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Elon Musk Predicts Jobs Will Become ‘Kinda Like a Hobby’: ‘The AI and Robots Will Provide Any Goods and Services You Want’

Elon Musk Predicts Jobs Will Become 'Kinda Like a Hobby'

In a bold vision of the future, Elon Musk recently predicted that jobs might become more of a hobby than a necessity as artificial intelligence (AI) and robots take over the provision of goods and services. Speaking at the inaugural AI Safety Summit in the UK, Musk elaborated on how advanced AI could fundamentally alter the nature of work and income.

The Prediction

Musk foresees a future where AI and robots handle the majority of tasks currently performed by humans, rendering traditional jobs largely obsolete. He suggested that AI could become a “magic genie” capable of fulfilling virtually any human desire, thereby transforming the economic landscape. According to Musk, this shift will lead to a “universal high income” rather than the often-discussed universal basic income. He believes that the financial benefits provided by AI will equalize income disparities and elevate living standards globally​​.

Universal High Income

The concept of a universal high income is Musk’s alternative to universal basic income (UBI), which has been championed by other tech leaders like Sam Altman and Mark Zuckerberg. While UBI is designed to provide a safety net by giving all citizens a basic financial allowance, Musk’s universal high income implies a higher standard of living funded by the economic surplus generated by AI and robotic labor. This idea aligns with Musk’s vision of an “age of abundance,” where economic productivity is maximized by technological advancements​​.

Historical Context and Skepticism

Musk’s predictions evoke comparisons to past technological revolutions. Historically, technological advancements have both created and destroyed jobs, often leading to significant social and economic shifts. In the 1960s, economist Robert Solow argued against the notion that automation would lead to widespread unemployment, although he acknowledged the displacement of specific types of labor​​. Similarly, today’s AI advancements are expected to transform job markets, but there is debate over whether this will result in a net loss of jobs or simply a shift in the types of employment available.

Critics argue that Musk’s vision may be overly optimistic. The transition to a world where AI performs most tasks could be fraught with challenges, including the need for new economic models and social safety nets to support displaced workers. Additionally, the timeline for such a transformation remains unclear, and there is skepticism about the feasibility of achieving a universal high income without significant policy changes and global cooperation​.

Implications for the Future

If Musk’s predictions come to pass, the implications for society could be profound. The nature of work would change dramatically, potentially freeing people from mundane or repetitive tasks and allowing them to pursue more creative or fulfilling activities. However, the path to this future is uncertain, and it raises important questions about how society will manage the transition and ensure equitable distribution of the benefits generated by AI and robotics.

As the debate continues, it is clear that the advancement of AI will play a crucial role in shaping the future of work. Policymakers, business leaders, and workers alike must grapple with the potential impacts and prepare for a future that could look very different from the present.


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