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US: Elon Musk predicts a “pretty good chance” for UBI

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, November 4, famed Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk — founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity — stated that a universal basic income will likely become necessary due to automation.

Musk says, “There’s a pretty good chance we’ll end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. I’m not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

In recent years, UBI has received a surge of attention from Silicon Valley’s tech industries, where it is often viewed favorably as a way to soften the blow of technological unemployment and to facilitate entrepreneurship. Most famously, perhaps, Y Combinator–the start-up incubator headed by UBI-proponent Sam Altman–is preparing a pilot study in Oakland that will lay the groundwork for a larger scale trial of a basic income. O’Reilly Media CEO Tim O’Reilly and (particularly notable in this context) Tesla Motors software engineer Gerald Huff are among the other members of Silicon Valley’s tech elite who have written in support of UBI.

However, Musk has remained silent about the issue prior to Friday’s interview with CNBC.

Musk has been an outspoken champion of other political causes, particularly the introduction of a carbon tax to combat climate change (a policy that itself enjoys popularity among many UBI supporters who see the tax as a way to fund a social dividend).


Catherine Clifford (November 4, 2016) “Elon Musk: Robots will take your jobs, government will have to pay your wage” CNBC.

Photo CC BY-ND 2.0 OnInnovation

Kate McFarland

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 501 articles.

I'm not the sort to define myself by a job or occupation. I do stuff that interests me and wait and see what happens job-wise (and, more generally, life-wise). If you want to see where my open-ended lifestyle leads next (I presently have no idea myself, and that's the excitement of it), follow my new personal blog. I don't attempt to sell or actively monetize my writing or other labors of love; however, I accept donations on Patreon and PayPal.

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