Would You Rather Play a Wizard or Be a Wizard?

One of the concerns that some critics have about a Universal Basic Income is the impact it might have on people’s desires to do anything – that too many people would end up sitting around in their underwear, playing video games all day long. Although that hasn’t been the experience with UBI pilot project so far, I do think it’s worth talking about how to structure the economy so it’ll encourage people to not fall down that hole. But I think part of the reason why critics have this concern is that they’re underestimating just how dramatically our world is going to change.

For a pilot project at work, I’ve been boning up on Microsoft’s Hololens, an “augmented reality” set of goggles that let you see and interact with holograms in the middle of your everyday surroundings. After three decades I’m pretty jaded about new tech, but I’m having trouble not giggling every time I watch a demo. It reminds me of when I first started programming—it feels like magic. And it’s just the beginning: 3-D printing, wearables, the Internet of Things are going to create a pretty amazing world of possibilities.

I don’t think it’s going to be that hard to convince most people who are spending the time UBI would give them doing more “productive” work to play by themselves and with other people in this new world of tech. Our motto: would you rather play a Wizard or be a Wizard?

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