Technological advancements bring in their folds the fear that human value may be reduced. This fear looms large in the minds of people especially in the context of bots, who are slowly taking over jobs that were previously done by humans.
Robots are set to replace human workers in high-precision tasks related to the production of mobile phones or other consumer electronics. Bots stealing human jobs has been a much debated issue, with companies justifying their stand by saying it's more cost effective.
Now Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates has responded to the issue of bots stealing human jobs and is of the belief that one should "tax the robots."
Bill Gates Supportive Statement
During an interview with the Quartz, Gates expressed that if companies are looking to deploy robots in a bid to replace human workers, then they need to face certain consequences.
He voiced that even though bots are non-living entities, just like humans have to pay income taxes, so should the bots.
"Right now 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'd tax the robot at a similar level," said Gates.
The notion of a bot paying taxes is not merely hypothetical as lawmakers in the EU considered a policy which required owners of robots to pay taxes so that this could be used toward human laborers' training, who lose work opportunities as a result. However, the proposal has been rejected.
"You ought to be willing to raise the tax level and even slow down the speed," adds Gates.
He advocates this as according to the philanthropist, the scenario for replacing people with robots in a slew of jobs is happing simultaneously with technological advancements. Gates is of the belief that the displacement needs to be managed well.
The threat of robots taking over human jobs as a result of society leaning more and more towards automation, is a concern that has worried not only tech experts but also economists.
Reports have indicated that robots will replace 50 percent human jobs from 2023 to 2033. Additionally, a 2015 McKinsey report shared that present-day technology was equipped to replace nearly 45 percent human jobs. It is believed that drones may also replace human jobs in agriculture and infrastructure.
Such statistics are alarming and Gates suggest that labor demand for plenty of skill sets, especially those who are in low-skilled jobs will suffer.
Gates, is of the belief that the tax incurred from the bots can contribute to tasks, such as teaching, elder care and providing kids with special needs. Thus, these taxes are likely to be used to pay salaries to human workers who are designated with these social jobs.
Photo: Gisela Giardino | Flickr