What if you were paid to start a business? No, seriously. Hear me out.
You might've heard of Universal Basic Income (UBI), the idea that everyone should get a monthly check from the government to cover their basic needs. Sounds great, right? Who wouldn’t want some extra cash to splurge on avocado toast or the latest crypto scam 😋
But there’s a catch. UBI is expensive. Like, really expensive. And there’s no guarantee that people would use their free money to pursue their passions or take risks. Some might just chill on the couch and binge Netflix all day (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but someones gotta run Netflix!).
I have a better idea. Instead of giving everyone a UBI, why not give grants to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own ventures? This way, we can support innovation and economic growth while ensuring that the funds are used for a specific purpose. Think of it as a UBI minus the 'universal' part.
And before you ask, yes, there are already programs that do something. The Small Business Administration (SBA) in the US, for example, provides loans and grants to small businesses. And they work. A study found that SBA loan recipients added, on average, 3 jobs. Another study (although it's from the late 80s) showed that SBA loans help black-owned firms access loans amid credit discrimination.
Talking of discrimination, one of the reasons people are considering UBI is because AI might take people's jobs. But hear me out: we can actually use AI to one-up this for us. AI could conduct virtual interviews with applicants, summarize their pitches, and present them to government officials for review without telling exactly who they are to avoid bias - like those blind auditions in The Voice. This would speed up the process and level the playing field for all applicants.
Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, I'm sure not everyone will agree. One might argue that this is just a fancy version of the banking system, or that it would create more bureaucracy and red tape. But I think they’re missing the bigger picture. It's a matter of when and not if we will enter a society where AI will have massive impacts. We will need to modify our support systems so they continue to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
With this AI-assisted grant system, we can take advantage of the latest advances to help us deal with the changes!
This article was edited to change the writing personality, you can find the original version here