Does the World Need a Universal Basic Income? Could Steem Power It?
Technological Unemployment Is Coming
By some reports, 40%-60% of all the jobs in existence today will be gone in a few short decades. Historically, our species has responded fairly well to massive shifts in employment (you're probably not a farmer, am-I-right?). No one's crying for the buggy whip makers because Ford didn't give us a faster horse.
But This Time, It's Different
At least, that's what some very smart people are saying. I've watched and read a lot of content on the morality of artificial intelligence (see my Steemit post for details), and I'm surprised how regularly these discussions mention the need for a basic income. Given the fundamental changes represented by automation and super-intelligence, how will humans compete to provide value to one another?
Google has almost 8.5 million search results for "Universal Basic Income"
More and more people are talking about how the current welfare system is not only broken, but completely incapable of meeting the coming needs of society, given massive technological unemployment. There are Facebook groups like Basic Income America or The Technological Unemployment Community which I've joined to discuss these challenges and most of them are still thinking in terms of bureaucratic, government solutions (which, to me, goes against my understanding of morality due to the coercive funding mechanism we call taxation).
This is Where Steem Comes In
I wrestle with the ideas behind a Universal Basic Income (UBI) because I'm a hard working business owner who believes in market forces and the benefits to human well-being they can provide. I'm incredulous at the idea of just giving away money to people for no reason. At the same time, I've done enough study to realize what's potentially just over the horizon. Automation is coming. Exponential growth can't go on for ever, especially if few have jobs to make the money needed to buy the stuff being produced.
When I first learned about Bitcoin in 2013, I started thinking about what the true nature of money is. From there, I started wondering if a blockchain solution could provide value for anyone and everyone, essentially eliminating poverty. It sounded crazy until I saw Steemit. This little microcosm of a few thousand people from the around the world created $200M+ in value in a matter of days. That not only blew my mind, but it reignited my passion for using the blockchain to solve world poverty.
What if the future isn't a dystopia, but one where
work becomes a four letter word, something we did in our more primitive days?
What if the solution we're looking for to the coming age of technological unemployment is being birthed right now?
What if we could all live at the top of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?
The future is what we make of it.