quarta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2017

Industry 4.0, base income and European Union

          What is about to reveal the new so called Industry 4.0 and what problems might occur due to the intensive implementation of artificial intelligence in industry and our lives in general? This was one of the main topics of last years’ meeting of the World Economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Annually, the Swiss nonprofit foundation established by Klaus Schwab, whose mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas", conducts its forums and discussions over world economy, social problems and market trends. In an article for Foreign Affairs, Klaus Schwab wrote: “The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now, a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
         Those major changes in how we produce, how we consume and the whole industry in general are extremely and unexpectedly intensive. In the next few years we’ll be surrounded by artificial intelligence. From self-driving cars and non-pilot aircrafts to virtual assistances and software that could translate text live and invest our money. Those upcoming changes in industry, the way we’ll produce our everyday objects 10 years from now and the mass implementation of artificial intelligence in those processes could not only help society, but could also be the reason for many future global problems and social imbalances.
In an interview with CNBC, in November, Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined a growing list of tech executives who support universal basic income as a possible solution to the widespread unemployment that automation will likely cause. "I think we'll end up doing universal basic income," Musk told the crowd at the World Government Summit in Dubai, according to Fast Company. "It's going to be necessary."
         The idea and philosophy behind basic income is wild spread and known for many years. Basic income is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or from some other public institution, independent of any other income. Basic income systems that are financed by the profits of publicly owned enterprises (often called social dividend, also known as citizen's dividend) and are major components in many proposed models of market socialism. But is it the market oriented socialism applicable to nowadays’ society and current policies? And if it’s really going to be mandatory and necessary in the near future considering many world leaders’ and Silicon Valley titans’ thoughts and comments on it, how is Europe and European Union considering the problem and is this going to be the solution if those problems occur on the Oldest continent?
An example for future implementation of basic income was Switzerland’s 2016 referendum over the proposal for guaranteed minimum income. Many other countries around Europe are also considering this future policy. This year, Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens an unconditional monthly sum, in a social experiment that will be watched around the world amid gathering interest in the idea of a universal basic income. Under the two-year, nationwide pilot scheme, which began on 1 January, 2,000 unemployed Finns aged 25 to 58 will receive a guaranteed sum of €560 (£475). The income will replace their existing social benefits and will be paid even if they find work. Government hopes this two-year social experiment will cut red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.
No matter what kind of political-economy ideologies we’re sticking with or we consider the best for society, we have to face the facts that world as we know it won’t be the same in the near future. And is the basic income going to be the life-saving pill for the upcoming social imbalances and diseases I would like to, but cannot give a certain answer to this question now. The only thing I know is that as we’ve been doing through the long evolution of human kind we’ll have to face those problems, overcome them and live and adapt by those dynamic changes in the New Uncertain World. 


·         https://www.weforum.org/
·         https://money.bg/
·         http://www.capital.bg/
[artigo de opinião produzido no âmbito da unidade curricular “Economia Portuguesa e Europeia” do 3º ano do curso de Economia (1º ciclo) da EEG/UMinho]

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