Bill Gates' Robot Tax

qz.com

Kevin J. Delaney:

In a recent interview with Quartz, Gates said that a robot tax could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited. He argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than relying on businesses, in order to redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes. The idea is not totally theoretical: EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training for workers who lose their jobs, though on Feb. 16 the legislators ultimately rejected it.

Yes, Bill Gates, the richest man on the planet, is to the left of the EU on this topic. I think we all get where he's trying to go with this, but it just doesn't seem to make any sense. The line is too gray. What is a robot? Is a PC a robot? Certainly it has some robot-like qualities. And certainly Gates wouldn't want to see all PCs, the vast majority of which still run Microsoft Windows, taxed this way... 

Of course, I'm also willing to admit that Gates is a genius and has probably thought about this far more than many of us in the Twittersphere. So maybe we're all just missing something (but I doubt it). In general, I find that a good rule for business is not to be to the left of the EU on anything...

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