Bill Gates Thinks Robots That Replace Human Workers Should Be Taxed
Posted on February 17, 2017 11:17 AM by Rob Williams
In a new Quartz video, Bill Gates makes a suggestion that on one hand, seems obvious, but on the other, isn’t one most people would have even thought of. A big worry right now is that robots are going to be replacing jobs en masse in the future, leaving people scrambling to find some way to, well, continue living. Robots are already used the world over, and have already made a big impact in certain markets.
If you think robots and automation won’t affect too much, keep in mind that Amazon has been testing a supermarket that doesn’t truly need any human workers. Consumers can waltz on in through the door, pick product off of the shelf, and leave. Everything will be charged to the person’s Amazon account, automatically. If this kind of store becomes commonplace down-the-road, it’s not hard to understand the problem we face.
It’s for that reason that Bill Gates believes robots should be taxed, and he has sound reasoning for it. If a worker does $50,000 worth of work for a factory, that $50,000 is taxed. If workers are replaced with robots and they’re not taxed, the income tax the government receives would plummet. That’s not likely to happen.
But taxed or not, the mere thought of what could happen doesn’t bode well for humans that would like to continue living a normal life. Gates sees a transition happening: as robots replace workers, those workers would take up jobs that require human empathy – working as teachers, at old persons’ homes, et cetera. The taxes from the robots could ultimately help fund these positions.
Gates isn’t the first person to think that robots should be taxed, and we’re sure after this video makes its rounds, there are going to be many more that jump on the same bandwagon.