Elon Musk says the rise of robots will require a universal income.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has been something of a visionary for both the space and automobile industries, and now the tech mogul is looking into his crystal ball regarding the world's economic future.
There is no question that widespread automation is coming, and Musk said on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai this week that robotic innovations will eventually force governments to provide a universal income for its citizens.
"There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen," Musk said, according to Fast Company.
Musk continued by saying that predicted increase in automation will require some form of universal income for those displaced by robots. "I think we'll end up doing universal basic income. It's going to be necessary."
A recent study estimated that as much as 45 percent of the workforce could be replaced by some kind of automation, equaling $2 trillion worth of annual wages in the United States alone. That scale of unemployment would certainly require some kind of universal income as described by Musk. Moreover, a universal income could be required sooner than some expect as automation could take a significant bite out of the workforce as early as 2030.
There is some silver lining, however, as Musk believes that automation will greatly reduce the cost of living. "The output of goods and services will be extremely high," he said. "With automation there will come abundance. Almost everything will get very cheap."
Interestingly, Musk touched on the human impact of automation in addition to the financial implications.
"The much harder challenge is, how are people going to have meaning? A lot of people derive their meaning from their employment. So if there's no need for your labor, what's your meaning? Do you feel useless? That's a much harder problem to deal with."