.

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  12. If a universal basic income is brought upon us humans will be lazy. Some people do not enjoy working to begin with, and if AI takes over and no one needs to go to school nor work...What will happen?We humans will have way to much time on our hands,we would not need to go to school to secure a career. Relying on artificial intelligence is what humans will do , humans are lazy and enjoy having as much leisure time as possible, in my opinion. It would not benefit humans at all,what will we do with our lives? Humans need to work , get an education and need to not rely on universal basic income.Without school or work , humans will have really low IQ's , excessive laziness, and too much free time because they do not have to do ANYTHING! We humans have to learn every single day, if not we'll end up being a dumb species not capable of doing anything , besides being lazy. I definitely do not want that for us humans.

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  13. The idea of machines taking over jobs will have more negative impacts than good. Although the idea is to allow people to have more time for themselves which I believe is great idea up to a certain point. As humans we need to be constantly doing something. Even today machines are taking over factory jobs which is creating havoc for the lower middle class whose lives depend on these wages. This creates unrest which leads to a higher number of people in the lower class.

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  14. If we were to become lazy and just lay around eating potato chips all the time, without doing any work, that would be the best time of my life. But if that were to go on forever we would me nothing more than the couches we sit on, doing almost nothing. Endless leisure time is not what people want but the ability to rest from stress for a disclosed amount of time. Having no education and letting machines do all the work is a very bad thing because we are always going to be dependent on them and eventually there will be no one to fix those robots when they break down. Universal basic income will tear our society apart and because there is no point in doing something that is harder and takes a longer time to achieve if it's equivalent to someone simply picking up trash. Even if it doesn't matter education is good for humanity.

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  15. I believe that we need to have school and work in order for us to function and gain knowledge each and everyday. Having a universal basic income would not be a great idea because citizens would not understand the value of hard work anymore if something is given to them. I think individuals will become more selfish due to the easy money everyone will be receiving. Yet, I also think it would be a great idea because more time would be spent with friends, family, and the individual themselves.

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  16. As technology improves less and less jobs are available. It might seem ideal to want to create art, music and write but realistically that wouldn't happen. If it were possible, and a basic minimum income were given to the people, then how would this be determined? Who would be the own to determine this?i think we would just have the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. Rich people would do everything they could to collect all the income while those who wanted to live as artist would struggle to afford anything. We need jobs. Machines won't give us that utopia.

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  17. It always scares me to think about the eventual overhaul of the workforce by automation. As a society we don’t think much about how automation has slowly been making its way into the workplace. When I think of the takeover by automation I always think of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. The utopian society is nonexistent because not everyone will be content. Most individuals of today’s society will probably enjoy the leisure time but after a short while what is there left to do? A universal basic income would not be realistic because well at least the way our economy is running. A new type of economy would have to be created and it to me that economy would be feeding itself.

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  18. Automation is taking over many of our life aspects not just our jobs. It affects us socially, economically, and personal. We have begun to rely on technology so much that many of us do not take into account the consequences that may occur. We have been stuck behind a glass that has gadgets that make our lives "easier'. For example, cell phones have been taking away our sense of our surroundings. I have been reading a book where it discusses how humans do not know what to do with their leisure time and how technology may give us the opportunity to work on that. The UBI income will not only keep people from expanding out but keeping them stuck in a position that may be hard to get out of. Technology has changed the way we learn and has affected our brain and memory in many ways. It has decreased the stability of focusing for a long period of time and made our memory worse. More people should be worried about the impact that technology and automation can bring and start making plans of the outcomes that we may need in case we are stuck.

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  19. I for one do not agree with this article. It seems the further along the line we get, the more machines seem to take over human responsibilities. Sure some automated things help out a lot, but to an extent. It's getting to the point where people are beginning to lose jobs because of machines. People learn a lot of essential skills from hard work. With automation taking over many people will not only lose jobs, but physical skills and attributes as well. However, physical work isn't the only thing that is beginning to suffer. The article mentions that we will no longer have to take statistics, physics, or high level mathematics anymore because there will be an app for all those things. This may be even more alarming; people need to learn all those subjects not just for a higher education and classes, but for everyday life in many cases as well. With technology and machines taking over, humanity may be suffering more than benefiting from these advancements.

