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86. Navigating the Future of Work and Universal Basic Income with Paritosh

· podcast,AI


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Podcast with Paritosh Gunjan Part 3


Summary: In this episode, Andrew Liewengages in a thought-provoking conversation with Paritosh Sharma about the
challenges posed by technological advancements in the job market and the
potential role of universal basic income (UBI) as a transitional mechanism.
They delve into the uncertainties and opportunities brought about by
automation, AI, and evolving skill requirements, discussing whether UBI is a
sustainable solution or a short-term remedy. Paritosh shares insights into the
shifting dynamics of work, the importance of human purpose, and the balance
between societal support and individual responsibility.

In this engaging podcast episode,Andrew Liew and Paritosh Sharma explore the impact of technological
advancements on the job landscape and the potential implementation of universal
basic income (UBI). Paritosh reflects on the transitional challenges
individuals might face as they adapt to changing skill demands and the
automation of certain tasks. They discuss the need to strike a balance between
providing support through UBI and encouraging individuals to find purpose and
meaning in their work. Paritosh emphasizes that while UBI could serve as a
short-term bridge during transitional periods, it should not become a perpetual
handout that dampens motivation. They also touch upon the psychological aspects
of work, noting that human beings thrive on challenges and the pursuit of purpose.
The conversation highlights the complexity of these issues and the necessity of
creative solutions as society navigates the evolving landscape of work and

[00:00:00] Andrew Liew: you mentioned before, if I recallcorrectly, that that will be creating a new job and obsoleting of old jobs. And
yeah and, there will be that transition point where a person, let's say, just
an example, like a software engineer, like 10, 20 years ago, C was a hot thing.

[00:00:17] Andrew Liew: Then now People want to build AI,Python, probably the more general purpose language, right? And there's that
transition of, oh, maybe I need to pick up a new skill, or we don't know what
kind of futuristic skills. That transition period, it's often fraught with
uncertainty excitement as well.

[00:00:36] Andrew Liew: We are still human, we are boundby, I call it the capitalist world as of so now we don't know when will the sci
fi situation change, and in the capitalist world, there is always a trade off,
right? If I lost a job, and I have to go and get a new job, and a new job
requires a new set of skills I will need to learn, And learn, I will need time.

[00:00:55] Andrew Liew: And because to get the time, Iwill probably have to run down on my savings. [00:01:00]Now here are the interesting fact is that there are a lot of emergent IES or
economies or policy thinker or economic forum, they are postulating or
speculating that the future will come where there will be a need for a
universal benefit income or a transitional income mechanism.

[00:01:18] Andrew Liew: So the question, because you guysare building liquid, right? Like maybe the next generation of wealth
generation. So how do you see this coming in terms of this universal benefit
income or income transitional mechanism to enable the human being to be able to
keep moving from one job to another job?

[00:01:35] Andrew Liew: Smoothly, without too much stressto himself or to his family.

[00:01:39] Paritosh: Steve, it's a very, it's a very deepquestion, right? It's a very profound question because human beings don't just
live for at least I would like to believe that, human beings don't just live
for the sake of living, right? What universal basic income will give you?

[00:01:58] Paritosh: Is a way to [00:02:00]live your life. Basic necessities. I don't know how much of necessity, how much
of luxury, but whatever it will give you, but human beings live for a sense of
purpose. If your job is taken away from you, or it, where is that sense of
purpose, right? What do you do with your life? You get money, you live, but
what do you do with your life?

[00:02:21] Paritosh: What I believe is, the way the worldwill... Go to initially they will the it has happened in history before
industrialization did it industrialization 1. 0 did it 2. 0 did it every time
things change, the more they remain the same, right? So history rhymes if it
not if it does not repeat. So we have seen this before.

[00:02:44] Paritosh: There will be people who lose jobthere. Unfortunately, there will be a lot of well. Disgruntlement we need to
focus right now on this short term aspect of how to how to [00:03:00] save ourselves from that. Fortunately,right now, AI will give us enough time before it becomes an actual adversary
for human capital.

