‘AI Godfather’ Wants Universal Basic Income for AI Job Losses 

In this post:

● Geoffrey Hinton pushes for universal basic income to ease AI-related job losses

● He says there’s a 50% chance AI will try to take over from humans

● AI has already left thousands of people jobless

AI godfather Geoffrey Hinton called on the UK government to set up a universal basic income (UBI) to compensate for the coming apocalyptic threats of AI on jobs.

The British computer scientist is worried that low-level roles will be scrapped by automated productivity, “making more money for the rich, and not the people whose jobs get lost,” the BBC reports.

Also read: Has Safety Taken a Back Seat at OpenAI?

AI Godfather States UBI is a ‘Good Idea’

Major technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Tencent and Meta are in a race to develop supersmart artificial intelligence systems that can outperform humans in most profitable work.

Hinton, a computer science professor whose work in so-called neural networks helped make advanced AI possible, believes that governmental financial support will be needed to cushion people rendered jobless by AI.

I was consulted by people in Downing Street and I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea

Geoffrey Hinton

UBI is a regular cash payment made by a government to its adult citizens to help them meet their basic needs, according to Investopedia. While Hinton addressed his concerns to the UK, governments worldwide are trying to come up to speed with the coming wealth gap.

His proposal concurs with leading actors in the AI race – Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Mark Zuckerberg and others – who have also advocated a universal basic income to broadly distribute wealth gained through AI.

AI Godfather

AI to Take Over From Humans

According to the BBC, Geoffrey Hinton gave a 50% chance that artificially intelligent systems will try to take over from humans five to 20 years from now, leading to an “extinction-level threat.”

“What I am most concerned about is when these (AI systems) can autonomously make the decisions to kill people,” said Hinton, who is widely regarded as the godfather of AI.

Hinton warned that, in future, AI could “evolve to get the motivation to make more of itself” and independently “develop a sub-goal of getting control”.

As nations develop AI for military use, Hinton sees value in international treaties similar to the Geneva Conventions – a set of agreements that regulate the conduct of armed conflict and protect civilians.

However, the AI godfather also fears that governments may only commit to precautionary mechanisms “after very nasty things have happened.” That’s because geopolitical actors such as China, Russia and the West are already invested in a military artificial intelligence race.

Also read: Council Of Europe Adopts First International AI Treaty to Protect Human Rights

Millions of Jobs at Risk

Hinton’s comments come against the backdrop of a recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which estimates that up to eight million workers, especially part-time, entry-level and back-office staff, could lose their jobs to AI in the UK.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund, warns that 60% of jobs are threatened by AI in high-income nations, 40% in emerging economies and 26% in low-income countries.

While low-income countries are least threatened, poor distributive mechanisms make them a focus for extreme economic inequality, it adds.

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