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Human Resources

Free money: The answer to a post-automation world?

Several forces are coming together at once. Capitalism appears to be broken. A stunning number of people hate their jobs – and view them as a pointless waste of their lives for money – and yet, terrifyingly, this grindingly tedious necessity may be about to be stolen from us by machines. This has left many people arguing that Universal Basic Income (UBI) – which gives people free money just for living – could be the answer.

There are a number of facets to this whole problem. Firstly, there is little doubt most people simply do not like their jobs. Gallup research from a few years back shows that feedback from adults from 142 different countries reveals on average 63% are not engaged and 24% are actively disengaged by their work. A breakdown of results by region can be found below.

Secondly, there is not too much doubt that automation will cull a large number of existing jobs. However, estimates vary on the sheer scale of this. It is also hard to accurately guesstimate how many new roles – many of which humanity simply may not have thought up yet – will get created in their place. (A decade ago would you have dreamt of the slew of marketing jobs loosely based around stalking people round LinkedIn?) While how we prepare for the future jobs that don’t exist is already the subject of endless industry debate.

Justin Lyon, founder of cloud simulation platform, Simudyne says: “Both blue and white collar workers will be affected by automation. [And] most of the jobs that we are educating our younger generations for will be gone or on the decline by the time they enter the job market. Law, medicine, accounting are just some of the professions that will be losing a lot of people to automation.”

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