Bill Gates is part of an exclusive group who very often have ideas before their time and can on the surface look a little eccentric. The billionaire’s latest idea may well come into that bracket but he gives a very good argument as to why robots should pay taxes. Many believe we stand on the crest of a wave of robotics taking over many parts of the employment market. Robots are not new but when you put them together with artificial intelligence this is a whole different ballgame.
Backed by the European Parliament
The idea that robot should pay taxes has been backed by the European Parliament which itself believes we need to address the idea sooner rather than later. In reality, if a robot is able to save significant money on labour costs then this should in theory drop into the bottom line and companies would pay tax on larger profits. However, there is a lot more to this argument than just cost savings and increasing profits.
Many now believe that robots should effectively be registered to work and pay some kind of robot tax to the authorities. When you bear in mind that robots are expected to take away millions of jobs in the long term, the idea of a robot tax does not look so absurd. If a robot was to take your job tomorrow what would the government do to make up the lost tax revenue which you had created in your employment lifetime?
Low skilled jobs under threat
The idea of using large numbers of robots in the workplace has been around for many years and while some have emerged, they have not yet emerged in the numbers many had forecast. However, there is a growing belief that robots will very soon take on labour-intensive roles to allow people to fill gaps in areas such as teaching and care for the elderly. When you sit back and look at this type of situation from a distance, it does make sense, bringing in reliable robots to do the labour-intensive work while leaving individuals to fill higher skilled employment gaps.
The main problem here is that the low income low skilled sector of the employment market will come under severe attack in years to come. This will either push many people out of employment, who do not have the necessary skills to move up the employment ladder, or at best it could reduce employment rates for low skilled work. If this was the case then the gap between the low skilled and the high skilled areas of the employment market could grow significantly.
Even though robots have been mentioned in the workplace for many years now, and indeed currently hold an array positions, this revolution is building up pace. The integration of artificial intelligent into robotics will also have a major impact in years to come. We already know of robots used in low skilled labour-intensive positions to the integration of artificial intelligence will allow them to move up the employment ladder. So, on that basis, and bearing in mind they will be taking away tax paying jobs, the idea of a robot tax does not seem too bizarre?