UNITED STATES: U.S. Congress Discusses Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and Basic Income
Co-written by Jenna van Draanen and Dave Clegg

At the end of May 2016, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and Senate held a two-hour hearing entitled “The Transformative Impact of Robots and Automation,” which featured several expert speakers: Andrew McAfee, MIT research scientist, and co-author of The Second Machine Age; Adam Keiper editor of the New Atlantis and Fellow of the Washington based Ethics and Public Policy Center; and Dr. Harry Holzer economist and co-founder and director of Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy at Georgetown University.

While there is not much discussion of basic income at the hearing (most of the talk is about the implications and impact of automation and robots on the workplace), participants briefly bring up basic income as a possible social support for loss of jobs due to technological automation.

Mr. Keiper speaks to the BI briefly as an option, but he is most concerned about the loss of jobs because he sees jobs as “a source of structure, meaning, friendship and fulfillment.” A panel speaker, Mr. Lee, brings up a concern about the risk of subsidizing “non-work.” Dr. Holzer, admits that something like a BI might be needed but was worried that it would overburden the tax system.

To see the hearing and find further information, check out:

Joint Economic Committee, “U.S. Congress Discusses AI, Automation, Robotics and Basic Income.” Singularity Lectures, Youtube, May 28, 2016.

Or the JEC website: https://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-calendar?ID=BB1C3FD8-9FD1-46BA-917C-E5B3C585F1CC

Matt Orfalea, “Basic Income discussed among US Senators at “The Transformative Impact of Robots and Automation” Hearing” Medium.com, June 7, 2016.

About Jenna van Draanen

Jenna van Draanen has written 110 articles.