Benoit Hamon, the French Socialist Party candidate chosen by primary voters this week, has a plan. He wants to provide everyone in France with a basic income. The idea has been around for generations. Why now? Because Hamon thinks robots are coming for our jobs and we’re going to need to share the wealth they create.
U.S. companies and entrepreneurs are flirting with the idea as well. If advanced artificial intelligence can really replace workers at all skill levels, then there might not be enough work to go around. Brynjolffson and McAfee warn that education and skills training might not keep pace with rapidly advancing technological change – by the time workers learned new skills they would already be made obsolete by the evolution of smart machines.
Of course, this hasn’t really happened up to now. Automation and computer technology have created more jobs than they destroy. When companies introduce automation, it cheapens t ...