Mark Cuban Says Basic Income Would Be the ‘Worst Response’ to Automation
Business mogul Mark Cuban found himself in a Twitter feud this week over how best to deal with future job losses caused by automation.
The tech investor, Shark Tank host and Dallas Mavericks owner tweeted earlier this week that “we need to prepare” for impending job losses due to robots and artificial intelligence, CNBC reports.
When asked by writer Scott Santens, an advocate of universal basic income (UBI), whether he would support the policy of governments providing a baseline income to all citizens regardless of their employment status, Cuban replied that it was “one of the worst responses” to the problem.
UBI advocates argue that giving citizens cash income is more effective than welfare programs in countries where it has been piloted, and that the policy may not, as detractors suggest, incentivize unemployment.
Countries such as Finland, Namibia and Liberia have experimented with the policy with varying results. Santens replied to Cuban with a picture of a fact sheet claiming that self-employment in Namibia rose 301% after implementing UBI, while in India recipients were found to be three times as likely to start their own businesses.
Cuban nonetheless rejected the argument, saying he had spent “a lot of time looking at it” and wasn’t convinced, prodding Santens for more evidence and triggering a trailing back and forth between the two.
The billionaire investor has previously said little about how automation may impact jobs in the future. As a major investor in tech giants like Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX), Cuban is likely to reap benefits from AI where the average worker may see less desirable outcomes.
A number of other major figures in the tech industry, such as Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, have begun to back policies like UBI out of concern that a wave of unemployment could be created by automated labor.