Bill Gates: Robots Should Pay Income Taxes

Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates revealed in a new interview with Quartz robots, who are expected to replace human workers, should pay incomes taxes equal to the human worker they replaced.

“If a human worker does $50,000 of work in a factory, that income is taxed,” Gates said. “If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

Bill Gates asserts that these taxes could be used to help fund programs that can train humans new skills. For example, the robot tax can be used to help fund retraining human factory workers for jobs that will still require human workers.

“Some of it can come from the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there. Some of it can come directly from some type of robot tax,” Gates said.

Also, Gates argues that policy should be implemented to “slow down the speed” of automated jobs to allow governments time to manage the technological revolution.

Bill Gates
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 24: Bill Gates attends the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at The Shertaon New York Hotel on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock, Inc.)

Last December, Amazon announced the release of “Amazon Go” a new service that could disrupt the entire retail industry. Amazon Go is a store that does not have have a single register and most of the stocking will be done by robots and not people. While the idea is great for people who are interested in avoiding standing in line to check out, economists are worried about the future of jobs.

A 2016 report from the Council of Economic Advisers found that nearly 83% of all jobs paying $20 per hour will be replaced by some form of technology. In addition, jobs paying between $20 to $40 per hour will face some sort of disruption.

Overall, Gates argues that more time should be spent on doing a better job of “reaching out to the elderly, having a smaller class side, helping kids with special needs.”