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Ina Fried Apr 13
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Ray Kurzweil: Universal Basic Income will arrive in the 2030s

Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil (Photo: Bill Wadman)

Technology pioneer Ray Kurzweil predicted Friday that universal basic income, a controversial notion today, will be common throughout the developed world by the early 2030s and globally by the end of that decade.

Why it matters: With the combination of automation and artificial intelligence, there has been wide concern over how society will deal with massive job disruption.

Speaking at the TED conference in Vancouver, Kurzweil said that people will actually have more than their fundamental needs met through universal basic income.

"You will be able to live very well on that," he said.

Interestingly enough, the date Kurzweil picks for the advent of basic income is right about the same time he sees AI taking over. Around 2029, he has projected, AI will pass the Turing Test: a panel of human judges won't be able to tell whether the being they are conversing with is human or computer.

In the 2030s, he said, "we will merge with the intelligent technology we are creating." He said the human neocortex will connect with cloud-based intelligence. "We will have an indefinite expansion of our neocortex. "

That, he said, will lead to new forms of expression, such as music, that will be as different from today's communication as current human expression is from that of primates.

Asked how the U.S. and other countries would pay for a basic income, given existing large deficits, Kurzweil predicted that massive deflation would make goods much cheaper.

Separately: Kurzweil debuted a new Google project called "Talk to Books," a free tool that answers users' questions by finding the best answers from more than 100,000 books. Unlike traditional search, it is based on semantics, not keywords. Read more.

Axios 4 hours ago
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Historic Korean meeting, Cosby verdict, Amazon surges in Q1 earnings

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in cross back the military demarcation line to the south side after Moon crossing the border to north upon meeting for the Inter-Korean Summit in Panmunjom, South Korea. Photo: Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images

In the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea Friday morning local time, Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader in modern history to set foot on South Korean soil. This marks the beginning of a historic summit between the two leaders to discuss denuclearization.

Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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Tom Brokaw accused of sexual misconduct

Tom Brokaw.
Tom Brokaw. Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Former NBC News correspondent Linda Vester has accused former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw of unwanted sexual advances, according to an exclusive video from Variety.

Why it matters: NBC was hit by the #MeToo movement when "Today Show" co-host Matt Lauer was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. Vester says she was "groped and assaulted" by Brokaw, a legendary name in news.