Bill Gates thinks robots should be taxed “at a similar level” to humans if they do the same type of labor. By having them pay taxes, the “spread of automation” will slow down and other types of employment will have a chance to be funded.
“Certainly there will be taxes that relate to automation. Right now, the human worker who does, say, USD 50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things,” Mr. Gates, one of the world’s richest men, told Quartz. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level”
Gates also said that companies that use robots to complete human jobs should be taxed so that those funds can be used to finance human jobs that are less suited to robots and other machines.
“If you can take the labour that used to do the things automation replaces, and financially and training-wise and fulfilment-wise have that person go off and do these other things, then you’re net ahead,” said Mr. Gates, one of the leading players in artificial-intelligence technology. “But you can’t just give up that income tax, because that’s part of how you’ve been funding that level of human workers.”
According to The Hindu news portal, European Union lawmakers have already considered taxing companies that use robots in order to use the funds to pay for worker training when they lose their old job.
“You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed” of automation, Mr. Gates said after legislators rejected the EU proposal on February 16, 2017. “Exactly how you’d do it, measure it, you know, it’s interesting for people to start talking about now.”
When asked if a robot labor tax would anger anyone in the automaton industry, Gates disagreed. “Some of it can come on the profits that are generated by the labour-saving efficiency there.”
All in favor of a robot tax and giving back to our working community, raise your hand!