Technological progress should not simply serve capitalism

by Aris Telonis

Andrew Ng, an AI expert, made several interesting observations and proposals during a recent conference in the US. Ng knows well how technological progress and automation can threaten jobs. Yet he is against a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and instead suggests a “New Deal” so that people get free access to education. In other words, a Universal Basic Education Fund.

At DiEM25, our proposed alternative to UBI is a Universal Basic Dividend (UBD), which expands on the concept of UBI to allow people to directly benefit from the profits of companies that they themselves have funded through their taxes. Whether or not this is via an Education Fund, as Ng suggests, debating these proposals is something we should all be doing .

Whatever the model, we should also ensure that it is not designed to simply serve capitalism: people should be able to use the money in an education field they choose, not something that is dictated by their company’s capital interest. Such money should be distributed to address social inequalities, not make them worse. That should happen in an evolving society; as Ng put it “we need to train them for the new jobs”.

Technological progress should help improve people’s lives, not simply serve capitalism, as our European New Deal spells out. Join us and let’s make it policy!

Aris is a member and volunteer of the DiEM25 movement.

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