Universal basic income has become a favored cause for many high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as a solution to the job losses and social conflict that would be wrought by automation and artificial intelligence — the very technologies their own companies create. But the conversation has changed. Its center of gravity has shifted away from “universal basic income” aimed at counterbalancing the automation of work and toward “guaranteed income” aimed at addressing economic and racial injustices. Where things stand now: As it turned out, what made the difference wasn’t more research but a global pandemic. In the face of the recession caused by the pandemic, relief packages were suddenly seen as necessary to jump-start the American economy. The success of the $1,400 stimulus checks make it more likely now than ever before that that guaranteed income could soon become a permanent fixture of federal policy.