Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is running for U.S. president, and he's made the robot revolution a central pillar of his election campaign for the 2020 race.
Yang is the founder of Venture for America, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs create jobs, and he was previously the CEO of education firm Manhattan Prep. A Democrat, he has said the rise of automation and artificial intelligence will soon render millions of American jobs obsolete. To prevent widespread unemployment, he's proposing monthly stipends of $1,000 for all citizens aged 18 to 64, no strings attached.
With a third of American workers at risk of permanent unemployment from new technologies in the next 12 years, "we have to accelerate both American society and the government to help manage this transition," he told CNBC's Akiko Fujita on the sidelines of the CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong.
The theory is that such payouts would create 4.5 million jobs by channeling more consumer spending power into the economy and fuel mainstream businesses, he projected, citing estimates from The Roosevelt Institute. "By implementing this, you also strengthen the consumer market which businesses need, this is essential for capitalism to continue in its current form," he said.
To pay for the monthly handouts, the 43 year-old is proposing a 10 percent value-added tax on corporations that he says will generate $800 billion in new revenue.
While President Donald Trump wants to bring jobs back to American shores, Yang simply doesn't believe those jobs are coming back. Trump won because the country "automated away four million manufacturing jobs" in areas like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, according to Yang, a trained corporate lawyer who announced his candidacy earlier this year.