As the trend is toward ever-increasing automation, everyone is fearing for their job. I can’t count how many articles I’ve crossed this month alone about this issue.
Machines are arriving in force in the workplace and there is a possibility that robots may end up competing with humans over jobs.
As a matter of fact, sources think it could only be a matter of time before robots take over most jobs currently done by humans.
Most of us are scared already, but some of us are beginning to think about a solution: adding a tax on robots.
Bill Gates, a techno-optimist and one of the leading players in artificial intelligence, as well as being Microsoft’s co-founder, believes that governments should tax companies’ use of robots.
Even if the announcement is striking and seemingly antagonist to Bill’s beliefs, it seems to be a carefully elaborated position.
Gates knows that taxation can slow the automation adoption and thus he anticipates a sudden glut of unemployed workers.
How will governments react once half of the workforce is unemployed and tax revenues then fall down? Fewer people working means fewer employed citizens paying taxes!
Besides, Gates thinks that by applying this ‘robot tax’, the funds could help finance positions where only the humans can interact effectively, such as child care.
“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you pay income tax, Social Security tax, all those things. If a robot then comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we should tax the robot at a similar level”, Gates explained in an interview with Quartz.
But commenters all over the Internet are not seeing it this way. They pointed out that technology and automation have been around for many years, so why decide all of a sudden to add taxes now! They even said that Microsoft itself is partly responsible for this.
Maybe Gates should have thought of adding taxes to washing machines, computers or even to Excel 🙂
What if Gates’ proposal is accepted? Will we be seeing robots in a near future trying to evade their taxes and heading to a tax haven? And what if a robot can’t afford to pay its taxes due to its maintenance costs?
The pursuit of robot tax evaders will soon be launched I guess 🙂
So robots, you better start figuring out your next heavenly destination. It’s about time!
Stay tuned for more fun cartoons!