Interview Bill Gates: “Certainly there will be taxes related to automation”


Excerpts from the interview with Bill Gates on the application of taxes on robots in February 2017, (source: Quartz)

Quartz: What do you think of a robot tax?
This is the idea that to generate funds for the training of workers, in areas such as manufacturing, which are displaced by automation, a specific thing that governments could do is tax the installation of a robot in a factory, for example .

Bill Gates: “Certainly there will be taxes related to automation At this time, the human worker who makes, say, $ 50,000 in work in a factory, that income is subject to taxes and you receive income taxes, security taxes social, all those things, if a robot comes in to do the same, you would think that we tax the robot at a similar level.
And what the world wants is to take advantage of this opportunity to manufacture all the goods and services that we have today, and free up labor, do a better job to reach the elderly, have smaller classes, help children with special needs ” .

Quartz: And then you could introduce a tax on robots …
Bill Gates: “There are many ways to take advantage of that additional productivity and generate more taxes, Exactly how you would do it, measure it, you know, it’s interesting that people start talking now, Part of this can reach the benefits that efficiency generates. Manpower savings there Some of them can come directly into some kind of robot tax I do not think the robot companies will be outraged that there might be a tax.

Quartz: Could you find a way to do it that does not discourage innovation?
Bill Gates: “Well, at a time when people say that the arrival of that robot is a net loss due to displacement, you should be willing to raise the level of taxes and even reduce the speed of that adoption to discover,” OK, What about the communities where this has a particularly large impact? What transition programs have worked and what type of funding do they require? “”

Quartz: And you are more on the side of the government should play an active role instead of relying on companies to solve this?
Bill Gates: Well, business can not. If you want to do [something about] inequity, a large part of the excess work will need to help people with lower incomes. And that means that it can expand social services for the elderly and disabled and it can take the education sector and put more work there. Yes, part of this will be used to say: “Hey, we’ll be richer and people will buy more things.” But the part of the resolution of inequality, absolutely the government, has an important role to play there. However, the good thing about taxes is that it really separates the problem: “OK, that gives you the resources, how do you want to implement it?”

Source text: Quartz (

Source video: Quartz


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