For years, economists and futurists alike predicted that robots would slowly replace human workers. In 2017, that is no longer a prediction. Robots and artificial intelligence programs are present in every business sector and in every job, performing countless tasks once delegated to humans.
If you find this hard to believe, consider every task at your workplace and think of how they were performed ten years ago. You’ll surely find that some functions of your job are now aided or automated by computers. Now think about what your job will be like ten years from now.
While it’s scary to think that your job can be replaced by a machine or lines of code, it doesn’t have to be. By instituting a few key economic reforms, we can work with the machines to make our jobs — and our lives — a whole lot easier.
Business Insider recently sat down with economist and professor Jeff Sachs to discuss what the world’s governments need to do to make the robot revolution more human friendly. Though his answer might be slightly controversial, it’s still a rather important idea that could mean the difference between a booming economy…and a total financial meltdown.
Jeff Sachs is talking about a “basic universal income,” or money paid to humans by default. Instead of simply laying off millions in the workforce and replacing them with robots, the basic income would help the workforce pay bills and continue living their lives as they found other jobs or helped their robot companions. This could potentially mean more products produced, more money made, and less poverty.
Trying to convince moneyed individuals and fiscally conservative governments to implement this practice seems rather futile. At the same time, if we continue to outsource jobs to robots, the world’s economy could eventually collapse. Lawmakers will have to implement some aspects of this plan soon…or create catastrophic poverty like we’ve never seen before.