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Actually, my adviser was quite laid back. As a result, I was able to build a lot of skills in order to complete my project. However, notice I said able. I had to self-teach and self-fund to do it, the academic stuff was really just an obstacle.

I think something like a basic income would allow the a certain type of person to achieve the same, and do it much faster and cheaper than getting a higher degree. I wonder if that is one reason why most of these problems started when higher education/research became less of an "elite" activity, ie as discussed in subnaughts link in this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12805406

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