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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.

Go deeper

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

Driving the news: The Biden administration has faced rising inflation rates over recent months, which it has labeled as "transitory."

Hope King, author of Closer
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Investors reset their compass

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The endpoints of a stimulus-fueled market are being defined.

Why it matters: Conditions that drove excess pricing in riskier assets are steadily being removed, and big swings in the market like those seen today are inevitable as investors try to adjust to the new landscape.

3 hours ago - World

Soldiers seize power in Burkina Faso as global coup surge continues

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso declared on state television Monday that they had deposed the government, closed the borders and taken control of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has reportedly been arrested.

The big picture: This would be the third successful military coup in west Africa in eight months, after juntas took power last year in Guinea and in neighboring Mali.