[00:03:09] Paritosh: Right now it will take away jobs,which are, as I said, repetitive and things which people anyways don't want to
do, but they are doing because. They get money and there's no other way to do
it, right? The way it will go forward, AI will give us some time before it
actually starts coming from highly, coming for highly skilled jobs, right?

[00:03:30] Paritosh: Like those of the coders or theindustry workers, right? People who are actually trained and experienced in
running machines and looking for after shop floors and all of that, right?
Once, so robots are there, but they are currently being supervised by people.
What if AI starts supervising? So all of that will happen, but it will happen
in stages gradually, and we will have to start looking out for ourselves as
human beings.

[00:03:58] Paritosh: If we are in those [00:04:00] jobs, we'll have to start eitherupskilling ourselves right away. And looking out for things, which may be the
few maybe the job, say one or two or three or five years down the line and
start quickly transitioning into that be the early mover, the be a bit selfish,
I would say but unfortunately that is how it is and governments for all good.
They do. I don't think universal basic income is the right way of thinking.
It's going about it. We have seen that a lot in I think in developing
economies, I, so India has got got basic income plan called Manrega.

[00:04:39] Paritosh: Yeah. So it, is there where in, inrural places, at least you can you have, you're guaranteed certain days of
income. Employment rather certain days of employment on which you get money and
what has happened is this has unintended consequences. [00:05:00]People who were earlier available for the jobs in the fields are now going for
this because, of course, this pays.

[00:05:09] Paritosh: Better, right? And farmers are nowhaving to pay more for the labor because they have to match this. Yes. And
because of that, somehow food prices are being affected, right? I'm not an
economist and I don't know, I don't claim to know a lot about this, but these
are things which I read. And this is something which we have seen being
implemented, experimented at large scales.

[00:05:38] Paritosh: In India, if you do anything, it isat a large scale, right? So it is being done at a large scale and there are
unintended consequences to this. So I. I don't know whether based universal
income, basic income is a good idea. Maybe it is needed to bridge the gap while
people find the next thing [00:06:00] to do.

[00:06:00] Paritosh: It cannot be a long term thing,right? You can't make human beings dependent on this because then they'll not
have a sense of purpose in life. And then a lot of bad things happen.

[00:06:11] Andrew Liew: Interesting because the othercounter viewpoint is that when we address the person's psychological needs at
least so that the survival needs and the stress doesn't kick in so much that
the guy cannot learn new skills because you know when if you put a kid in when
you hothouse a kid every day, please do some homework, do homework.

[00:06:32] Andrew Liew: because you only have one exam inlife. Every country in the world, maybe in India, probably the high school exam
in China, same thing. Kids commit suicide. In Singapore, we are seeing like
unprecedented rate of suicides of kids. And we don't have a universal income
and the parents who are in the lower income and middle income, they are very
sad because they suddenly realize that hey, I've been feeding my kid.

[00:06:59] Andrew Liew: I've been providing for [00:07:00] my kid. Why my kid jumped from the 14thfloor and we're seeing a lot of this kid. Do you think that's the counter
argument? Because by providing an assurance that we are well looked after, you
have a greater purpose to take more risk. Because the idea, it's think of in
terms of the venture capital industry, right?

[00:07:18] Andrew Liew: I invest a hundred startups, allI need is just one Mark Zuckerberg or one Bill Gates and I cover the 99. So do
you think that universal balance income is almost like covering a hundred
Indians and I just need one Indian to be who's the new c e o of Microsoft? As

[00:07:34] Andrew Liew: Nadela, right? , which is theGoogle, c e o, when you think So I don't know what

[00:07:38] Paritosh: So see the, as I said right earlierand I think bridge this transitioning time, right? You need. You may need that,
but then you have to have again, that same calculation, right? This is the risk
I give you. This is where I'll cover you, but you need to [00:08:00] figure out a way.

[00:08:00] Paritosh: You need to figure a way out, right?It cannot be a perpetual handout. Sorry to use that word, but it cannot be a
perpetual handout. You have to give human beings... Of course, that question
that if you fall, I am there for you, right? Governments are supposed to be
that they have to do that.

