"Andrew Yang doesn't mince his words: He doesn't think the robots are coming; he knows they are already here. And he wants to take his concerns about this all the way to the White House.
"I'm Andrew Yang, and I'm running for President as a Democrat in 2020 because I fear for the future of our country," reads the first sentence of the website for his long-shot campaign.
Yang is worried about a future where the automation of jobs leads to "the disintegration of our society." And he has a very specific solution to stop that from happening. He wants to give every adult US citizen $1,000 a month, no questions asked. He isn't the first presidential hopeful to endorse the idea of a universal basic income (UBI)--even Hillary Clinton is a fan--but he is certainly one of the most outspoken for why we need it.
As a former corporate lawyer and founder of Venture for America, a fellowship program to help entrepreneurs start businesses in cities like Detroit and Cleveland, he brings a jobs-first approach to tackling many of the country's social and economic problems. UBI isn't the only tenet of his campaign. There are more than 70 policy recommendations on his website, including ideas like hiring a White House psychologist to closely monitor the mental health of White House staff and creating a "digital social currency" to reward (and gamify) altruistic behavior.
Yang chatted with Quartz about robots, UBI, and the stakes if we don't take automation seriously. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity."
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