Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots

Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft, has recently suggested that robots that replace human workers should be taxed in such a way as to duplicate that worker's income taxes.

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

Gates argues that these taxes, paid by a robot's owners or makers, would be used to help fund labor force retraining. Former factory workers, drivers, and cashiers would be transitioned to health services, education, or other fields where human workers will remain vital. Gates even suggests the policy would intentionally “slow down the speed of that adoption [of automation] somewhat,” giving more time to manage the broader transition.

Mr. Gates is a bit late in his suggestion; for example, here is author John Twelve Hawks writing in his excellent new novel Spark:

The Freedom to Work Act was one of several bills passed in Congress after the Day of Rage. The new law said that companies were free to fire any employee, but a worker replaced by a nubot that "appears or pretends to be human" had to be compensated.
(Read more about Replaced Worker Benefits)

Via Fortune.

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