Bill Gates Believes Robots Should Pay Income Taxes

Automation is the next step towards the utopia where robot workforce does all with humans standing on the side, working on more creative works or jobs tough for robots to handle, like in the medicine, or psychology field. Automation is the next big leap, and possibly the longest jump forward industry will see ever since Henry Ford introduced assembly line back in 1913.

But, the utopia won’t really be there. The majority of jobs today fall into the group that will most certainly end up in the hands of autonomous robots, with the biggest question being how will those human workers earn for life if all jobs are taken by robots?

The industry heads, as well as politicians, didn’t really thought about it. There are some researchers arguing about the robot workforce tax, a type of tax that would be paid by companies using robots as the majority of their workforce. While still being in its infancy, the idea of robot workforce tax could provide income for humans suffering from the future automation.

In a recent interview with Quartz, Bill Gates talked about his idea of robot workforce tax. Gates believes that robots used as workforce should get taxed in the same way as the human labor does. This could fund social services, just like today labor tax powers most public services.

“You can’t just give up that income tax,” Gates said.  He believes that companies generating profit by employing robot labor shouldn’t be allowed to reap all that profit without paying taxes. And he’s right; just because they employee robots, doesn’t mean that companies shouldn’t pay taxes. The labor tax should be the same for humans and robots alike.

And that robot workforce tax could be used for retraining people who lost their jobs to robots, finding them jobs in branches where workforce is in high demand.

The problem is, even with some people like Gates talking about the possible solutions we may come up with once automation enters our lives, the majority still don’t think about the day when robots will replace most human labor. According to Oxford, robots could displace up to 50 percent of all jobs between 2023 and 2033. PwC report from 2016 discovered that drones could replace $126 billion worth of labor alone.

And McKinsey report from 2015 is especially grim; according to the report, the technology we had in 2015 could have replaced forty-five percent of all jobs. And that was in 2015, by now the percent sure rose above fifty percent.

Will we live on “basic” income, the idea that appeared in numerous SF novels, movies and TV shows? Will we receive income just for being alive, while the majority of work will be done by robots? The question is very hard to answer, mostly because the automation process is way ahead of our work on finding the solution for the imminent robot labor invasion. This may not look like such a big deal, but in just five years we might face the largest shift industry has seen in more than a century, and if our governments fail to find a way to enable a quiet shift in labor that will provide options for huge number of workers who will be left without a job, we might see worldwide protests and descent into chaos because the majority of us could lose their jobs and stay without any income in less than a decade from now.

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