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Why Machines (Not Homo Sapiens) Should Generate a Basic Income for Mankind by Hilde Latour


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Where humans have an intrinsic motivation to earn money, machines do not. If we would build infrastructures from machines or technologies that own themselves, the returned value can be put back into the system and/or society, to be used for the common good. The best way to do that, is through a Basic Income.

Using self-owning autonomous driving cars as an example within disruptive infrastructures (transport and energy), the future will be presented as an inclusive and caring society, characterized by abundance and planetary integrity. The combination of these self-owning machines with basic income, will directly effect 16 of the 17 sustainable development goals of the united nations!
This world with real freedom of choice is within reach for all of us, co-created from bottom up with “smart contracts” between machines and technologies in a global digital network.

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Why Machines (Not Homo Sapiens) Should Generate a Basic Income for Mankind by Hilde Latour

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals as part of a new sustainable development agenda of the United Na?ons. 2
  3. 3. The United Na?ons agreed to -  end poverty, -  protect the planet and -  ensure prosperity for all Each goal has specific targets to be achieved by 2030. If you want to know more about these specific targets, you can find it on the website of the United Na?ons. 3
  4. 4. On the website of the United Na?ons, you can read the following statement: “For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you” I will show you that a fiLh party can contribute: the machine. 4
  5. 5. This is the ?tle of my presenta?on and let me introduce it a liNle bit before I carry on. Homo Sapiens has not been very successful in solving the problem of poverty and inequality so far. As long as I can remember, severe inequality, resul?ng in groups of people that have no access to basic needs, has been a global issue and many genera?ons of poli?cians and others have tried to solve the problem. But whatever the reason was, the inequality did not decline, it increased. In fact, we can even see an accelera?on in growth of the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of the World’s popula?on. Let’s have a look at some figures first before we talk about the machines. 5
  6. 6. Here you can see the development of income growth in the US between 1980 (the grey line) and 2014 (the red line). On the leL side of the figure you can see that people with lower incomes used to see their income grow by more than 3% in the 80’s, but in 2014 the growth was below zero. On the right side of this figure, you can see that only the ultra rich have seen their income grow faster in 2014 compared to 1980, with a growth of almost 6% for the happy few. The growth factor increased by 500%! And I must admit that I expect this is an under-es?ma?on, because since the Panama papers we all know for sure that not all wealth and income is out in the open. 6
  7. 7. In my own country, one of the richest countries in the world, The Netherlands, we see the same paNern. This figure is not about income growth, but about wealth distribu?on. But you can calculate the growth of wealth for the richest 10% Wealth grew by 5,5% per year on average for the richest 10% between 2006 and 2014. Very different compared to the poorest households who went from zero in 2006 to below zero in 2014. In plain language; they are in debt, oLen dependent on food distribu?on and the children in these households live in true poverty. In the Netherlands. 7
  8. 8. But hey, that was un?l 2014 right? In 2015 the United Na?ons defined 17 sustainable development goals, so things may look beNer now… 8
  9. 9. If we want to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all, we should at least be moving towards the green line. The poorest should see their income grow significantly and the richest should stop growing in income for a while, because they already have more than they can ever spend. Let’s evaluate last year, 2017, and see how we are doing on a global level 9
  10. 10. According to Oxfam, 42 people held as much wealth as 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world’s popula?on in 2017. There was a new record last year: one new billionaire was created every two days. The boNom 50% of the world’s popula?on had no increase in wealth. While 82% of the global wealth generated in 2017 went to the most wealthy 1%. Of course this is not OK! And we are heading the wrong direc?on. Again. 10
  11. 11. And now some of us blame it on the robots… Well, let me tell you this: robots are not the problem! Machines have no intrinsic mo?va?on to earn money and accumulate wealth. Of course many jobs will disappear (and new ones will come), but if the advantages are shared amongst the popula?on, that would be great. It would give us ?me to do something else. No, it is not the robots, it is the market economy with its profit-based companies and private ownership, not the machines that define access to basic needs. And on a global level, poli?cians did not succeed to ensure access to these basic needs for all people and I can see no signs that they will succeed in the near future. So what would happen if we would allow the machines to generate a ci6zen’s basic income? 11
  12. 12. We already know from basic income pilots and cash transfer programs around the world that there are numerous posi?ve effects. Effects on healthcare, educa?on, nutri?on, empowerment of women, crime rates go down, sanita?on improves, there is less child labour, adult-work evolves, but people keep working and more people earn money from some kind of work, income (on top of basic income) increases, savings go up, people become more involved in the community. And more evidence will come soon from the pilots that are s?ll in progress. 12
