Automation, Star Trek And The Universal Basic Income
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Automation, Star Trek And The Universal Basic Income

Where no one has gone before

558
Automation, Star Trek And The Universal Basic Income
treknews.net

About three months ago, YCombinator, the San Francisco-based entrepreneurship company, posted a public research request to study the efficacy of a universal basic income program. The idea behind basic income is that everybody would be granted a livable stipend, no strings attached, for the purpose of stimulating and empowering individuals to contribute in new ways to the economy and betterment of society. The modern precursor is the current welfare system. But with basic income, the idea is that there would be no qualifications or expectations to receive the stipend. While critics of the current system argue that monthly stipends encourage complacency and non-job seeking behavior, those championing this idea believe that it will be necessary to implement within a few decades given recent technological innovations displacing workers from their jobs while also lowering the cost of living.

Full disclosure: I am far from qualified to write about the intricacies of the economy and the strengths and weaknesses of public programs. But the idea of successfully implementing basic income is fascinating to me. To me, it’s futuristic. We may not have flying cars or self-toasting bread (yet), but we have computers that are faster than we had ever dreamed at this point. We have 3D printers and virtual reality and high-resolution screens in our pockets. I don’t envision technology destroying us like in The Terminator. I envision a future like Star Trek.

Further disclosure: I am a gigantic fan of Star Trek. And I mean the whole shebang: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise from time to time. I love the original series and all its spinoffs on their own merits, but above all I love the optimistic vision creator Gene Roddenberry had for the future of humankind. In the Star Trek universe, the organization Starfleet is a community of planets and species that have developed warp technology and work together to explore, learn about, and help other forms of intelligent life. Starfleet is able to function with 23rd century technology like transporters, matter replicators, and dilithium powered warp cores. According to Star Trek, the advancement of technology allowed human beings to progress as a society. Earth is unified and poverty is eliminated thanks to everyone having access to basic living requirements. With replicators, food is no longer scarce and everybody has a healthier diet. And culturally, humans value the differences between species and individuals alike, which effectively eliminates crime and fuels their desire to explore the final frontier.

Obviously this utopian future is far off and unlikely to happen in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look to Star Trek to gain some more perspective on where we are now, as a planet of humans. The on-ship computer - a talking, powerful interface that controlled the whole ship, was very futuristic to audiences in the 1960’s. But today, thanks to advancements in deep machine learning and neural mapping, we have smartphones that can recognize our commands as well. We don’t have starships that can zip across galaxies, but the same deep machine learning technology is powering self-driving cars. Automatic cars may one day put taxi and truck drivers out of business, sadly, but they could potentially reduce car accidents drastically.

Like most

Star Trek fans, I have the tendency to talk about the show far too much. I know it’s just a TV show. But when an idea like universal basic income is being entertained so seriously, to the point where people are giving it a shot, I can’t help but see the big picture. If basic income was implemented on a larger scale, it would most likely be the target of intense criticism, and rightfully so. But in Star Trek, the 21st century was plagued with economic inequality and crime, which led to another world war. The big picture though, is that providing basic income is still an ideal to strive for, even if it takes years of mistakes.
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

What Your Car's Color Says About Your Personality

Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

94239

When it comes to car shopping you likely have certain preferences, including what color it should be. Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

30 Songs On My Back-To-School Playlist For Walks To And From Class

Headed back to in-person classes means you need a pretty banging playlist to power you through those walks to class.

83495
Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

I don't know about you, but I start each day off with a one-mile walk to class. I have to have good tunes flowing through my ears during those 20 minutes, not to mention the walks between classes and the walks home. So, here is my 30 song playlist to get me through this almost unfamiliar concept we call walking to class.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Be Kind to Yourself: 8 Mental Health Tips to Try

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

49189

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Should You Own An SUV If You Live In A Snowy state?

There are many reasons to own an SUV. If you live in a cold state or a rural area, you will see that owning an SUV is very important.

45338

The gas and oil prices are too high to run in a smaller vehicle. You are better off with an SUV for hauling cargo and driving larger loads around the town. In addition, owning an SUV is more comfortable and safe than driving a smaller vehicle.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Understanding Why Dog's Lick You

It is a natural instinct for dogs to lick

57879

Why do dogs lick?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments