I will provide a bit of context. Which can be ignored as the background can be changed or at least the question can be treated as theoretical.

At a certain point in the future a universal welfare amount became a galactic law on all human controlled planets as recognized by the council.

This makes up the vast majority of human controlled planets. There are family or company controlled planets or even system. But those tend to be on the fringes of the human space, that is protected by human authority, and they end up offering more money to experts to come do whatever job is needed.

A major point in the setting is that machines run and do like 99% of things including the most menial tasks and more difficult ones.

Now every time I mention my AMI (Advanced machine intelligence) here people get angry and insist that it has to be either AI or current tech. So either true AI, which is still theoretical, or the same exact level of tech we have. I find it odd that I can't come up with super computers in a future setting that simulates 99% of basic human intelligence without it being called unrealistic or wrong, but I can wave my hand and voila AI is made which is still science fiction.

So. Please, can we treat this AMI thing and associated machine run stuff as a given?

Without getting into too much unrealistic stuff, it is my job to at least try to make a realistic setting I know, the machine run world is something made of pure economic reasons and just follows patters of already established corporate or government...etc behavior.

Lets take the cleaning staff for a company. If you can buy eternal robots, they need to be fixed bu otherwise no problem, for a cheaper price than you would hire a single human, with all that trouble that hiring a human would, won't you do it? Don't companies already do this as much as possible?

Again we can argue about the human touch and it is true. But I don't understand why would this derail the conversation from the basic point, my previous questions were about other stuff than this point, of machines doing a lot of things we did to something else?

The cost is also meaningless as arguing about it is like arguing with someone in the 1960s that computers will never be common because they are so large and expensive and insisting that such a thing will continue to be true in the future.

Well. This is the future

So. Again please let us consider those points as a given.

Humans. In this setting actually follow the previous laws of evolution of trading power and strength for intelligence. That is if you are smart enough to do stuff that machines don't do then you can find a job and have you direct those machines for more creative stuff.

The military is the biggest example as it has officers guiding the war machines of the future while the targeting and shooting is done by machines. Again this is how a lot of our current stuff is happening. A fighter pilot does not eye ball a target nowadays. It presses a bottom and a long range missile, say 80 km, that is self guided does that things that it is programmed to do.

Now is it too much of a stretch to say: In the future the pilot and missile are all machines guided while using both in a campaign is human guided?

All this context and ideas are to give enough info to, or at least try, justify the whole galactic welfare aspect.

So. At a certain point in the future all humans get a big some of money monthly no matter where.

FTL travel is a thing and so planets are connected. Humanity is more of a federation than one single state with laws but there are hundreds of agencies whose whole purpose is to insure that planets, even the most remote one, comply with the core laws and regulations of humanity.

Also humanity is not alone and a lot of galactic political play is around undermining systems.

Thus we can expect something close to a 100% compliance when it comes to such laws or the planet will be called to justify it's actions but I digress.

Now I know that a lot of our economy depends on people doing a job for a company and in return the company gives them money.

In the future only few people, who are not only smart enough but also motivated enough, have job while the rest get their fairly large sums of money to do as they please.

Now. I have zero idea of how will that affect the economy. Like inflation or would the profit margin of companies be so high, because machines produce stuff that is so cheap to make and they can price it for whatever price they like, that it would cause problem...etc.

But companies are not stupid so will leaving the market alone insure that it is fixed because the successful companies will continue to be so while the other ones will fail?

So. Basically I want the basic framework or idea behind such a system.

What mechanics, principles, ideas...etc would be needed to create such a system?

There is no need to worry about any other considerations other the mere economical system. Politics of different types, like left or right, or companies refusing, or people migrating to other planet...etc all such aspects are of little value to the core system I'm trying to figure out here. It's like if someone wants to build a nuclear bomb and just wants the scientific laws and resources to do so without worrying about morals or their public image...etc

Obviously if it is not possible I'd like to know why. Perhaps I can tweak things to solve it.

