What Do We Do?

Please join me each week for experiences, observations, and thoughts related to our upcoming project launch (March 2019). Your likes, comments, and shares are very much appreciated…and thanks for taking the time to stop by! Nigel Oliveira  Nigel’s LinkedIn Profile

Special Series on AI and related Technology, 2 of 10: Basic Income

Last week, we were asking, “What Do You Do?”…as in, what kind of work keeps you busy, now and in the future?

This week, we’re asking, “What Do We Do?”…meaning, what are we going to do about the massive technological disruption coming our way?

As mentioned in the previous post, it appears that the majority of the public has very little idea about the scope of these coming changes. Many industries and jobs that have traditionally been safe for generations, will be shaken up beyond recognition.

Basically, Income.

It’s simply not an option to sit by and watch it happen. We need exemplary leadership, along with strategy, objectives, and tactics to prevent undue impacts to Quality of Life.

One idea that is gaining ground in some circles is ‘Basic Income’ (BI). There are many variations, but at a high-level, the concept is simple: Individuals receive periodic payments, without any upfront test or requirement.

While the idea might appear to be relatively new, references can be found all the way back to the 1500s. Declarations of support also came in the 18th century from Thomas Spence and Thomas Paine.

Milton Friedman, famous economist and Alex P. Keaton favourite, supported BI. Martin Luther King was also an advocate. As different as their backgrounds might have been, they both believed it would help reduce poverty.

And now, it’s being discussed and debated by those who would put their names forward for the highest levels of government.

“Universal Basic Income would be the greatest catalyst for arts, entrepreneurship, and creativity that we have ever seen. I mentored and ran an organization with hundreds of entrepreneurs. People create and do their best work when they have their heads up.” – Andrew Yang, candidate for American President, 2020

In order to understand the real-world effects of BI, more real-world experience and data is required. To that end, my home province (Ontario, Canada), initiated a Basic Income pilot project in 2017. Unfortunately, it was abruptly cancelled by the subsequent government, too soon after the project began to be able to derive any useful information. That battle is not over, as the matter is currently before the courts. One of the people instrumental in working toward restoration of the Basic Income pilot is Jessie Golem – Founder and Photographer, Humans of Basic Income.

“As one of the recipients of basic income through the now-cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot, I saw how basic income improved my life and bought me the time I needed to build my business. With the cancellation, I embarked on a photo series, and met people who were using basic income to go back to school, start businesses, and take steps to get themselves out of poverty. I’ve seen basic income work, and in the face of a rapidly changing society, we need to imagine a better economy that can handle the technological advances that are changing the face of labour in this world.”

Please check out Jessie Golem’s project here: Humans of Basic Income

It’s critical to note that there is significant support for BI within the business community. Floyd Marinescu, CEO and co-founder of C4 media, co-authored an open letter directed to the Ontario government (CEOs for basic income), to reverse the decision. The letter was signed by 100 Canadian CEOs. A couple of relevant passages, as quoted by the Toronto Star:

  • “As Canadian business leaders … we see a guaranteed basic income as a business-friendly approach to address the increasing financial precarity of our citizens and revitalize the economy.”
  • “As business leaders, we see basic income as good economics and enlightened self-interest: it is a pro-growth, pro-business, pro-free-market economic stimulus that will grow the economy and create jobs.”

Brave New World.

There are pros, cons, and misunderstandings contained within the BI debate; also many unanswered (and unasked!) questions. BI may not be the complete solution, but it certainly needs to be explored further.

Our new Business (launching March 2019) will help explore this topic (and many others), to help ensure we foster change and drive meaningful action. We will make ‘Quality of Life’ a priority here at home, and across the globe.

One thing is definite…sticking our collective heads in the sand about the coming changes and disruptions, and the massive impacts to humanity, is not an acceptable approach.

Please be sure to join us next week for our next Big Tech topic! There is also a special update this Thursday about the Micro-Project grant recipient!

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