The world’s richest man believes that automation pushes jobs obsolete, reason why governments should impose a tax on robots.
Though, the proposal is not yet accepted solution, Bill Gates has stated that the world need to at the very least begin talking about what it will do about job loss in this age of automation.
“The employment stealing robots were already seen to take over some human jobs. In fact, it seems like it could be only a matter of time before they do. Increasing automation will lead to massive job displacement, and less people working means less employed citizens paying taxes. So, the question is, how will communities make up the difference if automation is inevitable in the future of employment?” Gates said.
The Co-founder of Microsoft suggests that robots that take human jobs should pay appropriate taxes.
“Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level,” Gates explained in an interview with Quartz.
This robot tax money could be taken from what companies would save given the efficiencies that an automated workforce provides them, or a tax imposed on companies that employ robots. The collected taxes could be used for anything from the care of the elderly or to support youth projects in public schools.
He believes there will be “little” resistance from companies that employ a robot workforce.
Meanwhile, half of jobs today are already at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation, and evidence of an industrial future defined by an automated workforce is steadily building.
According to a report by McKinsey, about 60 percent of all occupations could have 30 percent, or more, of their activities automated with technology that exists today. And, as technology rapidly advances, those numbers will only climb higher.
The influential person’s tax idea has already been proposed by European Union lawmakers, but the law was rejected.
Another proposal that looks to also provide a solution is the implementation of a universal basic income (UBI), which backed by tech industrialist Elon Musk of SpaceX.
“Exactly how you’d do it, measure it, you know, it’s interesting for people to start talking about now. There will be some great conversations and be some ideas about new investments that can be made,” Gates calling the world to start talking over the possibility.