A Universal Basic Robot

  • Mathew SchwartzEmail author
  • Michael Ehrlich
Part of the KAIST Research Series book series (KAISTRS)


While the idea of advancing technology and society are often of primary interest to academics, the general public is frequently challenging the integration of these advancements within society. This complex issue is most often discussed around the role of robots in manufacturing where both repetitive and dangerous tasks performed by humans are being replaced by robotic counterparts that in many cases, can also perform these tasks more accurately. Similarly, the idea of automation through artificial intelligence poses a risk to workers far beyond physical labor, a topic highly discussed for the past few years. From this concern, theories on bringing your own robot to work, analogous to the bring your own device to work movement, have been brought up as a way into the future. Separately, in order to offset the economic downsides of the changing human labor force, and among other reasons, recent political discussions have been actively pursuing the idea of a universal basic income. This paper poses an alternative idea, one in which the advantages of robotics continues to benefit the laborers in which it replaces, and takes the bring your own robot to work to a macro scale: a universal basic robot. These two past proposals, one in which people bring their own robot to work, and one in which a universal basic income is given, have large differences in the way society itself will transform. This paper discusses the trends of technological development that lead to the robotic workforce and the economic challenges of implementing such an idea.



The authors would like to thank Ji-Hyun Lee for organizing the Cultural DNA Workshop and the attendees for their valuable feedback during the conceptualization of this idea.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Architecture and DesignNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Martin Tuchman School Of ManagementNew Jersey Institute of TechnologyNewarkUSA

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