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MIT Technology Review

This entrepreneur wants to make automation a major campaign issue in 2020

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Andrew Yang is vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. His mission? Preparing America for automation.

Who he is: A New York businessman and entrepreneur, Yang is the founder of Venture for America, an entrepreneurship fellowship.

His platform: He believes AI and automation will soon eliminate millions of jobs. For example, he told the New York Times that self-driving cars will make truckers obsolete. “That one innovation will be enough to create riots in the street,” says Yang. “And we’re about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms.”

His solution: Yang believes in universal basic income. He wants to provide a monthly stipend of $1,000 to every American aged 18 to 64. Under the plan, funding would come from companies that profit from automation. It’s a popular idea among supporters of guaranteed income, but it still has many obstacles to overcome before it could be considered practical.

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