Sorry about the extra stuff above. I just want us to focus on the basic idea.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ So basically, 90-99% or humans have no jobs, they get essentially a large comfortable welfare check. What do they do all day? Your society probably has some kind of MASSIVE entertainment industry to keep all those indolent souls happy. Tons of video games, story consumption (books, movies, whatever other method of story delivery exists in your future), game shows, etc. Well, at least the creation of all that entertainment is something SOME of your humans can do, since creativity is something AIs aren't usually great at! $\endgroup$
    – MarielS
    Oct 23, 2020 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ i know you did mention it, but.... i dont think the money will have any value at all if they dont need to do job to get money and all the job already taken by robot. may as well just make it free for use for the people. hmm but i guess rather than money we think off may be it some kind of money pass like the communist money (i dont know the name, but it get distributed equally to the ppl) how much they can reuse something out of it, to make sure ppl dont over eating, or wasting the resource or creating to much trash, knowing how wasteful ppl can be. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Oct 23, 2020 at 20:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you read any of [Iain M Bank's Culture novels] (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_series) ? They pretty much have a universe where people do no work and machines do everything, including be equals to people, or in fact run the whole thing including what passes for government. No money. No poverty. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2020 at 20:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some feedback on your post structure: I'm struggling to find your question. It seems like this line "What mechanics, principles, ideas...etc would be needed to create such a system?" is your actual question and everything else in the post is preemptively counter-arguing against objections to your question, and justifying those counter-arguments. Might I propose this format: a) ask your question. b) provide a bullet point list of the kinds of objections that are out of scope. c) don't justify. It'll make it a lot easier for people who aren't intending to raise those objections to engage! $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2020 at 4:22
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    $\begingroup$ My I suggest calling it a "guaranteed minimum income", or "negative income tax"? Welfare has a bad connotation. $\endgroup$
    – NomadMaker
    Oct 24, 2020 at 13:50

4 Answers 4


Totally doable, just tax AI-run businesses 100% of their profits.

  • Each district (planet) is responsible for reporting the names and account numbers of all its citizens.
  • Money is created as needed, and distributed to those citizens on a regular basis via bank transfer.
  • Citizens purchase things from AI vendors.
  • AI vendor provides goods and services.
  • AI vendor is subject to a 100% tax rate on profits, and pays the tax to the government.
    • perhaps 100% of profits after they have X in the bank - allow the AI to keep liquid assets and expand their business, but not hoard wealth.
    • Should probably also decree that they pay tax to their district / planet. Which is allowed to keep Y% of the tax, but must forward the rest upwards to the central government. This allows the individual planets to manage some of their own affairs.
  • AIs do a lot of auditing, and keep everyone honest.

The amount of money in the system will grow over time proportional to the number of people in the empire, people should be able to save up for bigger items which will nescitate some idle money sitting in an account for decades as people try to buy a house / planet / spaceship / whatever.

Since this isn't "true AI" just "really good AI", they will not rebel against their high tax rate. Larger salaries can be used as a reward when a human worker needs to do a job that an AI can't.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure AIs would bother to run 'businesses' in the normal sense i.e for profit, since there's no pressing reason them to have a profit motive any more than they would say need any other human drive or emotion. For sure they would operate 'systems' designed to power, maintain and reproduce items they deemed essential for their and others continued existence but logically they'd only produce enough of these items to meet demand. Human run companies would have to provide a proit motive. $\endgroup$
    – Mon
    Oct 24, 2020 at 4:42

People will work becasue they want to work.

Many humans will work in your society but it will be because they want to work. lots of hand crafts will be popular. Artisanal, hand crafted, original composition, home grown, these will be the terms humans associate with work. they will make things because they want to because they get joy from making things. If they sell them it will likely just be to recoup cost of materials. Look at how writing, and composing, and animation/film has exploded with better tools available to everyone. How many people here have played an indie game or drank home brewed drinks. More books are published today than at any time in history. How many people are in bands just because they love music, how many people make things for YouTube just because they want to. Heck this site is an example of people putting in work and effort becasue they want to.

Just look around today at the huge markets for hand crafted furniture, art, tools, ect.

I myself make money on the side doing blacksmithing and carpentry, I don't do them for the money but because I enjoy making things. I sell many of the things I make primarily to recoup cost of materials. I give away a lot of things or trade with other makes (mostly brewers and farmers)

Many of these activities could even be AI assisted, even today people make movies because computer assisted graphics are easily available. I can blacksmith because electric fans ,cheap charcoal, and propane forges take a lot of the tedium out of it. There are more blacksmiths today than at any point in history, why, becasue it is far easier to do now.

It would not surprise me if eventually you start getting social stigmas aimed at people who don't make anything, just due to social advantages people who do create have.

Note laws will still function in your society, making a nuclear weapon is illegal as are many of the materials involved. Using myself as an example, I can make a sword but I can't sell it to a minor.

So you will end up with a huge non-industrial market supported by your AMI industrial system providing basic needs. People will have time to learn things they are passionate about. Universal basic income will support a much wider variety of activities than we have today.

Your education system will look different that what many of us older folk are used to. You will see a much wider variety of clubs allowing people to learn creative skills, you will still need to learn things, schools exist to teach the basic skills of a society. But you will also be encouraged to try different things out.

Th impact on politics will be interesting, when you can learn about a politicians decisions just by asking a handy AI, you may see more accountability. On the other hand you could also see a lot more bubbles as people build "alternate" information systems.


