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The idea of a Global Income also known as universal basic income (UBI) is one that is growing in popularity. Many industrial leaders are already lending their voices towards this campaign, considering the impact that emerging technologies would have on the earning power of the world population. When responding to the question “what is Global Income?”, a number of factors have to be considered. This is what major industry leaders like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckeberg and several others consider while rendering their opinions on the possibilities surrounding the idea of a Global Income.

The global rate of unemployment is on the rise, with a likelihood of increasing significantly in the coming years. AI, automation machines and robots are taking over jobs. The tasks that used to be performed by human beings are now more efficiently executed by these machines. These machines are not just mere substitutes, they provide a more efficient and cost effective way of carrying out tasks. Hence, the implementation of modern technology means that more revenue is being generated in the industries.

Why is Global Income necessary?

The campaign for a Global Income, as promoted by several industry leaders, is based on several key factors. First of all, we will all agree that most of the people who are losing their jobs are simply victims of technological advancement. They are not lazy or unskilled, rather they are a group that fall into the category of those that technological advancement has caught up with.

Take for example, a public relations officer that has been in practice for several years and holds all the required qualifications. This individual loses his or her job to an AI answering machine running on a computer algorithm. The machine works round the clock and does not require to be paid any salary. The company adopts this technology in order to save costs and become more efficient. Unfortunately for the officer, the job is lost and source of income terminated.

The campaign for a Global Income suggests that people who fall into the category that described above should be eligible for some form of intervention. This intervention should be aimed at enabling them to take care of the basic needs of life like food, clothing and shelter.

Where will the money to fund a Global Income come from?

Therefore, in finding an answer to the question “what is Global Income?”, we could describe it as a state funded payment to citizens that will enable them to take care of the basic necessities. According to Elon Musk, this is as a result of high-tech mechanization.

Suggestions for the implementation of a Global Income do not exist in a vacuum. Most of the proponents of this concept argue from the angle that automation of work systems and high-tech mechanization attracts more revenue. They are usually more profitable than the use of human resources to execute tasks. Therefore, the suggestion is that a part of this profit can be channeled towards the implementation of a Global Income.

As far back as 2016, Elon Musk had forecasted a dwindling future for job security. He described it as a problem that will become so severe that the government will practically pay people to live. Other industry leaders who share this opinion include Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group; Mark Zuckeberg, founder of Facebook; Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack; Sam Altman, president of the Y Combinator, among others.

Key Industry Players are in support of a Global Income

The revolution that is brought about by emerging technologies cannot be denied or overlooked. They are providing us with more efficient and effective ways to carry out tasks and provide solutions. This does not happen without consequences. 

The inequality created by these innovations in terms of income gap between the rich and the poor continues to increase. For instance, these three people, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, are worth more than the 160 million poorest Americans. This inequality gap is expected to increase in the coming years.

Technological advancement is a good thing, it makes for productivity and is supposed to improve the overall quality of human existence. However, in order to extract the full benefit of these advancements and explore the utmost use of innovations, the fundamental question of “what is Global Income?” must be answered correctly. From all indications, it should be a win-win situation for everyone. Technology will give us better qualities of life, without taking away the basics of existence from humanity.