  13. 13. Basic Income alone has a direct effect on at least 11 of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Na?ons if we look at the evidence. And, very important, it is more effec?ve than targeted programs 13
  14. 14. Last year, the IMF compared the effects of targeted subsidies on food and kerosene that were spend in 2011 and 2012 in India, with a basic income. They calculated that if the same amount of money that was spent on those subsidies had been used as a basic income for all ci?zens of India, it would have been more effec?ve for the poor and other groups. 14
  15. 15. Whether it is because of the emo?ons that come with -  the evidence -  the ever-growing inequality -  the future of jobs -  or other reasons Basic Income is very popular amongst the popula?on. The majority of Europeans is now in favour of a basic income and would like to see it implemented today. 15
  16. 16. In the landscape of possibili?es to finance a ci?zen’s basic income we have a variety of op?ons. Of course we have the experiments with and without poli?cal involvement and we have the expected savings that come from the posi?ve effects of basic income, such as savings on healthcare, bureaucracy and targeted subsidies. Then we have op?ons that depend on poli?cal will and decision making on the one hand, such as income tax, VAT, property tax and ci?zen’s dividend. And on the other hand we have ini?a?ves that are implemented outside of the poli?cal spectrum. We have NGO’s distribu?ng money from dona?ons such as Mein Grundeinkommen, Give Directly, Mannabase and others. In addi?on to that we could co-create a network of self-owning machines and infrastructures from the real economy, using new technologies such as robots and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). 16
  17. 17. Instead of being afraid of the fourth industrial revolu?on and its effect on the job market, we can and should look at the opportuni?es. It really is ?me for an economic model that is designed to serve the common good and the technology that enables us to create that ourselves, is available today. Thanks to the technological developments. If WE build the machines and WE program the algorithms for the world of tomorrow, then WE can decide what OUR world of tomorrow will look like. 17
  18. 18. There are a couple of ambi?ous ini?a?ves running, that intend to use cryptocurrencies to distribute a basic income to people all over the world. A few examples: When you sign up for SwiAdemand, you will get free “swiLs” every day and you can exchange those with goods and services offered by other users. You can see it as a kind of parallel economy and its success depends on what people will offer in exchange for swiLs. Solidar is a similar program, but solidar can also be exchanged for bitcoins. In Duniter (French) you will create a wallet of Ğannonce (Ğ1) and then find someone who already owns Ğ1 ready to make an exchange. So you need to be accepted by peers first, before you can join. Mannabase (formerly known as Grantcoin) on the other hand, works with dona?ons and distributes those in the form of mannas, a cryptocurrency that can be exchanged into USD. As a user, you will receive a share of the dona?ons once a week and you will also be able to donate your mannas to charity or other users. You can see it as a world-wide distribu?on system for money. 18
  19. 19. But the technology behind cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technology, offers much more than an alterna?ve currency system. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) enables us to leave the centralized control systems behind us and we can also organize many transac?ons autonomously in a so-called Decentralized Autonomous Organiza?on (DAO). You can use smart contracts, which is nothing more than a set of rules programmed into code And if you use open source licences, you enable the users to improve the code and solve problems while using the system. This ensures that the changes made are really useful for the users and not targeted at making more profit for the owners. If you build it here, it immediately is everywhere because of the internet. 19
  20. 20. I will now take you on a journey to show you the possibili?es in the physical world, using two infrastructures we all use: transport and energy. First, I repeat the statement that machines have no greedy character. They have no intrinsic mo?va?on to earn money and accumulate wealth. It is very important that you realise that, because you do not have to be afraid of machines and robots, they are not to blame. Second, there is no shortage of energy. The sun will con?nue to shine, the wind will con?nue to blow, water will con?nue to stream downhill. In 2017, a senior developer in the energy sector, Jan Peter Doomernik from the Netherlands, came up with a crazy thought: What could happen if we shiL the ownership from profit-based companies or man to the machine, allow these machines to talk to each other without human interference and program this infrastructure of self-owning machine to serve the common good? A new approach for genera?ng a ci?zen’s basic income was born from this crazy thought. 20
  21. 21. If we look at the transport sector, we see a rapid development towards autonomous driving vehicles and it is expected that by 2040, 75% of all vehicles will be autonomous driving vehicles. The market value represented here is enormous, while many people working in the transport sector will loose their jobs and the profit will be concentrated among a few companies and its shareholders. This will not help to decrease the income inequality if we don’t do anything, on the contrary. 21
