Christopher J. Lee

As robots edge into workplace, free money idea takes hold

Driverless trucks. Factory robots. Delivery drones. Virtual personal assistants.

As technological innovations increasingly edge into the workplace, many people fear that robots and machines are destined to take jobs that human beings have held for decades. For many affected workers, retraining might be out of reach —unavailable, unaffordable or inadequate.

What then?

Enter the idea of a universal basic income, the notion that everyone should be able to receive a stream of income to live on, regardless of their employment or economic status.

It isn't an idea that seems likely to gain traction nationally in the current political environment. But in some...