“I think with the coming on of AI and other things there is certainly a danger of income inequality,” Branson tells CNN’s Christine Romans in a piece published Thursday.
The inequality will be caused by “the amount of jobs [artificial intelligence] is going to take away and so on,” Branson says. “There is no question” technology will eliminate jobs, he says.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates echoed this sentiment recently. “AI is just the latest in technologies that allow us to produce a lot more goods and services with less labor,” says Gates, speaking with “Hamilton” composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and his wife, Melinda, at Hunter College in New York City earlier in February. “AI will bring us immense new productivity.”
So new jobs will have to be created, says Branson.
But also, a “basic minimum earnings,” or a universal basic income, should be instituted “so that there is nobody that is having to sleep on the street,” Branson tells CNN. “One hundred percent, I think that is really important.”
Universal basic income is a cash handout, distributed irrespective of employment status.
CNN’s Romans says a common opposition to a cash handouts is that it would create a “nanny state,” where individuals are disincentivized to work.
“Some people will call it that,” says Branson, “but I think that it will come about one day,” because it will happen “out of necessity.”
To prepare, cities should experiment with universal basic income, says Branson.
“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”