There are economic problems with both of your solutions, unfortunately.

One major problem with banning AI and Automation in specific sectors (such as truck driving), or in general, is that it puts you (a country) at a competitive disadvantage vis à vis other countries. And as Japan found out in the 19thC, if you don’t move forward, others will, and sooner or later they are far enough ahead of you to force change upon you.

A second problem specific to truck driving is that by banning self-driving trucks you are choosing to suffer an artificially high rate of accidents. The data already gathered by autonomous vehicles on the road shows that they can reduce accidents by 90% or more. Humans may (still) have better peak performance at driving, but AI software doesn’t get distracted, or overlook a danger because its attention is elsewhere. When the accident rate in Switzerland is several times that of the countries around about, how long will the ban on autonomous trucks last?

As for government jobs, the arguments are more subtle but end up at the same place. Yes, you can keep people employed this way, but:

  • if something can be done more efficiently by AI / Robots, why pay extra to have it done by humans? Isn’t this going to be seen as make-work, equivalent to having prisoners break rocks to keep them occupied? And people forced to do make-work will be angry… and angry people vote for radical change. In other words, as the number of “unemployed” rise, it’s not a stable situation in a democracy.
  • if it can’t be done more efficiently, and often better (see truck driver example above) by AI (and this will be the case for ever fewer jobs over time), there is still the question as to why the government (or rather, voters) will choose to invest in the future in things that they are unwilling to invest in today. Why doesn’t Switzerland pay for / invest in the things you suggest above today? The answer to that question will probably still be valid in the future.

UBI is a genuinely difficult thing to accept, particularly if you come from (as most of us do) a cultural background that values work. But the alternatives seem much worse, if AI and Automation produce massive job destruction as they are projected to do. I’ve laid out the arguments and counter-arguments, in an analysis here on Medium: (https://medium.com/@guyb_35750/the-ai-transition-job-destruction-and-democracy-9be904bcf1f#.ztx695vpp). I’d welcome critiques and feedback.

Seeing the big picture… guyb@me.com

Seeing the big picture… guyb@me.com