Should Robots Pay Taxes?

business_ethics_highlights_2The headline below is somewhat misleading, since the proposal isn’t to have robots pay taxes (after all, robots don’t earn wages)— the proposal is rather to have the owners of industrial robots pay taxes, to make up for the jobs being lost. A couple of obvious problems arise here. First, the notion of “stealing jobs” implies that jobs are the sort of thing that can be owned, which is pretty problematic. (If you owned your job, your boss wouldn’t be able to fire you for being bad at it.) Second, if replacing human labour with a machine implies an obligation to pay additional taxes, what does that say about my dishwasher and my laundry machines, and the human servants that those appliances, in principle, replace? Or my word processing software, and the human secretary who once would have performed that task? >>>

LINK: Should robots have to pay taxes? (by Charles Riley for CNN)

If robots are going to steal human jobs and otherwise disrupt society, they should at the very least pay taxes.

That’s the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences.

“Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and … the survival of the species,” the draft states.

The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now “seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution.”….

What do you think?

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