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Godfather of AI urges U.K. government to adopt Universal Basic Income (UBI) for adult Britons
By Belle Carter // May 26, 2024

The so-called "godfather" of artificial intelligence (AI) has called on the British government to consider adopting a universal basic income (UBI) for adult Britons.

Renowned AI expert Geoffrey Hinton made this proposal during talks with British government officials. He expressed worry that AI would take a lot of mundane jobs globally, adding that it will be up to governments to deal with the growing impact of AI and prevent income inequality.

"I was consulted by people in Downing Street, and I advised them that UBI was a good idea," Hinton shared to the BBC.

According to him, the AI revolution will mostly benefit the rich. Regular employees such as blue-collar workers and those in jobs that can be automated could lose their means of income. "That is going to be bad for society," Hinton warned.

The AI expert also expressed fears that AI could become an extinction-level threat for humans in the next five to 20 years. He warned about the growing use of AI chatbots, saying that "a form of that is just better than biological intelligence." Hinton also pointed out that the competition to develop products rapidly meant there was a risk tech companies "can autonomously decide to kill people" by increasing their dependence on AI.

According to the BBC, UBI enables all employees to receive a basic salary from the government, regardless of their financial status. Every person is granted a set amount of money regularly under this scheme.

Hinton is the pioneer of neural networks, which form the theoretical basis of the current explosion in artificial intelligence. He used to work at Google, but left the tech giant so he could talk more freely about the dangers of unregulated AI. (Related: "Godfather of AI" quits Google, warns of risks associated with the technology he helped develop.)

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8M jobs in the U.K. are at risk as AI takes over

A spokesman for Downing Street clarified that there were "no plans to introduce a UBI" as of writing. But Hinton isn't the only one emphasizing the need for a UBI once AI becomes more ubiquitous. His student Sam Altman, the founder and current CEO of OpenAI, is also delving into the concept through his other venture, Worldcoin.

Through Worldcoin, Altman is focused on providing UBI via the adoption of a cryptocurrency token provided free of charge. But to avail of the token, people must sign up to the service and submit to a retinal scan to verify their identity.

In March, the London-based Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said that nearly eight million U.K. jobs could be lost to AI in a "jobs apocalypse." The think tank's report warned women, younger workers and those on lower wages to be at most risk from automation.

IPPR said that entry-level, part-time and administrative jobs were most exposed to being replaced by AI under a "worst-case scenario" for the rollout of new technologies in the next three to five years. It also mentioned that a growing numbers of companies are adopting generative AI technologies, which can read and create text, data and software code, to automate everyday workplace tasks.

In the worst-case scenario for the second wave of AI, 7.9 million jobs could be displaced, the report said, with any gains for the economy from productivity improvements canceled out with zero growth in GDP within three to five years. In a best-case scenario for full augmentation of the workforce with generative AI, no jobs would be lost.

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Watch the video below that talks about AI and humanity's divided and grim future.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.

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