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The Political Future of AI: A Non-Partisan Issue or the Road to UBI?by@kitthirasaki
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The Political Future of AI: A Non-Partisan Issue or the Road to UBI?

by Kitt HirasakiApril 13th, 2023
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While AI is rapidly gaining traction in various industries, it has not yet taken on a strong political valence. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have come out with a solid stance for/against AI. This is likely to change as AI's impact on different sectors of society becomes more apparent.
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Today: AI as a Non-Partisan Issue

While AI is rapidly gaining traction in various industries, it has not yet taken on a strong political valence. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have come out with a solid stance for/against AI.


If AI development continues to be framed as a race against China, it is possible that both parties will remain positive on its development, keeping it a non-partisan issue.


However, this is likely to change as AI's impact on different sectors of society becomes more apparent.


Midjourney v5: “painterly illustration of a floating robot brain watching as a laid-off worker exits the front office door”


Democrats: AI and Economic Displacement

Knowledge works in the Democratic base are likely to be affected negatively by AI, both economically and in terms of job security. Creative artists have already expressed considerable distaste and uncertainty, and as AI digs into the corporate sector, more people will feel the pinch.


The adoption of AI will lead to more unequal returns, with the owners of businesses benefiting, as employees become more productive but don't capture the gains of increased productivity.


Wages tend to be sticky, and as the number of available jobs decreases, there will be downward pressure on wages.


This will magnify inequality and disenfranchise individuals who have invested in education only to find that their degrees are not as valuable as they once were.


Midjourney v5 “painterly illustration of a joyous businessman on a throne buoyed by colorful giant floating cybernetic brains”


Republicans: AI as a Business Booster

In the short term, Republicans may not have significant negative sentiments towards AI.


Small business owners, a core Republican constituency, are likely to benefit from AI as it enables them to access the world's knowledge in the form of a business consultant. This will provide ideas for marketing, cost-saving measures, and overall increased profitability.


Blue-collar workers in fields like construction, manufacturing, maintenance and repair will likely not be significantly affected by AI due to the physical nature of their jobs.


Midjourney v5 “ painterly illustration of a downtown city protest of the skyscraper topped with a giant glowing cybernetic brain”


The Push for UBI

As wealth concentrates among the owners of AI and companies leveraging AI, Democrats will begin pushing for a UBI to redistribute income more equitably. This will be driven by increased inequality and the economic displacement of educated professionals. Republicans will resist the idea of redistribution, preferring to let money flow to where the market dictates (aka business owners).


Midjourney v5 “painterly illustration of a robot serving appetizers to two partygoers”


The Turning Point: AI and Robotics

The political landscape may shift once AI is combined with robotics, displacing both knowledge workers and blue-collar workers. With humanoid robots taking over jobs that require physical presence, both halves of the US political spectrum may come to realize the need for a UBI.


As fewer people can make money through traditional means, the call for wealth to be shared more communally will grow louder.


Although speculative at this point, in the US, we are very likely on a path to a UBI once wealth concentrates enormously among a small set of business owners and core constituencies from both the Republican and Democratic parties are negatively impacted economically by AI.