AI Pioneer Calls for Universal Basic Income Amid Job Loss Fears

One of the pioneering figures of artificial intelligence technology has warned the UK government, and governments around the world, to introduce a UBI to combat the effects of AI.

Godfather of AI

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Professor Geoffrey Hinton, a man who is widely regarded as the ‘godfather of artificial intelligence’ due to his prominent role in its early development, has urged the UK government to establish a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Calls for UBI

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A UBI is a form of social welfare that would provide a minimum payment for members of society without the need to work in exchange. 

A Necessary Move

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Hinton has told the BBC that believes a UBI, or some kind of secure financial welfare system, will be necessary to deal with the potential fallout from the burgeoning technology, which could see millions of people lose their jobs to AI. 

Downing Street Consultancy

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“I was consulted by people in Downing Street and I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea,” he told BBC Newsnight.

A Very Real Threat

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According to Hinton, the potential threat of mass job losses due to the developing technology is a very real one that will predominantly affect working-class and middle-class people around the world.

Job Automation Pending

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He reiterated to reporters that he was “very worried about AI taking lots of mundane jobs”. This is due to the expectation that AI will be able to automate many simple manual tasks that are carried out by humans in the workplace. 

Funneled to the Rich

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While he believes that AI could generate immense wealth and overall productivity around the world, the vast benefits of AI may end up funneled toward the wealthiest people in society. 

No Benefit for the Poor

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Hinton noted that he doubted AI would materially benefit the “people whose jobs get lost,” a reality he believes is “going to be very bad for society.”

Government Ignores Advice

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Despite his discussions with Downing Street as a revered figure in the AI industry, it appears his suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. 

“No UBI Plans Yet”

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The BBC reached out to officials and was told by a spokesperson that there were currently “no plans to introduce a universal basic income.”

One Year On

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Hinton’s direct advocacy for UBI comes exactly a year after he gave some dire warnings about the future of AI development during a public appearance in May 2023.

MIT Conference

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At EmTech Digital 2023, a digital held by the MIT Technological Review, he discussed his fears about the future impact of the technology he helped to develop.

“Existential Threat of Control”

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“The alarm bell I’m ringing has to do with the existential threat of them taking control,” he said. “I used to think it was a long way off, but I now think it’s serious and fairly close.”

A Threat to Humanity?

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Hinton, as well as other experts in the field, believe that AI could eventually pose the threat of extinction to humanity if the technology is not sufficiently reined in. 

A Superior Intelligence

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In the same interview with the BBC, he explained that AI technology is so “worrying” because humans have “created a form of intelligence that is just better than biological intelligence.”

Outpacing Humanity?

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A superior intelligence could lead AI to proliferate itself outside of the bounds of human control until it is able to make its own decisions without humans being able to stop it – which could prove to be fatal. 

Autonomous Decisions

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“What I’m most concerned about is when these can autonomously make the decision to kill people,” he explained.

Long Way of From Institutional Limitations

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While he hopes that governments and institutions would develop the necessary checks and balances to keep AI under control, including the increasing use of AI by militaries across the globe that could require international treaties, he doubts it will happen until “after very nasty things have happened.”

A Long History With AI

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Hinton has had a hand in some of the most important AI development projects of the last 50 years. He was one of the pioneers of developing neural networks, which are machine-learning models that mimic the structure and function of the human brain.

Involved With Chat GPT and Gemini

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He has previously acted as a mentor figure for ChatGPT founder Sam Altman and developed neural network technology further while working for Google, which ultimately led to the creation of Gemini, Google’s largest AI model.

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The post AI Pioneer Calls for Universal Basic Income Amid Job Loss Fears first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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