Jerome… Don’t agree that “[a]ny job that can be automated will eventually be automated.” I think there will be a push back by consumers. For example, I would never patronize an automated coffee shop… (I’d print up a protest flyer and tape it to the door!). There are social and cultural forms of value that will survive automation. The same goes for restaurants and other businesses where the interaction between the server and the customer is part of the customer’s experience.

And then there is the “opportunity cost” present with UBI. Let me use the subways in Europe as an example… Ticket machines are increasingly replacing the workers who used to sit behind a counter. It occurred to me on vacation this past June that if they had moved those people out from behind the counter and had them at each platform, and even in the trains, the employees could have helped our family figure out which trains we needed to take and help make sure we got off at the right station. They could have had a QR code which I could have scanned and used my phone to offer them a tip… Kind of like a French girl with a magnificent voice came into our car with a little hand carried sound system and sang for the commuters.

We already have a well-tuned idea of UX (user experience) in computer software design… That needs to be brought into these areas. We have not even begun to imagine different forms of value which might be exchanged as a result of the automation of various parts of the economy.

UBI will remove the incentives to re-imagine customer experience across the board. It will not work because it will be more money chasing the same amount of value — driving prices up and leaving people no better off for having it.

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I am a charter member of the pocket-protector set, but old enough to make fun of them and otherwise have a healthy skepticism of tech.

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