OpenAI’s Sam Altman Has A New Idea For A Universal Basic Income

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, presents a novel idea for reducing the economic challenges in the era of developing artificial intelligence.

Known as “universal basic compute,” Altman presents the idea on the All-In podcast, imagining a time when everyone has access to computing capacity, much like owning a portion of sophisticated AI systems like GPT-7. He highlights the ownership’s revolutionary potential and speculates that it may be worth more than traditional cash. In this scenario, Altman sees people able to use, trade, or contribute their computational resources, which will encourage creativity and cooperation in various fields, including medical research.

The concept of a universal primary computer is consistent with Altman’s more extensive support for universal basic income (UBI), which calls for giving all individuals regular cash payments regardless of work or financial situation. Altman’s experiment, which he started in 2016, demonstrates his dedication to UBI. Over 3,000 participants received monthly payouts ranging from $50 to $1,000. Even though the results of this experiment are not yet known, Altman’s effort demonstrates his commitment to investigating novel approaches to alleviate economic disparity.

Altman’s suggestion comes when state and local governments in the US are becoming increasingly interested in guaranteed essential income initiatives. These initiatives, which give people unconditional cash rewards depending on their needs or other social criteria, have shown positive results. They are opposed, meanwhile, by conservative groups as well, who see them as possible disincentives to employment. The controversial nature of such initiatives is shown by recent legal challenges, such as the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a program in the Houston region.

Although Altman gives little information about the practical components of “universal basic compute,” its introduction will likely provoke discussions among different ideological groups. The idea raises questions about traditional economic aid and wealth distribution ideas, attracting particular attention from liberal and conservative circles. Altman’s approach offers a thought-provoking vision for utilising technical breakthroughs to promote economic justice and empowerment as AI continues to change economic landscapes.

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