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Bill Gates thinks every robot that takes a job should pay taxes

(BUSINESS NEWS) Bill Gates thinks every robot that takes a job should be taxed. How does he plan on executing that?

robot taxes

robot tax

Bill Gates is one of the biggest names associated with the personal computer revolution. Through Microsoft, Gates has been responsible for exponential increases in worker productivity and efficiency, as well as a forerunner of artificial intelligence. Now, he wants to tax robots for replacing humans.

Increasing levels of automation and the coming of machines with artificial intelligence have many of us lowly humans worried.

What will happen if there’s a robot for everything and none of the robot middle management wants to throw a bone to a biological underdog?

helping the biological underdogs

One solution offered to smooth the transition for the masses of factory workers, cashiers, and other people who might lose their jobs to robots involves retraining these populations for jobs that still require a human touch, an element of empathy, or personalization.

In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates suggested that this training could be partially funded by taxing robots that replace humans, just as you would tax the wages of a human employee.

“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed, and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things,” said the software billionaire. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

As far as where to send the extra revenue from the robot tax, Gates is in favor of “[doing] a better job of reaching out to the elderly, having smaller class sizes, helping kids with special needs . . . we still deal with an immense shortage of people to help out there.”

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Proposed plan

When questioned about whether the tax would disincentivize innovation, Gates responded saying, “you ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed of that adoption somewhat to figure out, ‘OK, what about the communities where this has a particularly big impact?’” He cites “warehouse work, driving, [and] room cleanup” as job categories that might be dominated by robot workers in the next 20 years.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Gates is in favor of government involvement to solve the problem because he says “businesses can’t” ” quote=”Gates is solidly in favor of government involvement to solve the problem because as he says, “businesses can’t.” “]

He states, “If you want to do [something about] inequity, a lot of the excess labor is going to need to go help the people who have lower incomes.”

Gates isn’t alone here. EU lawmakers recently considered a similar proposal to tax robot owners to fund training for new jobs, but on February 16 the proposal failed to pass. Still, with Gates on its side, the idea might just take off. But will we really start taxing anything that makes our lives easier?


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Written By

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

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