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  20. As new findings and technology arises through the development of scientific work. the possibilities of what may or may not occur sets me up in between. With universal basic income and the range of difference opinions of the world I cannot imagine a world where it ends up being close to the idea of perfect or horrible. Mostly due to the ideas of good and evil constantly going against each other since the beginning of time. However, I cannot imagine a world where everyone stays docile and continues to live in a world where they solely consume food and based their lives around entertainment. I would imagine most people would begin to feel useless and desire to make something out of their live but you never really know. On a positive note I would say that I can imagine the world will be a lot more peaceful with the progress that has already occurred.

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  21. I disagree with this article on many levels. the idea of technology taking over because everyone can easily afford it is crazy. Technology in the future will become a necessity for some problem solving or communicating, but personal knowledge is something that will be needed. Doctors are one thing that computer and robots are unable to replace. The brains critical thinking is what helps figure out diseases and technology only helps with the visualization of the problems. The human brain will never be outdated because of how complex it is.

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  22. When automation reaches the point when it encompasses many jobs there will be many people left behind, hence the need for a minimum standard of living including healthcare, education, housing, etc.... If there is not a true basic standard of living, the world will become a dystopic, especially for the many people that will be left behind. If there is a basic standard as described, the world will become a utopia.o there is the issue of money, when this automation occurs, I think that societies will have to rethink the use of money if many jobs are automated. This is all of course assuming that the world does not go back to the stone age before this automation occurs.

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  23. I am against the automation of jobs. Yeah it was cool when I was a little kid watching Spy Kids or Jimmy Neutron, but now I am a working adult doing a job that a machine will most likely take over one day. No amount of artificial intelligence can compare to the genuine human interaction when dealing with customers. Yes it is more efficient in every way but then we become those lazy humans that do nothing like in Pixar's Wall-E movie. We need to always practice the responsibility and work ethics that we gain from working.

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  24. I have always found it scary to think that robots will take over a lot of people's jobs. I understand that for some things machines will do it more efficiently and faster, but what if a machine messes up a product? Will it Know? I think the only things machines should be doing is the producing not customer service or have robots as nurses. I feel like we would need human interaction and this will just distance us more from each other. How will people get there income if they are all at home sitting down on the couch? The only way this will work is if people were rich. I know if I had money and this happened I wouldn't be sitting around at home, I'd be traveling the world and experiencing other cultures. It really scares me to think what will happen to human if there's no more jobs left. Will be become extinct?

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  25. I found this article really interesting because my older sister works at Tesla, and the idea of people not having to be educated to work has crossed my mind before. Elon Musk is a really interesting person to me because unlike many people, he has followed many different career paths, not just one. Teslas are such cool cars to me and I would buy one when I get older. Although I do agree that people have become more reliant on technology to do the work for them, I don't believe that we will get to the point of being uneducated and having too much time on our hands. I think education and work are very valuable because there are a lot of things that humans can do that technology can't. A lot of successful people like Elon Musk are educated, innovative, and driven to create something new and helpful. Without this, Elon Musk wouldn't be as successful as he is. Although it may seem that more and more people are becoming dependent on technology to do their work, I think that people are smart enough to know that while technology is helpful, it doesn't compare to educating, expanding, and working the minds that created it.

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  26. Although, a universal basic income would be nice where everybody gets payed the same; it just wont workout, due to fact of people always wanting more. I also believe that one day machines will take over all the work, but not every job will be taken over by machines, there going to need people to program the robots, due maintenance on the robots, etc... I also agree with Leann where she states that we will end up like the Pixar movie Wall-E where everyone is relying on the robots to do all the work while they relax and get all fat where there not even able to move. We already have machines driving, and cleaning floors for us, so eventually we will have machines doing our work for us too.

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  27. A Universal Basic Income may appear to be very appealing at first, especially for those people who do not work as hard as others. Although this may seem to be an opportunity for equality for all, it is not just. One would say, "I have done more work, I deserve a higher reward", while another might complain, "I deserve the same reward regardless of what I have done." Hence, this might eventually lead to a deeper inequality for it is unjust. For instance, the efficiency and modernization of the United States is due to the economic market system, which rewards those who produce the more superior work. This system of competition is what makes leaders and creates efficient products. On the other hand, should the future be reliant on Artificial Intelligence, there might also be a bright hope. Given that the human race's inquisitive tendencies do not escape as they depend on AI, the world might be more colorful and fruitful. There would be more time to create masterful pieces of art, to solve more important issues than money, like global warming or even to explore the unknown universe. Therefore, though a Universal Basic Income may seem intimidating at first, it may allow the inquisitive individuals to be more fruitful and make the world a better place to live in.

