Source: Wikimedia Commons

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Last October, the program AlphaGo, developed by the Google division DeepMind, stunned the world by becoming the first AI agent to defeat a professional Go player — a decade ahead of experts’ predictions of such a feat. Then, in March, AlphaGo surpassed expectations yet again, winning a match against champion player Lee Sedol.

In his recent article “Robots Will Take Your Job” (Boston Globe), basic income advocate Scott Santens explores the implications of advanced AI — machines like AlphaGo — for employment and the economy. Thanks to advances in the branch of machine learning known as deep learning, artificial agents are now able to replicate increasingly complex cognitive tasks. A consequence is that automation now threatens not only routine, manual jobs but many highly-skilled, cognitively-demanding ones as well.

Backing his claims with quotes from leading AI researchers, such as Chris Eliasmith and Andrew Ng, Santens makes the case that this tide of ever-more-sophisticated automation demands that we “seriously start talking about decoupling income from work” and explore a universal basic income.

Read the article here:

Scott Santens, “Robots Will Take Your Job,” Boston Globe, February 25th, 2016.


Following AlphaGo’s victorious match against Lee Sedol, Santens updated and extended this article, publishing the new version in Medium. The new piece is available here:

Scott Santens, “Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines,” Medium, March 16th, 2016.

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News. Now with The Ecological Citizen.