Our Time Lies Tomorrow

Alan Cai

April 21, 2023

The introduction of ChaptGPT and a slew of subsequent artificial intelligence engines has reignited the issue of employment. Before the pandemic, it was widely believed that truck drivers and blue collar workers would be replaced by artificial intelligence-capable vehicles and machinery which would power the economy in their place. Perhaps it came as a surprise to most that white collar workers were actually the first on the chopping block.

For the time being, office workers see artificial intelligence as a convenient mechanism to bypass hours of mundane work. Employers will soon inevitably realize that artificial intelligence is capable of replacing their employees. ChatGPT is able to write essays, compose emails, generate code, and execute various other functions. Even with security concerns surrounding parent company OpenAI, numerous alternatives such as Google Bard, Bing Chat, and Jasper exist to complete the task to a similar quality.

Nearly three years after the start of the “Great Resignation” due to the novel coronavirus, the job market may be on the brink of another mass exodus of employees. This time, it would be permanent. With Social Security purportedly a few decades away from collapsing and other welfare systems being gutted on a yearly basis, it is time to seriously consider the prospects of Universal Basic Income.

Universal Basic Income is a proposed solution to automation which gives monthly cash payments to every citizen or resident of a state. It differs from traditional welfare programs in the sense that Universal Basic Income does not require recipients to be employed(or constantly searching for a job) or other specific requirements. It may be an inevitable component of a futuristic society in which human employment is entirely replaced by machines. As the world transitions in that direction, Universal Basic Income would be crucial for people to survive and receive a portion of the dividends they lost from artificial intelligence.

Additionally, universal basic income alleviates financial stress from individuals partaking in intellectual pursuits. Without fear of becoming impoverished after losing research grants, scientists would be more free to explore the extensive realms of their respective fields. Writers would also be able to sustain themselves while producing content which would otherwise not be monetarily beneficial.

As with all state-sponsored programs, the chief obstacle to Universal Basic Income is the cost. A system of monthly payments to every citizen of a country simply for being alive would be near impossible by modern standards. With the United States National Debt threatening to default nearly every election cycle, the creation of a new program which could potentially double the deficit is unthinkable. Until the fruits of artificial intelligence production overcome the funding barriers posed by the project, the Universal Basic Income will stay a mere utopian dream.