[00:08:20] Paritosh: Like during COVID right in Indiagovernments across state and central governments, all of them gave a lot of to
the actual needy, and people who were out of jobs, people who were who did not
have have basic necessities in life, but everybody knew that this will come to
an end someday.

[00:08:42] Paritosh: And that is why, as soon as thesanctions got over and people started to come out of home, these people then
stood back on their own feet. If there was a, if there was a notion that this
will continue, do you, and this is a question rather for us to ponder upon, do [00:09:00] we think that people will like to continueto do the hardship that they do today?

[00:09:06] Paritosh: To continue earning and will, whatconsequences will that have on us as a society when people don't work or don't
have that have that sense of trying to work. So

[00:09:21] Andrew Liew: that's a, yeah. So it's, a it'smore like, you say, it is think of it as a risk return, right? It's more about
is the, people.

[00:09:31] Andrew Liew: More is it more like adiversification of different stocks or is it like a option, right? An option
where you constantly have to pay. If not, the option dries up and then it lost
its value, right? So if human capital is like equity where... I give a bit, and
then eventually the guy just keep learning and trying and learning, trying,
eventually stock value goes up.

[00:09:52] Andrew Liew: But if it's like an option, Ijust keep buying, giving, giving, but it doesn't create value upwards. Yeah,

[00:09:58] Paritosh: exactly. So we, [00:10:00] of course, as a society, we need to takecare of people who are down in harder times because of technological advances,
right? And we, can do that. Of course we, will have to figure out where we
should do that.

[00:10:13] Paritosh: We'll have to figure out ways to dothat. It has to be with an expiry date. So we will have to ensure that people
upscale themselves. They, get into newer jobs which will of course come up,
right? We cannot, and they will, there are see, there is also this whole notion
about three days work week, four days work day, four hour work day.

[00:10:38] Paritosh: So all of that can also be a part ofthe solution because you need to give people something to get up in the morning
too. You cannot human beings cannot at least I, don't think a lot of human
beings can live without that will to get up in the morning and go and do some,
do something purposeful in their lives.[00:11:00]

[00:11:00] Paritosh: So we will have to figure out, therewill be different the way I see it, there will be different slices to this
problem and we'll solve all these slices differently.

[00:11:11] Andrew Liew: You're right. Like people needsto have a purpose. Like I give you a few statistics like I was chatting with a
friend from Silicon Valley the other day.

[00:11:20] Andrew Liew: And he just got exited. I'm sohappy for him, but then three weeks later he said he suffered from depression.
I was like, oh my god There's so many people Like and then the true manner I
was like even high achievers need a sense of purpose to live, right?

[00:11:34] Paritosh: Yeah, so I'll tell you the storyabout someone I met in McKinsey.

[00:11:38] Paritosh: So this person they passed out fromI. T. is one of the best colleges in India. They went ahead and got into the
civil services. Which is again a big deal very, big deal, right? Just out of
college they spent a couple of years there training and then one year, I think
in posting under probation.

[00:11:59] Paritosh: [00:12:00]Then they felt that, okay, this is not something I should. Do they came out,
they went to, I think Howard or one of those Ivy league MBA colleges came
passed out, joined McKinsey, which is again they, this person was a super
achiever and she was assisting me do some work for a client and.

[00:12:24] Paritosh: They were not very happy.

[00:12:26] Paritosh: Because they didn't know what isnext, right? What do I do next? I have already achieved so many things that
there's not a goal for me to strive for. There always was a goal for their life
that I will get into IIT, I'll do UPSC, I'll get into Harvard, then maybe top
league consulting company.

[00:12:46] Paritosh: I've also met people from IB whoswitched to McKinsey or one super achiever goal to the next super achiever goal.
And they, are very confused in life.[00:13:00]Not a lot of them, but at least the ones that I met. They were not very happy.
If not confused, they were not very happy with what they are doing.

