A warning from Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking
Quincy Larson

I get that Elon Musk is concerned that the robot owners are going to end up with all the money, so we need to steal from the rich and redistribute the wealth to the poor. But what I’d much rather see than the “basic minimum income” and much better than a “minimum wage” would be a subsidized wage where the government provides or matches the first few dollars of people’s pay.

So companies could hire a $20 an hour employee but only pay $5 an hour. The remaining $15 an hour is still stolen from the rich. But at least that $15 is used to incentivize companies to find some way to get $5 of value from humans. Many basic-minimum-income-proponents are worried about how humans will find meaning in their lives if there are no jobs they can do. This would incentivize businesses to solve that problem.

No offense to Bill Gates, but taxing robots seems like a terrible idea. No matter how you write the law it is going to cause businesses to want to optimize their robots to minimize their tax burden. Now you’re wasting engineers’ time trying to work around tax laws instead of building the best robots they can and moving us toward post scarcity.

If you are going to talk to your representative about education, please don’t ask them to squander more money on it. We keep increasing spending without any improvement in education. We need to revamp education. I’d love to see hundreds of schools experimenting with new teaching methods and massive data collection and dissemination. We should be learning what works and what doesn’t, not catering to teachers’ unions.

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