Elon Musk says Universal Basic Income is “going to be necessary.”
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Elon Musk says Universal Basic Income is “going to be necessary.”


– There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. What to do about mass unemployment? This is going to be a massive social challenge. And… And I think, ultimately, we will have to have some kind of universal basic income. I don’t think we would be have a choice. – Universal basic income? – Universal basic income I think it’s going to be necessary. – So it means that unemployed people would be pay across the globe? – Yeah. – Because there is no job, machine/robots it’s taking over…? – That’s simply the… the… I do want to be clear: these are not things that I think that I wish would happen; these are things, simply things that I think probably will happen. And so… If they… If my assessment is correct and they probably will happen, then we need to say what are we going to do about it. And I think some kind of a universal basics basic income is going to be necessary… now the output of goods and services will be extremely high. So, with automation they will come abundances. There will be… Almost everything will get very cheap. The… I think the biggest… I think will just end up doing a universal basic income is going to be necessary. The harder challenge (much harder challenge) is… how do people then have meaning? Like, a lot of people they derive the meaning from their employment. So, if you don’t have… If you’re not needed, if there’s not a need for your labor how do you…? What’s the meaning? Do you have meaning? Do you feel useless? These are much… That’s a much harder problem to deal with.

100 Comments

  • CrniWuk

    What people have to remember though, is that a world with the UBI won't necessary mean it becomes a better place for people. As much as I support the UBI, it's just a programm like medicare or wellfare. To make a better society, we need people with intrinsic motivations who are willing to actually learn on their own, to improve themselfs and not for monetary goals but because it's their passion. Otherwise we might end up in a society, where people have the UBI, but no real way to figure out what to do with their free time, many people might feel useless, unwanted while a small portion of the society will hold very high income jobs and an even smaller group will have a large amount of wealth and access to all kinds of goods and services. People need some kind of purpose in their life.

  • Stephen Gies

    Somebody on twitter told me this, I forget who, but it was really profound. They said that Universal Basic Income is just crumbs thrown to us by elites to buy themselves Guillotine Insurance.

  • Joram Arentved

    RIght, Elon, then let's just talk about, what your own advantage deserves & is, e.g. your own Universality statute, 'testify(!)' to being a good OPTIM., that is, your true optimism, whereon what, you as now need & know that to trust any one you must also start by showing that you can trust, whatever is just your own optim. consscience, a certain part, what your moral value is, on acc. of one thing that God & money can still exist as No One's Eternally True Happiness, e.g. mine, (it was, still & totally untraceable from me), so I can find out etc., Peace, Elon, 'J.A.,' Sgo., Chile, The Danish Law – etc., 0056 96 505 67 01. If you don't call me, my f. mother's still, as she likes it, a big complication laborality conflict, 'just' mine that, however, gives me no idea at all, if I can prove her liberty to be MY fault & so on. (C), all rights reserved.

  • Kir t0x

    I think that there will be jobs available to humans, these jobs will be in engineering fields but I believe a large portion of these positions will be in the social services field. With so much empty time and disposability in these people's hands depression and mental illness with be intricately prevalent. Some sort of overruling police state, whether manned by creepy thx-1138 robots or not, will have to get mandatory because people will be running amuck. The real fact of the matter is, who will have these jobs that will inadvertently exist? Only the upper eschelon, and highest of educated people's, will be filling these roles simply due to how scarce positions will be to begin with. The 1% will surely be in control of our health, mental health, the future of technologies, and legal system. This will no doubtedly create a social divide that will be incredibly hard for the 1% to maintain due to the sheer numbers of people with anger, depressive mindstates, and all the time in the world to plan out revolts, rebellions, and murders. This is a very scary future that will probably have to turn into some sort of mind control implementation mixed with a violent and threatening police state. This state of affairs would fuel the unrest of base salary humans. The proportions of this scenario are very fucking grim.

  • Tech Cafe

    “with automation there will come abundance…” – Musk

    abundance for WHO??

    wealthy billionaires OWN all means of production, from which they become richer by the minute… while global inequality grows more grotesque by the day.

    natural and industrial capital should be community owned, for the greater good of society, but our present economic system encouragages & rewards greed.

  • TheaDragonSpirit

    Fiat money = Bitcoin. In the sense that people decide how much there is.

