It’s an opinion that’s gaining steam, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the latest to say robots that take human jobs should pay taxes.
In an interview with Quartz, Gates says there should be repercussions for businesses that want to replace humans with robots.
“If a human worker does $50,000 of work in a factory, that income is taxed,” says Gates in the interview. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”
Must-Read: 10 Jobs Robots Will Never Replace
“You can’t just give up that income tax,” he adds. “Some of it can come on the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there. Some of it can come directly from some type of robot tax.”
Gates says humans need to be re-trained to work in areas that are suffering from a shortage of workers, including elderly care and education. “You’re net ahead” if this happens, Gates says.
“What the world wants is to take this opportunity to make all the goods and services we have today and free up labor – let us do a better job of reaching out to the elderly, having smaller class side, helping kids with special needs,” says Gates. “All of those are things where human empathy and understanding are still very unique, and we still deal with an immense shortage of people to help out there.”
Rodney Brooks: Robots Aren’t a Threat to Jobs
This isn’t the first time Gates has spoken out about robots and jobs. While speaking at the 2014 American Enterprise Institute, Gates said people are unaware of how many jobs could be replaced by robots.
Gates said, “software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses – it’s progressing. … Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. … 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower.”
Do you agree with Gates? Should robots pay taxes if they replace human workers? Let us know in the comments.