Not so fast, Billy
Bill Gates’ solution to rapid automation may not be the smartest idea he’s ever had. In a recent interview, Gates proposed taxing robots that have replaced humans in the workforce.
Kinda right, mostly wrong
It is likely that machines and AI will continue to automate work moving forward, especially with the technological advancements that have already been made. This is not a new concept though.
Automation is necessary to produce quality products and provide services at a faster rate.
Just think of how long it took to buy groceries when cashiers had to punch in every UPC code by hand? What about life before ATM machines and drive-throughs? Gates is not wrong in predicting an increase in automation. However, he’s got it all wrong when it comes to automation’s impact on the workforce.
Automation based on demand not desire
For Gates, a tax makes sense because it would slow the growth of automation and the funds raised would go to supporting displaced workers. For him and many others who worry about the effect in the textile and manufacturing industries, automation is only taking and never giving back. It is true that an increase in machine-driven technology could lead to job loss in these industries.
However, research predicts a job increase across the board in most other industries.
How could this be? Automation, such as an ATM machine, is created to meet a need based on demand. More people need to go to the bank, so why not create machines that can provide faster services?
With this technology, customers and demand increases because of the efficiency of service. Research shows that even with the addition of ATM machines, the number of bank tellers went up because new branches were opened.
Rootin’ for the lil robots
Unlike Gates prediction, it is more likely that automation will open up new jobs rather than only take them away.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Taxing these automation robots would do more harm to job creation than the machines themselves.” quote=”So taxing these robots would do more harm to job creation than the machines themselves.”]
New technology is a benefit. Since the Industrial Revolution, automated machines have allowed workers to provide faster, higher quality and cheaper services. While support for workers making job transitions should be provided, it should come in the form of training them new skills to serve a different industry.