Presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks A.I. and a universal basic income

Andrew Yang is the CEO and founder of Venture for America and just so happens to be running for president in 2020. Today, our very own Jeremy Kaplan sat down with Yang to not talk about politics, but to shed light on what the future with artificial intelligence looks like and how a universal payout could make the future not seem so daunting.

Yang has been a “serial entrepreneur” for decades now and is driven by statistics and data. He believes that common jobs will be replaced by A.I. and to combat the loss of jobs he came up with a “Freedom Divided”, where everyone between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive $1,000 every month. He mentions that retail jobs are the most common jobs in America and since the introduction of online shopping and more importantly Amazon, larger retailers are being forced to close there doors, which mean fewer jobs for the average American.

Another job that will be gone is truck drivers, because of the introduction of self-driving cars. Volvo has just introduced self-driving trucks to start working at a mine in Norway. Yang went into detail about how it would the introduction of his Freedom Divided would help.

“Another thing you might not think of as A.I. is self-driving cars and trucks, and self-driving trucks, in particular, are going to be very devastating to the 3.5 million Americans who are truck drivers right now, it’s the most common job in 29 states. If you see you these things coming in the next five to 10 years you start reflecting on what a meaningful solution will be and one of the solutions, I proposed is a universal basic income of $1,000 per American adult, which I have christened the Freedom Dividend because Americans like the word freedom.”

But how would we pay for something that gives each American $1,000 per month?

“The headline cost would be about $2.4 trillion per year … it sounds like a lot, but for context, our economy is grown to $19 trillion, up $4 trillion in the last 10 years alone, and the federal budget is around $4 trillion,” Yang explains. “So the big change we would need to make to pay for the Freedom Dividend is right now the huge winners are going to be Amazon, Google, Facebook, really the bigger companies that are going to capture the gains of A.I. and big data and the American public is going to see very little of that … so what we need to do is join every other advanced economy and have a value-added tax which would then give the public a sliver of every Amazon purchase or every Google search, and because our economy is so massive a value-added tax at even half the European level would generate $800 billion in new revenue.”

On top of that, Yang accounted for the $800 billion we currently spend on welfare programs, plus the economic growth we would experience by giving Americans the Freedom Dividend would pay for the $2.4 trillion.

With the rise of A.I., there will be an introduction to new jobs, but as Yang mentions those jobs won’t be suitable for the people whose jobs were replaced in the first place.

“By the numbers, it’s definitely creating jobs but it’s creating smaller numbers of different jobs, in different places, for different people, with different skills than the folks that are being displaced.”

With the Freedom Dividend, Yang mentions that people will have the ability to get trained in a new skill. Next, Yang talked about millennials and how they get a bad name for things that are out of their control.

“Young people are very concerned about their future … they are graduating from school with all this debt and then they are having trouble finding a stable job that will really provide them a ladder upwards and they know it … and the worst is that we blame young people for it … I mean why has college become two in a half times for expensive than when we went to school.”

Lastly, Yang mentions that there are studies where a universal payout would make people’s lives demonstrably better and would even give people more confidence in starting their own business.

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36 thoughts on “Presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks A.I. and a universal basic income

  • February 15, 2019 at 5:45 am

    People aren't going to be too happy when that VAT causes the price of everything in the grocery store to skyrocket

  • February 17, 2019 at 2:30 am

    this was ordered incorrectly. The AI question should have been first instead people will hear of this new concept called UBI and click off. Also if the US wants to compete with China, a country whose president is reading The Master Algorithm(a TECHNICAL AI BOOK), it needs someone who understands AI. It is both the biggest threat and the biggest opportunity in the coming decade. YANG2020
    If he doesn't become president, he needs to be an advisor. Winnie The Pooh is reading fully technical books and remaking Black Mirror and Russia has used AI to disrupt the US society. The US needs someone who can fight back.

  • February 17, 2019 at 3:45 am

    He wants to legalize pot… What are his views on gun rights or gun control?

  • February 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Who is the government? The people!

    The people built the country for how many years?

    Who built and worked at all the business for the business to grow? The people!

    Who built the cities and towns? The people!

    Many generations have invested in the country for many years.

    Universal basic income is like stock in the country, people get dividends for the work for that pass generations work.

