here are economic problems with both of your solutions, unfortunately.

There are economic problems with UBI as well. There’s no solutions here that DON’T have problems.

One major problem with banning AI and Automation in specific sectors (such as truck driving), or in general, is that it puts you (a country) at a competitive disadvantage vis à vis other countries.

Well, you’re assuming that the US is the only nation that will experience the problem, which is not true. And we are already at a competitive disavantage to third-world based on wages.

A second problem specific to truck driving is that by banning self-driving trucks you are choosing to suffer an artificially high rate of accidents.

I see this as peripheral to the main issue. Truck driving was just one example. I could have just as well suggested we rip out all the electronic toll machines and go back to toll-takers.

if something can be done more efficiently by AI / Robots, why pay extra to have it done by humans? Isn’t this going to be seen as make-work, equivalent to having prisoners break rocks to keep them occupied?

You misunderstand. There are loads of jobs where it would be great to have MORE people doing them, but the employing agency can’t afford more people doing them. There’s no school district in the country that couldn’t find work for double the number of teacher’s aids that they have today.

To look at a more rigorous example, there are potholes all over most major cities. They dont’ get filled because the city can’t afford more workers. Again, the job isn’t one that can be done by robots alone; and everyone benefits by having all the potholes filled.

You need to think in terms of the WPA. The WPA was considered better than just welfare, and a lot of things got built that wouldn’t have been built otherwise, but were still useful.

None of it is “make work”.

And people forced to do make-work will be angry… and angry people vote for radical change. In other words, as the number of “unemployed” rise, it’s not a stable situation in a democracy.

That’s the entire point. It’s NOT make work, and UBI would add to the anger and unrest you describe, because there’s not going to be enough money (do the math) to provide for any more than subsistence living.

UBI is a genuinely difficult thing to accept, particularly if you come from (as most of us do) a cultural background that values work.

I strongly disagree with the implication that “valuing work” is something that is learned. There is no evidence for this; I believe it is innate.

But the alternatives seem much worse, if AI and Automation produce massive job destruction as they are projected to do. I’ve laid out the arguments and counter-arguments, in an analysis here on Medium: ( I’d welcome critiques and feedback.

Be glad to look at it later.

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.