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Government Robotics United States Politics

Y Combinator Announces Funding For UBI-Supporting Political Candidates (latimes.com) 195

Most people "feel like they have great potential that is being wasted," argues Y Combinator president Sam Altman -- a Stanford dropout whose company's investments are now worth $65 billion, including Airbnb, Reddit, and Dropbox. Now an anonymous reader quote the Los Angeles Times: A wealthy young Silicon Valley venture capitalist hopes to recruit statewide and congressional candidates and launch an affordable-housing ballot measure in 2018 because he says California's leaders are failing to address flaws in the state's governance that are killing opportunities for future generations. Sam Altman, 32, will roll out an effort to enlist candidates around a shared set of policy priorities -- including tackling how automation is going to affect the economy and the cost of housing in California -- and is willing to put his own money behind the effort. "I think we have a fundamental breakdown of the American social contract and it's desperately important that we fix it," he said. "Even if we had a very well-functioning government, it would be a challenge, and our current government functions so badly it is an extra challenge..."

Altman lays out 10 principles including lowering the cost of housing, creating single-payer healthcare, increasing clean energy use, improving education, reforming taxes and rebuilding infrastructure. He has few specific policy edicts, and floats proposals that will generate controversy, such as creating a universal basic income for all Americans in an effort to equalize opportunity, public funding for the media and increasing taxes on property that is owned by foreigners, is unoccupied or has been "flipped" by investors seeking a quick return on an investment.

Altman argues that he wants to "ensure that everyone benefits from the coming changes," and specifically highlights the idea of a Universal Basic Income. Altman writes that "If it turns out to be a good policy, I could imagine passing a law that puts it into effect when the GDP per capita doubles. This could help cushion the transition to a post-automation world."
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Y Combinator Announces Funding For UBI-Supporting Political Candidates

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Giving people a free income makes the fat and lazy. It's a slippery slope to communism. Forget about it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      People do extremely well under communism. Generally the most powerful and well connected. It's a war at the top echelons of society. The underclass suffers, but are told that they'll be more equal. This is true to the extent in that instead of maybe a dozen graduations, you end up with two, one small super elite and the rest poor (but hey, equal).

      I've seen it. I've lived it

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by reboot246 ( 623534 )
        Don't confuse slashdotters with facts. This place leans so far left it's about to fall over.
    • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @09:25AM (#54824953)

      Giving people a free income makes the fat and lazy.

      So we should ban capital-derived income? And inheritance over some threshold?

      • Well, we don't outright ban it. But we do tax the hell out of it. Ever heard of the Estate Tax? You should look it up because it's relevant to your argument.
        • I notice that you didn't mention anything about capital-derived income, though. Which we don't "tax the hell out of". In fact, we tax it less than sweat-of-the-brow income.

    • The idea is not so much giving them an income, but replacing the bloated and inefficient welfare systems with a basic income - hint: basic.

      It means you get enough to survive without much luxury, and if you want more (as everyone does) then you go out and earn some more. Any job paying anything is a net benefit to you.

      right now, crap jobs are not taken up because it pays more to sit on welfare. UBI fixes that.

      It also gives another factor in that some things do not pay much at all, eg if you're trying to star

  • Slightly Tilted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @06:59PM (#54822061)
    Much of what he wants is good and maybe possible. However holding back automation is 100% wrong headed. People have been trying to hold back automation for centuries. In fact automation can lower the price of housing in a huge way. And yes, we will have social unrest and some tribulations as humans become obsolete in employment situations. However that very same automation that provides homes and miraculous health care is also the same automation that will eliminate your jobs. In the past it was the guy who shoveled dirt or coal that became jobless due to automation. now it is book keepers, accountants, lawyers and even doctors and they tend to have far more social power to resist changes. But the very reason that automation will win is the same reason the crackpot notions about hiding cures for cancer exist. We are supposed to believe that a doctor can cure a cancer when he wants to but there is so much money that he will never do it. We are asked to believe that doctor will watch his parents, his kids his wife or even his own life to end from cancer when he has that secret cure at hand at all times. and that is exactly why doctors will yield to automated medical care. It is also the reason that lawyers will support automated medical care and you can bet your last penny that insurance companies love quick, easy and inexpensive cures for any problem. In other words there are huge numbers of people hitting the go fast button on automation and they tend to be the bright and highly paid people among us. The worst thing we are against is not exactly regulation but more of allowing a permissions based society. In other words you build a home and government and others will tell you just how you can build that home. The idea of permits or permissions allows so much abuse of individuals that absolutely everything turns into a money issue with a whole bunch of people feeding off the side effects of those permissions.
    • What a pathetic group we get to vote for. Could you imagine any of the candidates being one of your circle of friends. Not Me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 16, 2017 @07:02PM (#54822079)

    You mean like Harrison Bergeron?