    When currency isn't linked in to the overall value of everything, how much things cost is pretty much determined by people. I think long term money will be pointless once people find ways to make products more available and use better strategies to develop products.

    Based on a video on how fiat money works, what I heard is they want people to have just enough to live, but not so much that they stop working. Sounds a little like slavery to me. I get it people need to do things to keep things moving forward and to give some people a reason to keep helping out. But unless we aim to get to a place where a system like this isn't needed, then I think a whole new system of distribution is needed.

    What I mean is we should be aiming to create a world where people don't have to work so hard or even at all and the world keeps moving forward just fine. So more technology to replace simple jobs, and more giving goods to the poor and needy. Pay people for the data you collect from data mining, and observing the patterns people have, as in if someone plays a game or watches a TV show, or what ever they're taking time to give feed back and spread information about this, they are doing advertising to an extent. So people should get something back from simply taking part in society and respecting society, rather than just been expected to respect society. So basically people get products and goods or right now an universal income for being a good sport as it where, encouragement to want to help society, not just expecting people to do this.

  • Kaptin Swindletoof Gobsmack

    We needed Basic Income YESTERDAY. Jobs today are unreliable, precarious, and aren't enough to get by. We are already living in an age of abundance, but our obsolete income system keeps people from enjoying that wealth.

    With a Basic Income in place people will have much more freedom than now, they'll be free to:

    – Leave an unhealthy job or relationship
    – Stay home and care for their kids
    – Invest in education easier
    – Volunteer
    – Only accept work that really caters to their specific talents
    – Never have to worry about bills or homelessness again.

  • Ramon Olmos

    Ok, thank you for taking care of me. UNI is awesome! So, about the meaning of life issue: Just being appreciative of good health, Housing, and friendship. Stay with that appreciation, and build on that. You can develop your talents, help others sincerely. The good life, you know.

  • Random Friction

    He is wrong and to support such a thing is to support the end of free society, you people need an education because clearly those that have one are trying to burn the bridge behind them.

  • Carolyn T

    it already is necessary, those in power consider us "taken care of" monetarily even though they expect such large paychecks themselves. as for elon, he can suck eggs, he's egocentric loser who has money. people who lack the ability of critical thought follow him in an effort to stroke their own egos. they have an obsession with science, but like every thing else they don't actually enjoy the specifics of it, they just want bite sized pieces of information handed to them. it feels like learning, in a pathetic sort of way. people keep saying "we were never taught this in school" when in reality they were too busy zoning out and complaining about getting a standard education. the average fact dazzles them easily

  • Jabbernaut

    I don't think finding meaning will be a serious concern. I think there will be enough jobs and areas of research left for the people that absolutely need to work to find purpose will have them, but I think most of us will be content finding meaning in doing the things we enjoy doing the most, pursuing our hobbies and passions, traveling the world, spending our time with family and friends, and enjoying everything the world has to offer. Honestly I think the majority of workers now do not feel like their work is meaningful to begin with. Most of us hate our jobs and only work out of necessity, and we will be much happier without them.

  • Georgios Tsirtsidis

    Say, to this day building a home costs you the labor of say 30 people (number out of my ass), and in say 20 years it will cost you a few dollars of electricity for a robot.
    Leaving everything else intact, how the hell is minimum wage technically necessary?

    If my robot is smarter than you and your robot is smarter than me, we can still do business.
    The failure of capitalism is to keep people believing in its success. It's really sad how ironic this is.

  • Georgios Tsirtsidis

    If you are unable to make a life for yourself with AI and robots around you (that you own) smarter than 100 engineers and more competent and efficient than 1000 workers….

    What can I say, you really are playing with evolution at this point. Making a luxurious life with AI will be at worst as easy as playing video games or something. Educated guess.

  • Elizabeth Gray

    Isn’t it funny how only the super wealthy and the liberal politicians are pushing this agenda. Socialism, which is what this leads to, is great till they run out of YOUR money. Then we are all on our knees begging for a loaf of bread! See where they are going with this. They talk about taking away our guns. our schools are pathetic they’re not educating our children. They bring in more and more illegals into the country and support them with our tax money. And call us racist if we don’t like what’s happening. All these things build up their strengths and their power and weaken us.

