Universal Basic Income

There’s an article on Medium that talks about the Economics of Star Trek. (I will warn you though that if you’re not really all that familiar with Star Trek that some of the analogies will be lost on you, but the economic discussion is still very interesting.) It mirrors a lot of my own thoughts on the subject of what it will be like to live in a post-scarcity world. To that end, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of a Universal Basic Income, which is somewhat in vogue these days but also seems to make a lot of sense. As an aspiring roboticist, it is not lost on me that when we are able to create reasonably smart bi-pedal robots (and we may be getting closer) that production costs will drop and work will be less necessary. What will people do when they no longer need to work? How will societal interactions change? There is already a man living homelessly on purpose who is surviving that way and using Bitcoin so the idea is not all that far-fetched. What will people do when they don’t have to work? My thinking is that they will still work – people will still need various things, and people will still want to make art and music and build things. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts when businesses can be started much more easily and money is more fluid, while the means of production will be vast and easily accessible. Even for those that don’t have robotic means of productions, we’re already seeing that 3D printers are bringing production to the masses, so the future is going to be very interesting indeed.

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