    If there were no people there wouldn't be any business or government.

  • February 19, 2019 at 12:20 am


    Hello and thank you for the support! We appreciate it a great deal.
    HUGE news—the DNC on Thursday released the criteria for making the Democratic primary debates in June and July.

    They are:
    Receive at least 1% in 3 polls either nationally or in early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) between January 1 and mid-May; or
    receive 65,000 individual donations, including at least 200 from 20 different states. They also said that the field would be restricted to 20 candidates, so if more than 20 candidates satisfy the criteria above, they would knock out the bottom few.

    We are in a great position to make this happen. I am already at 1% nationally in a Monmouth poll, and that was before the massive growth we've seen over the past couple weeks. That said, we are going to leave nothing to chance. We have to blow through both criteria to make sure we are in the top 20 and have the chance to speak directly to the American people.

    We’ve received donations from approximately 16,000 people to date. Our new goal is to have 65,000 people donate at least $1 by May 15th for our One for Humanity campaign. Across our social media platforms, we have over 130,000 followers and friends, so we know we can do this.
    Simply put—if everyone on this list donates $1 and gets one friend or relative to donate $1, we're on the debate stage. Period.


  • February 19, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Love UBI because it's such an efficient safety net compared to the welfare state, and even though I want all of the arguments you can get in favor of it, it's simply not true that AI/automation will cause unemployment. Yes, it will take away jobs, and it won't replace all of those jobs with new ones, but that's not the way to look at it. In simple terms, it frees up money to be used for other work. To say it will cause unemployment is to say there's literally nothing else people want to use their money on. Most money is used within a week of receiving it; that won't change. What will change is what we spend it on. AI/automation lowers the prices of the goods / services people need/want, so people can afford to buy other things they need/want.

    A very easy to understand analogy is to simplify the economy to a commune-like community. Let's say instead of having a designated human dishwasher, that job is automated by a machine. The dishwasher lost their job. Is that a bad thing? Of course not, because now that human can help you clean up the house or whatever, easing your burden. It's a net benefit, not a loss. As long as human work is needed, there will be jobs. Jobs only run out in the commune when there's literally nothing to do. Literally everything would have to be automated. And even then, there will most assuredly be a demand for human-created works rather than "artificial" automated works. That's if you want to do it. At that point, most everything you'd ever want in life will cost fractions of pennies.

  • February 19, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    The only way Andrew Yang can even have the opportunity to get on stage and debate is if he has enough of a following to do so. As of now he is short a few $1 donations in order to have enough "contributors" to get on stage and compete.

    Who ever is serious about voting for him, I urge you to visit his website and donate at least just one dollar:

    This is the personal letter from Andrew above:

    This is the only chance he has a chance on making the debates

  • February 19, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    So….. If several Government programs, dolling out billions a year, has generated 0 to 15 percent… LET'S just throw 2 Trillion MORE at the problem and see how that works.. GENIUS. Throwing money that taxpayers give BACK to other tax payers who didn't give is nothing more than redistribution, and will never CREATE wealth.

    Poor people are often poor for a reason. They don't want to work. That isn't EVERYONE, and I don't mean people with little disposable income either, because that would target me as well. I mean someone who simply just doesn't have a work ethic, and no matter how much money you throw their way, it will all be gone, without a trace of any good that it did for that persons life. They will still live in a dump, or in a messy home, and they willl still never make much of themselves. Its just a fact of life.

    So, big brother here, with his little MOTHERLY giving utopia idea will not solve something that millions of mothers from times past were never able to solve, even though they gave their lifes inhertiance and all that they had, some people are just going to be a never ending drain on those around them and society in general.

    And let's be brutally honest, forcing the US to increase the national debt by over 2 trillion would destroy our economy within only a few years, with no nation wanting to extend us credit, and that is this man's end game anyway, because in the end, he despises America, and would rather other nations have our wealth and our resources, because he doesn't believe we deserve it.

