Dubai has risen rapidly, driven by advanced technology. The United Arab Emirates has put forward a fully automated transport strategy, envisioning that by 2030, a quarter of Dubais travel will be automated. The revolution in transportation is only the beginning of the chaos that may arise from the so-called fourth industrial revolution.
The world is already in what economists call employment polarization. As the demand for medium skills decreases, the demand for low-skilled workers with high salaries, high skills and low incomes increases. In 2017, Elon Musk, Teslas chief executive and futurist, said at the World Summit of Heads of Government in Dubai that some form of UBI is inevitable in the face of continuing downsizing.
Eron Musk is not the only revolutionary of his time. He believes that the only way to eliminate the confusion caused by their planning methods is to give everyone regular non-wage income. UBI also received support from Andrew Ng, chief scientist of Baidu, a global technology company, and Ray Kurzweil, futurist and engineering director of Google.
Kurzweil believes that machine intelligence will reach the same level as human intelligence by 2040. He was also convinced that by then, free money (that is, earning income without labor) would become commonplace. Providing basic income for all, he said, would help society think creatively and develop new industries.
It is now generally accepted that work is an outdated concept. Many economists have envisaged a new world economic order in which the wealthy can provide food and clothing to others and solve the basic problem of food and clothing without wandering on the streets. In this Utopia/Anti-Utopia, humans are free to do what they like: weave hats, paint watercolours, or learn a new skill to accomplish the remaining tasks that humans need to accomplish, or even create new tasks.
But the implementation of this vision faces many obstacles, one of which was mentioned last month in Finlands report on its two-year UBI experiment. Between January 2017 and December 2018, 2,000 unemployed Finns received an unconditional monthly basic income of 560 euros ($630) to meet their basic needs. They were free to find work, training or creative inspiration. Not surprisingly, everyone likes free money. But they are more likely to not work and to invent something beneficial to humankind than those who do not receive basic income.
But that does not mean abandoning UBI. Finland is making changes to UBI, one of which may prove that the system or similar system is feasible.
If the basic income of the whole people can not solve the imminent global unemployment, then what can we do to solve it?
Like climate change, it is clear that critical thinking is necessary to address this problem, which is likely to require the abandonment of long-established norms, such as the concept of racial and national divisions for self-interest. But, like climate change, it may only happen when it has to.
Countries already facing these situations have no choice but to continue to compete. Developed countries are rushing to establish their leading position in the field of new technology. In the UK, the government has set up an AI Committee and has pledged 1 billion ($1.32 billion) to develop technology and skills bases. Omar Olama, 29, Minister of Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates, launched an Artificial Intelligence Thinking program in February, inviting companies to use his country as a laboratory to help countries and their people benefit from the ever-hyped artificial intelligence.
But before the United Arab Emirates or anywhere else turns into an experimental playground for Silicon Valley dreamers, a plan must be developed to deal with potential consequences, including widespread unemployment.
Last year, the European Union Scientific Outlook Group conducted a reassuring assessment of the impact of the digital revolution on employment. The author concludes: In studying the literature, we can be optimistic about the future. In the past, technological innovation always promoted the creation of more jobs, but it created as many opportunities as it destroyed.
However, the large-scale production innovation caused by the invention of steam power and electricity is incomparable with the unprecedented social unrest brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. If we hope to create new jobs in this process, this idea is not very reliable.
Employment is not the only risk. Although the beauty that the first industrial revolution may bring to the world is only temporary, the human development and population explosion it has caused can be said to be all the problems we are facing now, including from the threat of survival caused by climate change to the destructive impact of the fourth industrial revolution on society.
We still have a chance to control the speeding development of driverless cars, otherwise it will crash us into unexpected cliffs. At least, we should step on the brakes until we find a way to survive. (Selected from: ASIATIMES Author: Jonathan Gornall Compiler: Netease Intelligent Participation: Aaliyah)