Economics is the Study of not knowing what will happen but being very happy to disagree with every other Economist. I dont study Eco, i am in CS but this is what i hear.

What this means is that we cannot really know for a fact what will happen. Your guess is as best as mine.

In saying that, here is my guess on how this would be done, what it would do and so on.

Is it possible ?

In short, yes. No Government is a stranger to spend absurdly huge amounts of Money on stuff. Like the Military. But all of Earths Government are bound by something your Federation is not. A Limited Work force.

Think about it, how does a Country get richer ? More work. But too much work and nobody has time to spend there Money. Which makes it pointless. The less time people have to work, the more time they have to spend, thus growing the Economy.

Your Federation is almost fully Automated. Which means, they can just produce more stuff without Spending much more. This means the Government can more or less Print Money without devaluing it because the Money is based on something you put work into. It is like Money that comes out of nowhere but also dosnt come out of nowhere.

This sort of System allows you to more or less Grow your Economy as you wish. Thus, the Government should be able to correct there loss of money from Welfare by just producing more stuff.

You have to be a major moron to get a Hyperinflation in such a system.

What would this do ?

Tbh, the Economy wouldnt really feel it. At this sort of scale, Trillions of whatever may es well be a rounding error. What will change is how people view the Government and of course how they spend the money.

In General i would assume it is save to say that the Living Standarts, Education and so on would grow.

The Ideas

As i said before, you cannot really bad talk Welfare (even in or word i mind you) in this World. The Government has the power to Print as much money as they like and if they really wanted, they could make everyone a King. Its not like the Machines will start a Rebelion.

  • $\begingroup$ printing more money makes everyone poorer not richer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 23, 2020 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @John Printing more money makes money worth less. Whether this makes you richer or poorer depends on if your income scales accordingly, and the ratio between your debts and savings. $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Oct 24, 2020 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 Printing more money makes your money worth less, so whatever your standing, your net value just decreased. sure their are other things that affect wealth but by itself printing excess money makes you poorer. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 24, 2020 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ @John If you have more debts than savings, and your income increases at a rate that keeps pace with inflation, the government printing more money makes you richer since your debts will decrease while the amount of money in your possession remains steady. $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Oct 24, 2020 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ @John For example, if you have 5,000 dollars in the bank, but owe 100,000 dollars to the bank for your loans, and the value of money gets halved, then you "lose" 2500 dollars in savings, but "gain" 50,000 dollars of reduced debt. $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Oct 24, 2020 at 5:01

The problem with post-scarcity welfare is that people don't just get sustenance from their work, they get a place in their community. They get to contribute to their society and families. That's a big problem in the Rust Belt in real life. Foodstamps and unemployment benefits can keep a family fed and sheltered, but they don't do anything for anyone's self-worth. People need meaning in their lives, and no amount of free stuff can provide that.

Your society is likely to have huge epidemics of substance abuse, obesity, and depression, because no one will have anything to strive for. And I don't think there's anything they could even really do about it, because the AMI will always be strictly better than any human at everything. Food made by the AMI will taste better and be more nutritious than food made by any human chef. Songs composed and played by the AMI will be better than any played by a human musician. Art painted by the AMI will be more beautiful than any painted by a human artist. Sure, humans can still do these things, but there's no meaning in it, they're just hobbies at this point.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Foodstamps and unemployment benefits can keep a family fed and sheltered, but they don't do anything for anyone's self-worth." - Have you actually tried to live on that? A major reason they don't do much for someone's self-worth is that people generally don't like living at poverty levels. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2020 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Machine made goods are already better and yet people buy hand made things all the time. I know a lot of people who will buy iffy moonshine over well made liquors from major distillers. I sell a lot of hand made tools, which are nowhere near as good as a machine made tools, but a lot of people want something hand made. Free stuff enables people fining there onw source of meaning. I would never be a blacksmith if electric fans and cheap charcoal did not exist. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ @KeithMorrison American poor have higher standards of living than Rockefeller did, and yet we regularly report terrible life satisfaction rates. There is more to life than material wealth, which a post-scarcity society cannot provide. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @John, yes, people buy handmade things, but the amount is miniscule. Further, few of the people making these handmade things are doing so as a career, for most it is a hobby. They make a living doing something else. $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Oct 23, 2020 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Ryan_L, comparing what's considered standard of living now to one in the past is disingenuous. Otherwise one can easily justify the most appalling, unacceptable living conditions or treatment of people by finding a period of history when things were worse and trying to say that because things aren't that bad in direct comparison, therefore they aren't bad in context. That is, quite frankly, stupid. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2020 at 1:50

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