Afraid that People’s Jobs Will Be Taken Away: “Godfather of AI” Proposes Universal Basic Income

The “Godfather of Artificial Intelligence,” Geoffrey Hinton, believes that the introduction of a universal basic income (UBI) could address the potential job shortages caused by the rapid advancement of AI technologies. Hinton, renowned for his pioneering work in AI, has voiced his concerns about the future of employment in an increasingly automated world.

Geoffrey Hinton told the BBC he was “very concerned that a lot of simple robots will be taken over by artificial intelligence.” He elaborated, “I was consulted by people from Downing Street. I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea,” highlighting his proactive approach in advising policymakers on addressing these looming challenges.

UBI refers to regular, equal payments made to all citizens of a country, regardless of their income, social status, age, or employment status, without any reciprocal obligations. This concept aims to provide a financial safety net for everyone, particularly in a future where AI and automation may displace a significant number of jobs.

Some US cities and states have experimented with implementing a guaranteed basic income, albeit for specific categories of people. These pilot programs aim to assess the feasibility and impact of UBI on reducing poverty and economic inequality.

According to Hinton, while artificial intelligence will undoubtedly improve productivity and increase overall revenue, there is a risk that these benefits will disproportionately favor the wealthy unless there is government intervention. “Without such measures, it will only make the rich richer and leave the poor without work,” he cautioned.

Hinton advocates for a more cautious approach to the development of artificial intelligence, warning that AI could pose an “extinction threat” to humans within the next five to twenty years. His call for UBI is part of a broader strategy to mitigate the socioeconomic disruptions that AI advancements could cause.

Interestingly, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is also exploring solutions to the potential economic displacement caused by AI. Altman is conducting his own UBI experiment, with results expected to be published soon. He has also proposed the idea of “universal core computing,” where instead of receiving cash, everyone could receive access to a share of future advanced AI models, such as GPT-7.

Hinton’s recent departure from Google underscores his growing concern over the unchecked development of AI. He has openly stated that his resignation was driven by fears that AI could cause significant harm, reinforcing his stance on the need for caution and proactive measures like UBI.

For more details, you can read the full report on Business Insider.