Could AI Provide Universal Basic Income?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readJun 6

As artificial intelligence disrupts entire industries and professions, Universal Basic Income might be a solution.

A robot holding a pile of money on a tray. Image created using AI. (Photo: Brooke Bell)

Universal basic income: What it is and why people will be given free money for doing nothing,” reported Josephine Franks for Sky News on June 4, 2023. “Universal basic income is being trialed for the first time in England. A group of people will be given a monthly payment that isn’t means tested or tied to work, with researchers exploring what difference it makes to their lives.”

The trial, while small, is the first of its kind in the UK. Thirty people will receive a modest monthly stipend with no strings attached while researchers study the impact and outcome.

Universal Basic Income (UBI), also known as universal public income, is a policy proposal in which every citizen or resident of a country receives a regular, unconditional cash payment from the government. The key idea behind UBI is to provide individuals with a baseline level of income to meet their basic needs and ensure a minimum standard of living.

In theory, UBI is intended to be provided to all individuals within a particular jurisdiction, regardless of their income level, employment status, or other factors. It is meant to be a universal entitlement rather than a means-tested benefit.

Because UBI is provided without any requirement or condition, recipients would receive the cash payment regardless of whether they are employed, actively seeking work, or engaged in other activities.

Proponents of UBI want stipends to be distributed regularly, such as monthly or quarterly, to ensure a consistent and predictable income stream for individuals.

The payment amount of UBI is designed to cover basic living expenses, such as food, housing, healthcare, and education. The specific amount varies depending on the jurisdiction and the goals of the program.

Advocates of UBI — including prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneur and presidential candidate, Andrew Yang — argue that it could address various societal challenges, including poverty, inequality, and automation-related job displacement. They argue that UBI could provide a safety net, underpin economic security, and empower individuals by giving them more control…