Let’s make one thing clear: Our robot overlords are coming whether we like it or not. Today, they might just vacuum our floors and build our trucks, but tomorrow they will take our jobs, our women and our guns. Okay, the last two are (hopefully) not going to happen, but it’s pretty clear that robots are being groomed to do some human jobs much more efficiently (and safely) than we do.
Say there’s a future in which the robots that take over driving our taxis and trucks (because that is going to happen if companies like Uber and Google have anything to do with it), replace millions of workers who currently pay income tax. What then, Bill asks, will happen to the lost taxes that would go into public funds to maintain the very roads they drive on?
“It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm,” Gates said. “That means they won’t shape it for the positive things it can do. And, you know, taxation is certainly a better way to handle it than just banning some elements of it.”
He also pointed out that the tax money collected on robots should be used to re-train those who have been made redundant by robotics. He’s confident that robotics companies would be okay with the taxes since the income generated by selling and operating millions of robots would far out way whatever initial tax outlay they’d need to dole out.
Does this mean that robots will do robots’ 1040 forms? Who, or what, will audit them? My brain hurts just thinking about it.