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  28. I think the UBI is something that shouldn't be given to everyone one on the globe, but more so people who live a circumstance where they can't afford the basic essentials to survive, mainly food/water/shelter. If someone can afford those things, or has someone who is providing for them, I don't think there should be any handouts given out. When it comes to whether people will just become lazy or continue to discover just depends on the individual. There a most certainly those that love various types of sciences/mathematics/arts/etc and will continue to create them as life goes on. But, in my opinion, a majority of society would decide to simply put be lazy.

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  29. This is a subject I've had people roll their eyes at me about for years. Everyone seems to be worried about immigrants taking American jobs, but the real threat has always been automation. Plus, when we have a society that refuses to speak publicly about population control, even though we are desperate to stop global warming, a future in which there are not enough jobs to go around is inevitable. Thank you to Elon Musk for shining a light on this issue because we rarely have public debate on the actual shape of the future we must create in order to save our society from a global catastrophe. Instead of trying to find some reason for the potential billions of unemployed masses to live their lives without the focus and sense of accomplishment that a job provides, consider an alternative. What if we somehow got our population down to about 10% of what it is today, but our civilization survived with our current level of technology? Machines could run most things, supervised by humans whose entire society is focused on making them the best people, healthy, intelligent, capable, curious, compassionate, etc., that they can be. Fewer people means more resources per person and also less pollution and waste. Seems like a much better option to me. Either way, big decisions are coming...

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  30. When it comes to education, its not truly an optional path. All parents and trusted adults will want their children and legal wards to get an education and hopefully move to higher education or find some form of employment. Education is not truly optional, but to live in a world dominated by technology and robots, education can very much become a choice. Because automation can only replace simple jobs that don't require any cognitive thinking, there will still be many jobs like researchers and doctors that will still have their jobs. This being said, only the higher order of jobs that require more training and more critical thinking will remain. Then what will become of the rest of the people who choose not to study? Passing time and leisure activities can only last so long. I know that I for one get bored over a summer of nothing much to do let alone a lifetime. People will get bored, and frustrated, and although this is true, many will not go back to school to do much about it because you would have to start from the beginning and its only human nature to feel embarrassed and out of place about it. Finally, nurturing a generation that doesn't have to educate themselves for the betterment of their own lives and society, creates a ripple effect throughout the following generations as well. We will lead our world to such an extensive divide between the educated and the non. This will lead to an even bigger divide in social and economic status because of the large difference in earnings. This will move to completely eradicate the middle class. To have a world where you can choose between working hard and relaxing will not create a utopia, but rather a full fledged division between the world as we now know it.

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  32. It is an amazing idea to think that technology could take over. But, I do not see technology taking over education. Education is far more important than technology in my eyes. Education is the reason why many of the technological devices, we use, is created. Even though humans may rely on technology to do work for them, education will always be most useful. Technology will not be able to replace a surgeon, doctor, lawyers, and dentist. Education will always be needed. Education is already a choice but technology can't replace it. Technology cannot replace something that created it. However, I do find it fascinating that one day technology will take over many jobs that people use to have. It does sound unrealistic because people are always needed for many reason. Think about it this way, would you have a robot doctor, or an actual human being checking to see if you are healthy or not?

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  33. Considering how rapidly technology and science is developing in modern times, we can most certainly look forward to having robots and machines do the bulk of the work for us, especially the heavy manual labor that is restricted by human limitations (e.g. Strength). However, one thing automation cannot and should never replace is education. Even though machines and technology has already made our lives significantly easier, one attribute that machines lack that humans have is the characteristic of compassion and human empathy, which is crucial if we are to make the best decisions for humanity. Moreover, too much of anything is never a good thing; if we allow machines to do everything for us, people will lose their sense of purpose and find themselves bored with nothing to do. In the end, just as the Pixar film Wall-E portrays, humanity could end up living a permanently sedentary and hedonistic lifestyle, and that would most certainly be a grim future for humans indeed.

