Andrew Yang, an independent businessman, and philanthropist has certainly proven to be an outside the box thinker. Among all of the presidential candidates, he is the only one worried about how the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics will impact human employment. His proposed solution will be to provide everyone a guaranteed income of $1,000 a month. That way people will have a least a little to live on even if jobs have been made few and far between Yang has branded the proposal as the “freedom dividend.”
Fox News reports that during the recent debate in Houston, Yang put forth a proposal that would illustrate the idea in the real world.
“I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight, Yang said in his opening statement. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families – someone watching this at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician go to Yang2020.com and tell us how $1,000 a month will do just that.”
The proposal elicited laughter from the other candidates on the debate stage. President Donald Trump has been called the “reality show president” due to his long-running success as the host of “The Apprentice.”
Now some are already calling Andrew Yang the “game show candidate.”
A big problem exists concerning Yang’s proposed contest. It may be illegal under current campaign finance laws. Yang insists that the contest is legal under current FEC regulations.
CNN notes that former Federal Election Commission lawyer Adav Noti has suggested that the Yang contest would seem to violate the use of campaign funds for “personal use.” A candidate cannot use campaign funds to pay for his or anyone else’s mortgage or utilities, for example. The fact that the contest is related to a public policy proposal is not irrelevant. Nevertheless, the FEC is unlikely to delve into the matter anytime soon.
The Yang proposal of a contest for a year’s worth of guaranteed income has some of the other candidates not only amused but intrigued.
CNN noted that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, was seen to laugh when Yang rolled out the contest idea. Later she pronounced herself interested.
“I admire and, frankly, take joy in hearing people with innovative ideas and who are questioning the status quo and willing to challenge it,” Harris said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”
While people are being invited to log on to Andrew Yang’s website for their share of the “freedom dividend,” some analysts have concluded that a provision to create a basic income for all Americans is not needed. AI and robotics will create far more jobs than they will destroy, In the view of a piece in the Singularity Hub. To understand how this could be, the article invites the reader to look back at history.
For example, a futurist in 1970 would be forgiven for assuming that the advent of ATMs would wipe out a lot of teller jobs. However, the effect has been quite the opposite. More people than ever before are working as bank tellers. The reason that ATMs have not wiped out teller jobs is that they have enabled banks to open up more branches. The ATMs are still on the outside for cash withdraws and deposits. But tellers are still available inside for more personal services.
The experience of AI has not been that technology has replaced jobs. AI has shouldered the burden of some of the more drudgery aspects of jobs, allowing humans more time to be creative. The cost of producing goods and services have been made cheaper by AI, meaning more are produced and thus more jobs have been created than destroyed by the technology.
“A January 2018 Accenture report titled “Reworking the Revolution” estimates that new applications of AI combined with human collaboration could boost employment worldwide as much as 10 percent by 2020.”
In other words, AI and robotics will not replace human workers. Technology and humans will work side by side.
The examination of the probable effects of new technology makes observers suspect that Andrew Yang’s “freedom dividend” proposal is a solution in search of a problem.