  • Hey behind Medicare For All. That's real. UBI of still pie in the sky.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    65 billion imaginary dollars.

    No one knows the true worth of a company until you go to sell it. How much would Reddit and Dropbox sell for if there were buyers? Not much. AirBnb? Not much more.

    If he sold all his companies, right, now, he wouldn't get anything close to 65 billion.

  • Talk about... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by doctorvo ( 5019381 )

    Altman lays out 10 principles including lowering the cost of housing, creating single-payer healthcare, increasing clean energy use, improving education, reforming taxes and rebuilding infrastructure

    Talk about billionaires corrupting politics.

  • by hwstar ( 35834 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @07:51PM (#54822301)

    Things are going to get very ugly before they get better. The investor class will not relinquish its power without a fight. These guys will fight to the bitter end. They have everything to lose. They will use their resources to keep the status quo in place. Expect the skirmishes between main street and wall street to escalate. The outcome is very hard to predict, but there will be a conflict. Best case: We are able to wrest control from the investor class, and restore democracy. Worst case: Think Second Civil War, Robots killing citizens en-masse, biological agents released, or US military thermonuclear bombs targeted intra-US.

    • Don't forget the quickly fermenting race war! CW2 is gonna be off the fuckin' chain.

      We've already got blacks marching around with shirts like "Fuck White People" and shouting "Kill Whitey", it's only a small matter of time before that sentiment takes its inevitable violent turn. Once that happens, the "Nazis" will come out to plat and thus the Communists (aka Antifa) must fight back. Black guerrilla fighters blowing up buildings Al Qaeda style, and hell, even the Islamic terrorists would probably take a

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Sunday July 16, 2017 @08:20PM (#54822455) Homepage Journal

    The real issue isn't a housing shortage, the real issue here is there are no jobs where housing is cheap.

    There is plenty of cheap housing in California if you're willing to live anywhere but the bay area. Modesto, Stockton, Hollister, Tracy come to mind first. Problem is guys like Sam Altman want to live in Woodside, Atherton, or Los Altos. People like Sam Altman do not want to commute any more than 12 minutes to work. People like Sam Altman would never lower themselves to live in any of the aforementioned cities, much less start a company with decent paying wages in them.

    We always hear the excuse, "WELL THE GOOD TALENT DOESN'T LIVE IN THOSE CITIES!" Really? Because I could have sworn we have over 100k H1b visa holders that were willing to live anywhere but where they came from. I could have sworn a lot of these folks would think that Stockton, even with it's high crime rate is a much better, much more civilized city than where they came from.

    I've been preaching this for a while, seems like it would solve so many issues. Less traffic, less economic depression, and a foot up for people living in those cities. It's not like Atherton, Los Altos, or Woodside need anymore money. Give people a job, they won't need UBI.

  • Funding for political candidates, really, that's what we call bribes now. At least lobbying and election contributions supposedly go towards specific issues or election funds, these bozos are just cutting the crap and funding politicians.

    I don't want any collection of rich people basically buying out the entire candidate pool, at least right now we have our pick from rich people and even though they are further removed from our world than we care to admit, at least they are somewhat of a pick. Y Combinators

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just got back from another trip to Silicon Valley. Couldn't help but notice that the place has become a very expensive ghetto. Infrastructure is essentially what was there in the 70s. Everyone is stuck in traffic on the way there/back. Folks are busy flipping 40yr old poorly-designed one-two story houses to each other at staggering prices. Even the cell phone coverage sucks. Clearly, negligible amount of resources has gone into making the area as a whole better .. and this is the golden child of US as a who

  • I'm not sure if I believe that 100% of knowledge worker jobs will be replaced in a timescale short enough to cause upheaval. However it is possible, and I think a basic income is a good option to bridge the gap. It's not because I'm lazy and don't want to work; it's because I can see a time when people won't have to work in some of the crappier knowledge worker jobs, and almost no one will be doing manual labor jobs.

    The root of the problem is that our entire society is organized around educating people to t

    • I doubt you're going to retrain someone who's been routing reports around forever to be a big data scientist.

      The old joke was, "Go away or I'll replace you with a small shell script." This is that taken to a level many orders of magnitude higher. I'm automating tons of parts of my job at the moment. Lots of things that used to be done by hand are now scripted. Why? Because this job traditionally was held by someone much more of a report router and general knowledge bank.

      However, what I'm realizing is that I've fundamentally changed this job. The person they hire to replace me when I leave is not going to

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