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  34. I really liked this topic because it is so relevant to college student who are still in college. Do automation will take over some majors?
    When I told to one of my engineer friend about my major choice as an accounting, he said me that accounting as a job will in future diminish. Society still would be needed accounting services, but everything would be computerized and automated so there would not be a need in accountants.
    That statement is quite vague. Indeed, I do know that in the past century we became more automated; therefore, we saw a huge progress in production and manufacture over the world. On the other hand, there were so many jobs were taken over. Without this progress we would never achieve the results we have today. Therefore, I do believe that automation can partially overtake any job,however, human always needs to control and "accompany" the machinery. Machinery also can make mistakes; therefore, human needs to overview it. Also I'm looking forward to making automation more integrated in every job, so we could be more productive and efficient.

    Biubiuia Kempirbaeva DVC

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  35. Work, in this case, is not the job people love. It's a machine-like brainless process that people had to repeat one by one by one, and there is nothing new, creative, exciting as time goes. This kind of work can be compared to a long time ago where people had to go out and hunt animals by chasing them miles after miles; nowadays people definitely do not need to hunt in order to get food, but some of them still choose to hunt, jog, and workout (a series of inherited actions from the hunters). Not by correctly following what our ancestors did, we have more time to do many new things, interesting things we might enjoy more, compared to the old era. Is there anything wrong with making status quo an option? I do not think so.

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  37. Although the author attempts to sway the audience to seeing that artificial intelligence can drastically alter the way life is currently lived, I found this article to be ineffective. In the beginning, the author brings the idea of a universal basic income, which to me would make sense given that our jobs would go to the artificial intelligence. However, the author lost credibility (at least for me) when they began to say AI would have their own philosophy. The reason behind this, is that Elon Musk, the same person this author has quoted, has said on multiple occasions that AI will not supersede human thinking, even to the point of becoming conscious.

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  38. With the rapid influx of technology changing the job landscape, automation is an inevitable reality. Computers nowadays are constantly improving and outperforming well above the capability of the average human mind. This creates a growing issue that will become more prevalent as technology advances and the need for basic labor or skill set jobs are scarce. Thus, Elon Musk’s idea for a Universal Basic Income is actually becoming more of a reality that just a theory. For example, in movies such as “I, Robot” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” where humans have grown a dependency on technology, the need for laborious jobs become nonexistent with the exception towards jobs that affect the life and quality of other human beings. For example,in these movies, factory jobs, manufacturing, and building infrastructure are all at the hands of robots; whereas, people had to adapt and search for jobs that are more towards humanitarian causes. Thus, people who worked in the medical field or policing jobs still had lucrative careers because of the human factor. Not everything in the future will be dependent on A.I. because although technology maybe the norm, the need for human connection is necessary. In addition, a Universal Basic Income can bring people closer to a Utopia because the end result will equate to a near nonexistent social/wealth inequality. However, this is impossible because there will always be leaders in their field who will develop and prosper far greater than their peers and social inequality will still exist. On the other hand, UBI can be a bad thing because it could lead our country towards a communist archetype reality where the need for individual growth is suppressed.

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  39. I have been reading articles recently about what the future of AI and other advancing technologies will have for us. It is going to make us more inactive since will will have so many of our tasks taken care of with a big decrease in job opportunities that is not going to be for the better. Humans respond to incentives and there will be almost none in the near future. I believe a universal basic income will be great if it will be for everyone since people even in third world countries will have better chances to make a better life for themselves. Most would already in a good position probably will not do anything that will contribute to the world. The UBI is going to create something between a Utopia and lower species.

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  40. Lauren Satariano
    ENG 1001-16

    I believe that machines do have the capability of taking over all job opportunities. The only thing that they wouldn't be able to replicate is human thought processes, but with AI advancing every day that might be automated as well. This idea reminds me of the movie Wall-E, where nobody really has a job or does anything. The people still go to school but only to learn the basics of speech. Life is all about leisure and nobody has to do anything on their own. There would no longer be any need for higher education or workers. The only person who really had a job was the captain, but even then, he had an AI robot to do his job for him.

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