But nearly lost in a flurry of tweets, Musk now says that universal basic income (UBI) — essentially, free cash handouts — "will be necessary over time if AI [artificial intelligence] takes over most human jobs."
That's what Musk tweeted Friday in response to a question from a Twitter user who asked him if he supported UBI.
Universal basic income is a cash handout distributed to the people of a state or region irrespective of employment status. In November 2016, Musk himself told CNBC automation would lead to the need for cash handouts.
"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," Musk told CNBC. "Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen."
And Musk isn't the only Silicon Valley titan to surface the idea.
"Let's face it: There is something wrong with our system when I can leave [Harvard] and make billions of dollars in 10 years, while millions of students can't afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business," Zuckerberg said in his May 2017 commencement address at his alma mater. "Now it's our time to define a new social contract for our generation. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things."