[00:13:07] Paritosh: So that is again that's about superachievers, right? And then there is this whole thing about people who get basic
income and they don't want to do something else because that is not paying
enough. And that has got. Unintended consequences, as I said, so all of this
together, I think, as I said you'll have different types of problems for
different types of people, because a lot of work will be automated.

[00:13:35] Paritosh: A lot of Jobs will be redundant. Alot of things that we need human mind to do right now will be done by
computers. And I think it, will be a very interesting time to live in.

[00:13:50] Andrew Liew: Yeah do you think that in thenear future, I don't know, I'm just hypothesizing that maybe eventually like
80% of the workforce It's [00:14:00]entrepreneurial because so many repetitive work is being done by the robots or
AI that it used to be like the Henry Ford model where I hire all the workers
just to put one screw, one nuts, one wheel tire is no longer the case.

[00:14:15] Andrew Liew: And then suddenly everybody needsto think like a Henry Ford. If not how is the government going to feed

[00:14:20] Paritosh: I also see that the days of assemblyline is over, right? That we know for sure human beings are not very good at
and they will be, we do it when we have to. So our parents generation, I was
talking to my dad and I said that your father's generation was all about, at
least in India, right?

[00:14:39] Paritosh: We just got independence and hisfather was there and he, was looking to build a life of his own. just for
himself, but for his whole family. And it was a time of struggle, right? He had
a very different outlook towards life. He joined a company, stayed in the same
company grew, through the ranks, but [00:15:00]never came out, right?

[00:15:01] Paritosh: He, had opportunities, but he didnot have that courage to come up. My dad, he had some security, but given that
his father had built a lot of, not a lot of, but decent amount of wealth,
right? But he still joined a company, a private company, right? My father's
father was in a government job.

[00:15:21] Paritosh: My father was in a bank which is asemi TSU right? He again stayed his lone life in that bank. And he built his
own life. And when it came to me, I had the courage to come out and say, I
don't want to work for a company for my whole life. I shifted companies. Then I
said, I will build my own companies.

[00:15:43] Paritosh: I built my own ventures, failed, andstill I'm here to try once more. Given the kind of security that I will give my
He he, can be anything, right? So that is how generations change. And that is
how, and it is not just a story of [00:16:00]me. It is a story of generations in India, generations behave that with a lot
of people.

[00:16:06] Paritosh: It is a story that a lot of peoplewill resonate to from India, at least, and also Singapore, I think yours is not
a very different story than us, right?

[00:16:16] Andrew Liew: Except maybe the currency rate isdifferent and the cost

[00:16:20] Paritosh: Of course. But at, a human level,right? At a human level, the emotions, the courage, the entrepreneurial spirit,
which is there, which you spoke about, right?

[00:16:31] Paritosh: I think that will be there. If youhave that question that, okay, if I failed and someone is there to take care of
me, there is a social security, which is there, which can help me out. If I
don't have anything to eat. Or my children will go to a decent school, they'll
get a decent education. Even if I don't even if I fail in my in whatever I'm
trying to do, people will do that more.

[00:16:54] Paritosh: What I feel is I think we'll expandwe'll expand as a human being, a [00:17:00]human species to other planets, right? We'll create that because we will need
to do something. And that something cannot be constrained to living on this
planet. We will expand, we'll outreach, we'll figure out new challenges. We'll,
because that is how psychology is.

[00:17:18] Paritosh: If you have that Maslow's law ofhierarchy, right? Once your basic needs are covered, your security needs are
covered, you try to figure out other ways to challenge yourself and reach that
state of bliss. So I think that will happen. We'll expand, we'll grow, we'll go
to other planets and that will bring new jobs that will create very different
kind of a world that we live in.

[00:17:41] Paritosh: But of course as I said, The more Ithink about it, the more sci fi it sounds. So then I stop thinking and I go
back to my work, coding and

[00:17:51] Andrew Liew: not necessarily. If the more youthink about it from a sci fi perspective, eventually Liquid will build
something [00:18:00] from...

[00:18:00] Andrew Liew: Meeting the current, today's needsof users or investors or kids or family to the future needs, right? That's how
things eventually evolve.