  22. 22. At the same ?me, ren?ers are thriving from the profits earned from patents related to autonomous driving, which is another reason why we should avoid intellectual ownership and use open source code as much as we can. We saw almost 6000 patent filings related to autonomous driving between 2010 and july 2017! It indicates how fast the developments are going and the economic impact companies expect it to have. They all want a piece of the cake. 22
  23. 23. And if you look at how tax rates are divided, you can see that corporate tax rates are significantly lower than the rates paid by ci?zen’s. This is another gap that has been growing shamelessly over ?me. Between 2003 and 2017, the gap increased by -  42% in the OECD countries -  21% in the EU -  70% on a global level So the tax load remains unevenly divided and it is gepng worse. And if you want to understand in detail why ren?ers thrive and work does not pay, I can recommend you this book: the corrup?on of capitalism by Guy Standing 23
  24. 24. But s?ll, I feel it as a moral responsibility to remain op?mis?c. Because op?mism is the only way to get forward, everything else is paralyzing. You can see DLT and DAO as a layer on top of the internet in a peer-to-peer network. And if WE build the machines and WE program the algorithms for the world of tomorrow, then WE can decide what OUR world of tomorrow will look like. And we have seen that we can not leave it to policy makers alone, we will have to help them. We have to do our part as well, using the technology that is available today. 24
  25. 25. You have to be aware of the fact that most DLT environments such as blockchain have a transac?on fee built into their system. As a so-called miner, you can earn from transac?ons made by others, and a new income source for ren?ers is born. But alterna?ve DLT environments already exist, where there are no transac?on fees because the miner is the user, such as IOTA and others. This means that we can now make transac?ons in the digital environment without any cost. 25
  26. 26. So if you look fearless towards the future, the fourth industrial revolu?on actually enables man to co- create a network of infrastructures that is very cheap in use. It can compete with the products and services offered by profit-based companies. If we let machines own themselves in a decentralized autonomous organiza?on, we can use autonomous driving cars for example at a very cheap price. Simply because we don’t have profit-based companies in the system, no patents and no transac?on fees. The added value can then be distributed as a ci?zen’s basic income and used for the common good. 26
  27. 27. So the technology is there and we will have this autonomous driving car that is using solar panels to charge its baNery driving around very soon. It will soon be able to drive itself to the carwash, which is going to be a robot. it will soon be able to drive itself to the repair shop, which is going to be a robot. it can be used for transport by someone who pays a small fee and the charged baNery can deliver the electricity for this laser show at night, when the car is not used for transport And when this guy at the party has finished dancing, the electric car will drive him home again. When he wakes up, he will feel good, either because he drove in a luxurious car and never thought he would, because he realises he has contributed to a basic income for mankind, or because of the combina?on. The users / consumers add value to the infrastructure and this value can be used for maintenance and to grow the system. Once the infrastructure is big enough, part of the returned value can be distributed to the ci?zen’s of the country as a basic income. 27
  28. 28. You can use any machine, but let’s start with a couple of self-owning Tesla’s as an example (Elon Musk is in favour of a basic income, so perhaps he can donate a few to get us started). So in this story Elon Musk will donate a few Tesla’s model 3 and we choose a small city on a good loca?on to start. We let the system grow un?l we have enough cars to meet the needs from the ci?zens of Schagen for example, with approximately 20.000 households. When we reach that threshold, we can start distribu?ng part of the returned value as a basic income to all ci?zens in The Netherlands. 28
  29. 29. More cars and other technologies can be added and the basic income wallet will grow. By that ?me, we will have modular cars that are 3d-printed in self-owning factories and charge themselves while driving. 29
  30. 30. More ci?es will follow, and we will reach a state of abundance in the Netherlands. Then, part of the basic income can be distributed to other countries. 30
  31. 31. By that ?me, more countries will already have adopted this idea and together we can accumulate enough capital to generate a basic income for mankind. Slowly but surely and gaining speed. 31
  32. 32. In this example where the transport and energy sector are involved, 7 of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Na?ons will be affected directly, without including the effect of a basic income. But if we leave it to the exis?ng economic model and don’t include a shared profit model, this effect will be neutralised because it will increase inequality and poverty for a huge group of people. 32
  33. 33. That means that combined with a basic income we are now talking about affec?ng 16 of the 17 goals in a direct manner. Do you know which goal is s?ll missing? 33
  34. 34. The one that is missing is the goal to improve life below water. So if you have an idea that includes life below water in an infrastructure of self-owning machines that generate basic income, I would like to invite you to share that with me, or work it out at a Hackathon if you are par?cipa?ng in one right now. 34
  35. 35. Because if we can influence 16 goals 35
  36. 36. It must be possible to meet them all and I can’t wait to see that happen. 36