Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

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COVID-19 is accelerating the pace of automation and the need for UBI

The pandemic has given us an early glimpse at how truly disruptive the fourth industrial revolution may be, and the measures we'll need to support human dignity.

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • The coronavirus crisis has acted as a catalyst for two powerful transformative forces: automation and universal basic income.
  • These two intertwined forces will undoubtedly gain steam, writes Frederick Kuo, and the pandemic will hasten the acceptance of them from a scale of decades to years or mere months.
  • This crisis has ushered in a glimpse of what a dystopian future could look like as a rapidly advancing fourth industrial revolution inevitably causes severe disruption in our economy and labor structure.
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#7: The colossal problem with universal basic income | Top 10 2019

Continuing the countdown, Big Think's seventh most popular video of 2019 explains why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.

  • Big Think's #7 most popular video of 2019 features Douglas Rushkoff, who says universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality.
  • Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
  • Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
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What skills will set you apart in the age of automation?

Robots may be able to beat us at chess, but they still have trouble when it comes to soft skills — making sense of human behavior.

  • In a rapidly changing work world it's critical to continue evolving your skills — this is especially true as automation's presence in the workforce increases.
  • Robots are good at working off of knowledge that we already know, however, they aren't that great when it comes to developing original ideas.
  • Though robots are good at jobs founded on patterns and data points, they currently don't excel when it comes to soft skills — that is, they have difficulty dealing with human behavior. On our end, soft skills help us make sense of chaotic environments where the dynamic human element is constantly in play.
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Space hotel with artificial gravity will be in orbit by 2025

The Von Braun Space Station, based on the concepts of a controversial scientist, is moving ahead with construction plans.

Credit: on Braun Space Station.
  • The Gateway Foundation is building a space hotel, based on the concepts of a Nazi and American rocket scientist Wernher von Braun.
  • The space station is expected to be operational by 2025.
  • The company plans to assemble it in orbit, using robots and drones.
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