That Robot That's Eyeing Your Job? It Might Need to Pay Taxes


I don't mean to alarm you, but robots are basically ready to run the world.

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OK, fine. They're not ready to completely run the world (although, we may have just come up with the premise for a new Beyoncé song), but they are definitely ready to take over some of your jobs. And by ready, we mean robots are literally already putting people out of jobs.

As technology progresses, more and more people will lose their jobs to machines. And if people aren't working, then they're not paying as much in taxes. So it makes sense that former Microsoft head Bill Gates believes that the robots should have to pay their fair share.

Wait, what? How would a robot pay taxes?

Gates explained his reasoning in an interview with Quartz. But spoiler alert, the tax would be paid by the owners and operators, not the robots themselves. After all, good luck telling this straight-from-your-nightmares robot it owes you money:

"Right now if a human worker does, you know, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed," Gates said. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think that we'd tax the robot at a similar level."

The tax could be pay for jobs that take care of elderly people, pay for smaller classroom sizes, and provide help for students with special needs. Also, the tax to robot owners would ideally pay for training for workers who have lost their jobs to machines.

"You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed" of automation, Gates explained. "You cross the threshold of job replacement of certain activities all sort of at once." He added that in the next 20 years, warehouse work and driving are just two of the job categories that will be taken over by robots. Here's a snippet of the interview:

So if Gates' proposal comes to fruition, robots will have to pay their dues for taking over human jobs. If you've lost your job to a machine, this likely won't make you feel any better about it, but at least someone's being held accountable.

Right up until the robots take over entirely.

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