Would basic incomes or basic jobs be better when robots take over?

PHOTO: ST FILE

We all seem to be worried about the robots taking over these days - and they don't need to take all the jobs to be horrendously disruptive.

A situation where 30 to 40 per cent of the working-age population were economically useless would be tough enough. They might be taxi drivers replaced by a self-driving car or hedge fund managers replaced by an algorithm. By "economically useless", I mean people unable to secure work at anything approaching a living wage. For all their value as citizens, friends, parents, and their intrinsic worth as human beings, they would simply have no role in the economic system.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2018, with the headline 'Would basic incomes or basic jobs be better when robots take over?'. Subscribe