SocialCoin: A Cryptocurrency for a Global Basic Income
Robotics and automation technology is advancing at an accelerating rate. Within a few decades, everything that can be automated will be automated. Construction, agriculture, folding Chipotle burritos, anything that requires a repetitive labor-based task will be automated by machines. This can be seen as a problem, since almost half of the current employment landscape in the US is devoted to labor-based jobs. If robots will soon do all of those jobs, without requiring pay or any kind of benefit package, what happens to the scores of unemployed people?
A popular argument is that new jobs will be created as they always have. Some will point to the printing press and say that it took the jobs of scribes, but created new jobs in distribution of text. This has always been the case indeed, but there is one key component this time around that changes the game; software. Software has only been around for half a century and is getting increasingly better at mimicking things that have been distinctly human. Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Tactile Sensing, machines are getting better at imitating our five senses and their power will only grow with time as advances in processing and learning algorithms increase. I’ve worked in the field of robotics for 2 years, I’ve seen the rapid advances researchers are making in this field, there is no stopping the inevitable, robots are cheaper than humans and they are better at doing physical tasks. They will become the new labor class.
This leaves us with a need for a vigorous social safety net for people. A basic income. When we think of basic income in a traditional sense, we imagine a government implementing it by taxing the rich and redistributing it to the poor. The problem with that is technology progresses far faster than governments can adapt to change, especially the United States government. The basic income would have to be on a global scale, and cannot be dependent on the whims of centralized authorities that are slow to change.
Enter SocialCoin. We need a decentralized basic income that comes in the form of cryptocurrency. The basic idea is that 10% of the profits that miners earn from mining this coin is pooled and distributed to every member of the network on a bi-weekly basis. As adoption of the currency grows, the value of the coins will increase. It doesn’t matter if retailers don’t accept the coin, users can just exchange the coins for bitcoins or local fiat currency for immediate real world use.
In order for SocialCoin to work, we need to figure out a way to create a decentralized ID system that doesn’t rely on government issuance like a Driver’s License or a Passport. This is currently an unsolved problem. One possible way to do this is to have there be agents in the SocialCoin Distributed Autonomous Corporations who a user would schedule appointments with. The user would set an appointment with 3-5 agents individually and each agent would scan the user’s irises in person to verify that they are a real human and a unique individual who hasn’t created an identity before. There would have to be another type of agent in the system that browses the network for frauds. This is a very conceptual idea, but can be the groundwork for the DAC that will ultimately create a universal basic income for all humanity. One that doesn’t rely on governments with their own interests to implement.
If this is implemented before the impending robotics revolution takes all labor based jobs, it will free people from manual labor and allow them to pursue their creative, social, and personal interests on a scale no one has ever seen before. It will also accelerate robotics research even further, since companies that require laborers will no longer have them, they will truly need robots to fill those positions. We can either wait for job loss to occur on a greater level as robots push people out of their jobs, or we can implement the basic income first and let robots fill in the empty spots. This is absolutely necessary and I hope someone builds this.