  • Eric, The Fearsome Social Liberal

    The Universal Basic Income (UBI) won't be communism, and it will be more like socialism, commentators on this comment section. There won't be inflation at all, since money is not being printed by the Federal Reserve, and people will tax the rich and companies, who made the robots to automate jobs, to fund the Universal Basic Income. Furthermore, robots will execute jobs much more faster and efficiently than humans do, and they are cheaper to afford and to be used than humans, so the price of goods and services will go down as a result. In fact, we will have 3D printers to print anything we want, which means that all forms of money will possibly be obsolete in the future. Particularly, you should never overestimate a human as well as underestimating a robot. By the way, if there is a lack of a guaranteed basic income for everyone in a few more years, then riots will emerge and spread like wild fire against the companies, who made the robots. If you don't believe me, then here are 10 reasons why the Universal Basic Income is extremely important to ensure that humans will continue to progress as much as surviving without a job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh_kaQSSVt8.

    If you really want the Universal Basic Income to happen most likely, then Andrew Yang should be president in 2020. Also, I like Andrew Yang's policies so far, and he needs more people to acknowledge him as well as supporting him to save the United States from further declining, thanks to this link: https://www.yang2020.com/policies/. However, even if Andrew Yang reached the status of being one of the top candidates to be president in 2020, the Electoral College will screw him over, similar to how it did with Bernie Sanders to make Hillary have the advantage in winning via cheating, so the 1% super rich elites, their puppets, and Wall Street will continue to make more money by electing either of their puppets, including Hillary and Trump. The Electoral College screwed the votes again by making Trump president, despite the fact that Hillary had 3 million more votes over Trump. This is a similar situation with the Electoral College screwing Al Gore's highest votes over George W. Bush to make George W. Bush to become president. In other words, the people don't have rights to vote for a president and the 1% super rich elites vote for them as much as the cycle constantly repeating itself until the greedy rich people get overthrown by the people someday.

  • atwaterpub

    Kurt Vonnegut predicted it FIRST in "Player Piano" 1952 (almost 66 years ago) — there will just be "reeks and wrecks" and a small minority of ultra rich. Read Kurt Vonnegut Jr. "Player Piano"

  • I BraveHeart

    There are lots of other ways that people can contribute to their communities other than working a 9 to 5 Job. Volunteering would be a great example because the people who are volunteering are there because they actually WANT to be. Not because they NEED to be. It would also be MUCH more fulfilling knowing that the work you do is actually making a difference in peoples lives. Plus the work environment it's self would be much less stressful.

  • Supersonicat

    Even Elon doesn't quite understand basic universal income. It will give those who have been deceived by greedy Capitalists and shut out from humane, decent living standards, an opportunity to free themselves from financial servitude.
    It can provide tools and help to educate people to achieve an independent way of life. It substantially allows for individuals and families to pursue local businesses, farming and generate wholesome social activities which translates to further economic stimulus. It will also help to balance this ridiculous wealth 'income' inequality that divides and oppress. And keeps people in economic servitude. Which is just a modern day term for slavery.
    Let the robots do their jobs and free humanity. (great bumper sticker for universal income)

  • Red Corvair

    Did it happen to anyone that "they" (the power that be) did not think of introducing the Universal Basic Income (UBI) before moving most of the production to China? So why should "they", now robots are announced? Never seen so many people living on the street or in poverty, and it's been going so, getting worse and worse, since the 80s, Reagan and the "neocon revolution". I think Musk is just, as usual, satisfying his narcissism and being now playing "the social genius". Of course people are going to buy his pipe dream. But have you seen the working conditions of his workers and employees? Not exactly an example of generosity. His money does not follow him where his mouth goes. But such promises are good ways to quieten social anxieties, so people let themselves be swayed by fine social promises, while we've seen the contrary (systematic, sadistic destruction of alll the social safety nets) happening all the time these last fifth years. Plus the super rich love seeing, marketing, themselves as generous, but only through charity though (Bill Gates etc.), not empowerment. But of course, UBI would be, and should be, a normal answer to the changes in the way production and working conditions evolve. It's just that I doubt that, without a really powerful social movement (to restrain the super greed and super power of the world's super rich), I doubt these super rich will ever amend their cynical ways and make UBI possible. Do you see traces of that powerful social movement for change coming from the grassroots? It is the only condition for real social change to come. As it will definitely not come "from the top".