  • February 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Hmm, he does have one thing right. The time is very near when almost all jobs will be done by machines. And the rich who want to save a buck, given thats what money and profit is all about. Will surely rather have 100 machines doing the work of 1000 people all the while they will be saving a buck and making profit. After all work is about the poor man making another man called the rich man, richer. And that rich man or boss, the real owner of a company cares nothing for you. They only care about making a profit and thats how its always been. So its only a matter of time before the rich man fires the people and hires the machine given the machine only requires electricity, works day and night, never needs break time or time off, never grumbles and always obeys. And its not that the machine is bad or evil or against humanity. Its just the machine is more efficient, and better at non stop work then people are. After all thats why we made machines. Thats why you drive or use the machine to get from place to place, its better at getting you around faster then your legs are. So at the rate its all going the rich man will only get richer, the poor man will only get poorer and lose jobs because of the machine. And anyone with common sense who is in business for money or profit, which is what business is all about would surely choose the machine over you. And this is still mindless machines here were talking about, we have not even reached the state or stage of thinking machines which is just around the corner as well and heading our way fast. When the machine can not only work, but think as well about work and and how to do it better and faster thus making more profit, that will only compound and increase the money for the rich man a hundred fold when the machine can actually think.

  • February 22, 2019 at 12:56 am

    I love this idea. We need to get Yang on the debate stage so he can talk about this to the masses.

  • February 24, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    If this crazy idea actually became a reality. Rent across the country would go up by at least $1000/month in a few years and property owners would just soak up the extra money:

  • February 27, 2019 at 3:18 am

    either this interviewer is being falsely combative, for the sake of asking the hard Qs, or he's being dense

    not sure which

  • February 28, 2019 at 2:40 am

    I love how people forget amazon already have conplete stores with out a single person working there, you walk in, grab what you want, and trackers/cameras keep track and charge your amazon account

  • March 1, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Im not voting for this guy, because the rest of his leftist policies suck… but he’s right on UBI.

    I think instead of universal basic income for Working Class People we should just give another 5 trillion-dollar tax cut for the wealthy and the money will come trickling down like piss on the working class. I can tell you right now, if Republicans and so called CONservatives don’t get on board with UBI, they’re finished. In their eyes only welfare maggots and these GIANT Tech companies and Billionares should see receive anything back in the form of subsidies? Why not eliminate ALL welfare (including corporate welfare) and issue UBI as supplemental income?

  • March 1, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    This interviewer is terrible. Learn to listen to the ideas, opinions, and worldviews of those who you might disagree with, ya twat.

  • March 2, 2019 at 9:36 am

    He’s awesome. Best Democratic candidate out there. Clear and concise with real solutions.

  • March 3, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Attn: Citizens

    Here is the play book.

    Month 1:

    Socialist Government: Gives you $1K
    Citizen Perspective: Life is good. Big business is paying for this. Socialism is good.

    Month 2:
    Socialist Government: pays citizen $1K
    Citizen Reality: My big mac costs $1 more, starbucks coffee costs $1 more, my Amazon purchases cost about $1 more each, Rent is increased $10, Internet is now taxed..yes.
    Citizen Perspective: This new deal was supposed to be better and now the man (Government and Corporations) is oppressing me again by raising prices. This $1K is worthless. Let me get get on the internet and complain…wait…I cannot "I didn't pay my internet TAX". You have just been SILENCED FOR GOOD.

    Don't take the poison pill of Socialism. It is an easy sell…but you give up all FREEDOM.

    $1K a month is a trap to keep you poor and Socialism will suck the life out of you. It is always stated Socialism is never implemented correctly and this time it will be different. The reality is Socialism = Communism. Study North Korea, Russia, China and talk to people who lived it.

  • March 3, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Can we actually vote in a smart, inquisitive, solution based person for once. Andrew sounds very intriguing, I lean a bit conservative mostly but can swing the other way if the person is worth it. He definitely sound like the right tool we need at this time in life to fix a system that is leaving people out.

  • March 4, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    An Asian President, the passing grade in schools will change from C- to A+

  • March 4, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I really like him. I hope he runs in future elections. I think it’s bernie’s time first.

  • March 4, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Im a recent graduate. I invisted in my education but the economy didn't invisted in us youth. You won my vote.

  • March 5, 2019 at 3:10 am

    1000 a month??? No one can live on that unless you become homeless…So Andrew Yang is promoting homelessness….shit

  • March 6, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Just heard about this guy today but I'm supremely intrigued by his platform!

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