This week, Quartz is reprising its best articles about “the future of work,” a term that encompasses topics as varied as benefits, automation, and re-skilling. This book review, a version of which first ran in December 2018, explores the potential outcome of universal basic income, a policy that has had champions as diverse as Martin Luther King Jr., Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, and current US Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
It’s the year 2036. Cars drive themselves. Your house is run by an AI. You have a tiny device implanted in your hand, called a gram, which delivers everything to you—even more convenient than Amazon Prime. And a robot has your job. But you’ve got government-funded health care and basic income. Your needs are met.
Still, you’re miserable.