Elantin ponders AI replacing humans in the workforce, mentioning Ai-Da Robots painting and poetry.
Where Does the Money Come from for the Universal Basic Income?
If machines replace the human workforce in the future, humans will be unemployed and that would make it necessary for people to receive the Universal Basic Income in order to survive. Yet, machines don’t pay taxes, so where does the money come from for this guaranteed income?
Regarding the taxes and who will pay them, let’s analyze a bit the tax model that is used nowadays.
Let’s take the model of a company that has employees. Taxes are paid to the state by 1. the company on the one hand and 2. by the employees on the other, as a percentage of the income they have obtained by performing their activity.
So we have 2 tax sources:
1. The company pays taxes based on its income.
2. Employees pay taxes for the income they have made.
Now we remove the employees and we replace them with machines. What do we have now?
1. The company has a much higher profit because of 2 reasons:
– it no longer pays wages to the employees and
– the robots can work 24/7, 7 days a week (which is something a human could never do, practically one robot’s work equals that of more than 3 humans since an employee only works 8 h/day and needs weekends and holidays off)
2. Robots do not get paid (because they belong to the company, just like slaves used to belong to the owner) and all the profit they create belongs to the company. Therefore they cannot pay taxes since the profit is not the profit of the robot, but it belongs to the company that owns the robot.
Thus, with this new model, it is the company alone that has to pay taxes for its income, and no longer the employees, because it has no employees. But because now the company’s income includes the income that used to be made by the employees, it has to pay taxes to the state for that income as well.
The state will thus receive the same amount of tax money it used to receive from the company+ the employees, but this money will now be paid only by the company.
Now the question that arises is: if the robots create goods, but people are unemployed and cannot afford to buy them, who will buy those goods? Robots don’t have money and they don’t need a new fridge, a new T-Shirt, or a new TV set. Humans do need those things, but they have no money to buy them since they are unemployed.
Would such an economic model not collapse? Tons of goods are manufactured but cannot be sold, because the only ones who need them have no money to buy them. For an economy to work, money and goods must be continuously exchanged.
To solve this issue, people should be given the money necessary to make this new, modern type of economy work, whether they have a job or they are unemployed. This is why I consider that it is the development of cybernetics that imposes the application of the Universal basic income.
And we should also think about another aspect, the humanitarian aspect. The more robots take over human jobs, the more humans will be unemployed. Are we simply going to condemn all these people to starvation, while tons of goods are being produced in factories yet nobody affords to buy them? Would that be an ethical policy?
Will all jobs be performed solely by machines? Will humans find no jobs in the future?
I would answer this question with a simple ”no”. Humans will still find some jobs, nevertheless, a certain percentage of people will probably be unemployed, due to the apparition of intelligent machines, which can do the same job far more accurately than humans. Machines need no rest, no food, no rights, no family to feed, no wage, and no pension since they will literally die working (machines can work 24 h/day, and when they break they are replaced by better models). Robots are already so smart that they have become creative. They can compose music (Shimon, a robot at the Georgia Institute of Technology can not only play but also compose music), paint, or write poetry (the Ai-Da robot writes poetry at an incredible speed but has also learned how to paint).
Since evolution has always meant the apparition of new structures, I also tend to believe that unemployed people will be able to create new types of jobs, that never existed before. Think about new jobs such as crypto miner, game tester, Youtube travel vlogger, and so on. The future will open great possibilities, although at the moment some of those developments are hard to predict.