  • gitanjali Karki

    …………….ya to start off free food,subsidised shelter, free education……………….this can also be counted as universal basic incme……..!!!

  • Nehuen Carbonel

    do people forget that we as humans in this political and economic system exist only to work and consume ,once we dont work anymore, whats the point of keeping us alive?

  • Ruby Joy

    Where's all that greed talk about the rich? Looks like to me that you are musk wants to make sure people are well taken care of the guy was even emotional crying at an Australian interview with 60 Minutes about them to have enough power and policies getting in the way of people being able to have basic things such as lights this guy really cares

  • tgenntrucker7750

    THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT: SHOULD WE BUILD A WALL TO STOP THESE ROBOTS????? declare a NATIONAL EMERGENCY? CALL FOR THE MILITARY AI ROBOTS? OH NEVER MIND. WHOM EVER OWNS THE AI ROBOTS WINS? THE 1% WITH THE MONEY THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE NOW FREEDOM= YOU ARE AS FREE AS YOUR (MONEY) WILL ALLOW YOU TO BE

  • tgenntrucker7750

    REGARDLESS OF WHOM IS PRESIDENT WALL OR NO WALL AI WILL BE TAKING OUR JOBS
    UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME IS INEVITABLE = YOU ARE (ONLY) AS (FREE) AS YOUR (MONEY) WILL (ALLOW) YOU TO BE. MILITARY AI ROBOTS ARE (OWNED) BY THE 1% WITH THE CONTROL OF ALL THE MONEY. FREEDOM? THE AI ROBOTS CAN(PRINT) ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF (WORTHLESS) MONEY. GROSS NATIONAL (DEBT)? WHO (CONTROLS) HOW MUCH OF THIS WORTHLESS MONEY (YOU) RECEIVE? IF WE ALL HAD EQUAL AMOUNT OF THIS WORTHLESS MONEY WOULD WE ALL BE FREE? THE PLAYGROUND BETWEEN YOUR EARS IS THE ONLY FREEDOM HAVE FUN WE CAN ALL AFFORD IT

  • egal egal

    You can either do the most fulfilling work, witch is being an artist, or you can do the most meaningful work which is volunteering for a good cause.

  • Good! Let's take humanity to the next level 👌 when automation does all of our jobs, we start seeking meaning within. We may even see global human awakening (to the fact that like our cells are to our bodies, we humans and planet earth are to the universe – part of a larger organism : we are all absolute one with the universe, it is all one organism) so we will start acting accordingly in co-operation instead of this insane competition with nature and another 😊

  • Experts Choice

    We must be idiots trying to evolve and evolve and evolve and evolve and evolve and evolve then dissolve. That’s the solution problem solved…

  • Bloodyidit

    If everyone gets basic income, prices will increase to accommodate that income in a non-automated system. Money inflation will increase because money will essentially be worthless, because it takes no effort to make money and therefore people will have no incentive to work. The world will, at most, transform into an artist's dystopia. Because no one will want to do the necessary jobs, there will still be bad jobs that won't be automated for some time, trash collecting, coal mining, you're telling me that we have robots advanced enough to take over for THAT? We can barely make them walk over terrain, let alone independently make basic decisions that are necessary for even the most BASIC jobs, and the automated cars we have now can't even tell when to stop. On top of that, it's basic psychology for some people to want to be above others, so corruption is a constant in all societies. That alone means it will fail, especially under such economic pressure. On top of that the mass implementation of automation is extremely expensive, so even after automation we won't be able to adopt such a system for quite some time, it doesn't pay for itself.

    No, this is propaganda designed to make you adopt this dream system NOW, so that people can profit from you and so you can die under it, at the lowest possible money class. We do not have the systems available to support such a resource intensive system and it's plainly impossible and will cause civil wars, plural. Just because the current system has problems, doesn't mean you should cast it off for what you think is heaven. All systems have issues. There is no such thing as a perfect society.

    If you adopt this system, you WILL see war. Every country that has adopted it has. What makes you think that America is special? We aren't fucking gods.

