Bill Gates back in February suggested that we need to tax robots in order to slow down the effects of automation on jobs. He said in an interview with Quartz “if a human worker does you know, $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 we would tax the robot at a similar level.”
But Andrus Ansip who is the European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market says he doesn’t think that’s the way and therefore won’t support the idea. Speaking to CNBC, he said the “The aim of taxation is not just (to) collect revenues … But to increase salaries of teachers and police. Taxes are also to have some influence over some processes. I fully agree that we have to tax bad habits, for example pollution, or smoking, or drinking alcoholic drinks, this I can understand.”
But Bill Gates’s point back then was that we have to do this to keep vital professions like teaching and law enforcement from being overrun by automation. The tax should be channeled into training to get prepared for the future.
Well it’s just a proposal at this stage but what is now clear to us all is that more jobs will be lost to automation and there’s little we can do about it. Corporations would rather use a software to carry out human tasks while increasing profit over time and that’s the new reality.