Worried About Your UBI? Silicon Valley Wants to Help You Help Yourself
To all the truck drivers, cashiers, accountants, and babysitters out there — and to Bachelor host Chris Harrison — you have our sincerest apologies for automating away all of your jobs.
We know how you feel. We, meaning the undersigned founders and entrepreneurs of “the Valley,” as we like to call it, have all experienced valuations that were lower than expected, or rejection by a woman whom we offered to teach how to innovate. These kinds of things suck. But we got over these crushing disappointments, and with our help, we think you will, too.
As you’ve probably heard by now, to compensate you for your loss of income, identity, and self-respect, we’ve decided to give you, and all American adults, a universal basic income (UBI).
We’ve been fielding a lot of questions from people like yourselves seeking to better understand your prognosis. Most of you want to know what occasioned your UBI (it was robots), and how you might better prepare yourselves for life with a UBI (reading this is a good start!). You ask if life with UBI will be as meaningful and fulfilling as life without it.
The truth is, no, not quite. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create meaning within your new reality. Ask yourself: what’s possible with a UBI that wasn’t possible before? Can you use it to attract a new life partner? Or maybe master a new skill or hobby? The sky’s the limit. (Actually, $1000 a month is the limit, but focus groups have told us that referring to this number as “the sky” will better enable us to enable you to use your UBI to reach your full potential).
It’s completely normal to feel pain and discomfort brought on by your UBI. This should fade over time as you acclimate to life with your UBI. If months pass and you still haven’t found any relief from these symptoms, we suggest you consult a medical professional to discuss the sensations you’re feeling, which may include burning feelings of shame, and pain while yearning for a life in which your labor was valued.
You may wish you could return to life before your UBI, to a simpler time, when going to the bathroom wasn’t such an unpleasant experience (we’d also like to apologize for the now ubiquitous talking toilets. Instantaneous evaluation of stool composition seemed like a great idea at the time).
We hope you’re not being too hard on yourself about your UBI, because there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. Getting a UBI is now inevitable for everyone who engages in capitalism, and we think you’re better off for it. Think of it as a rite of passage for teenagers turning 18, a kind of “welcome to adulthood” moment not too different from getting your driver’s license (back when those were a thing) or entering puberty.
This may not be what you wanted to hear, but the only way for our 21st century economy to function properly is for every American adult to have a UBI. If there were another viable solution, rest assured we would have found it by now. After all, that’s what we’ve spent most of our time working on these last few years (well, that and apps. That’s where all the money is). Elon suggested sending you all to Mars, but we reminded him that every American has a Constitutionally-guaranteed right not to be sent to Mars without his or her permission.
We wanted to suggest a few other strategies for coping with your UBI that we believe may be useful during this time. Because of the stigma surrounding UBI, you may feel ashamed to discuss it, even with close friends and family. We recommend discussing it as often as possible with as many people as possible, including complete strangers. No detail is too embarrassing or too trivial. Let it all out. We’ve created a few reddit threads for this exact purpose, including r/MyUBIKeepsMeUpAtNight and r/HowCanIMakeMyUBIGoAway.
When it comes to your UBI, we’re all in this together. Your pain is our pain. Your discomfort is our discomfort. We may not all be “equal” in the traditional sense — as wealth creators, our lives are technically more valuable than yours — but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care about what you’re thinking and feeling, if for no other reason than we would prefer to avoid a drone-based sequel to the French Revolution.
We know there will be lots of angry comments at the bottom of this Medium post, so we’ve turned comments off. It’s not that we don’t WANT to hear from you, it’s that we feel that we have explained ourselves sufficiently, and believe you would be better served by discussing any outstanding concerns on the reddit threads referenced above.
Peace, love, and UBI,