  • Pesudo

    Its sad how people in this comment section don't understand Elons point of meaning. Just because you have a shit job doesn't mean all jobs are shitty. Its a psychological need for humans to feel needed and feel fulfilled, and its not something you can do by wasting away indulging in hobbies like travelling or cinema or gaming. Use your head a little,in case you don't know, Elongated Musket isn't stupid.

  • The Crypto Pickle

    changing gdp to measure social work and all that shit sounds like a pretty good step. my gf wipes old people ass for $11 an hour and lebron james gets millions to smile on a pack of gum

  • crazieeez

    People can easily find things to do if their basics are covered. Like make faster, better AI. Like make free energy. Like make better and cheaper rocket. Like pool money together to drive Elon Musk out of business.

  • Pearl Gray

    There are plenty of ways to derive meaning in our lives unrelated to vocation. Don't even worry about that, Elon. We'll be alright.

  • Robert Palmer

    Of course the wealthy will back this. It means a society of drones/fascists that do nothing but breed more dummies and inbreeds and send the world further down the toilet. More wars.. More hunger and more carpal tunnel from playing video games and yanking your pud

  • Abdul Shafi G

    You have a meaningful life by being a blessing to everything around you the Humans, the animals, and the environment.

  • Jorge Santos

    Share the money ..too much people with too much money they dont need ..if the they make robots to take your jobs we will need that income he is right ..but talking to thoes rich saudi arabs that dont share nothing it wont help anyone

  • Andrew Herman

    Taxocrats want the Socialist take-down of America. Pure. Simple. And, by the
    way, sheep, you won't see one dollar of that slavery dividend.

  • Fellow

    I've always preached about universal basic income to my friends, it's so great to hear that Elon Musk supports the concept as well.

    If the societies are clever, they will take advantage of AI and robots. Give People basic income and instead of working from 9 to 5 with a shitty wage, they can unleash their potential by educating themselves, innovating, and just living more balanced lives. However, if everything goes wrong and only a few people gain the benefits of the automated work, it's going to be very shitty times ahead.

  • Puddington

    The meaning of life will be to take solace in our solidarity as conscious sentient beings that can love, hate, suffer, triumph and experience all that life has to offer. To live will be the meaning of life.

  • James Roscoe

    UBI is merely a temporary fix. Whenever someone mention s it to me I say "That's not how capitalism works". It will probably work for a while no doubt, but it's no long term solution. What we really need a significant reform to our economic system or we're fucked. Also why bother trying to find meaning at all when life by nature is meaningless?

  • Ron Tropics

    It shouldn't be a bleak future. People need to embrace what's possible. No more crappy jobs should be celebrated. People will be able to focus on what makes them happy. They can spend their time finding meaning in their family and relationships. Their hobbies, interests, art and creativity. UBI will be necessary. Don't wait until it's too late. Yang2020.

  • worldwidehappiness

    Mass unemployment is inevitable with automation and robots. But that should be our goal! When we are free of having to do something to survive, we will be free to do whatever we like for happiness instead.

  • Nermal K

    My problem with musk. If things become cheaper. Where will we get all the materials to make all this cheap stuff. We live on a finite planet. Musk is not going to mars by 2040 to extract its material wealth and save humanity. There are already wars for oil, gold and metals. One more thing if it takes twenty litres of water to make one small chocolate bar and water becomes a scarcity there will be no chocolate bars. Big corps makes things to extract wealth and When robots take over manual jobs, The poor will not be needed. If we give them all a basis income so there spend it chocolate bars, how long will big corps do it for if is not profitable. If water is a scarcity the chocolate bar will become a luxury.

  • Trent Landwehr

    I have two jobs! I would much rather do the second job, but the first one pays the bills Elon! If I really had a choice I would just be an inventor since I come up with new ideas daily, but have no way to finance them! UBI is needed to allow people like me to become much greater than you could ever be in this world! That all being said I am a great fan of yours:)

  • Nikolajnen

    I mean, it's pretty logical to think that almost everything is going to cheap with autmation, as Elon himself said at 1:01. I really believe UBI is the answear. UBI equals Freedom.

  • CIAnonymous

    UBI = Total enslavement of society, the basic income will be minimum at best, just enough to get by would be equivalent to welfare. The majority of the population will be placed in a low-income dwelling similar to the projects. Many think UBI will = more time for leisure play but will come to realize it's the opposite.

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