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Old 17th July 2017, 11:37   #1
jcollins
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Default California looks at robot tax

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The world is becoming more and more automated and one California City wants to tax the high tech.

San Francisco city supervisor Jane Kim is setting up a working group to consider taxing companies that replace human workers with robots. The idea was originally proposed by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates who says that a robot tax could slow down the shift to automation and give society a chance to catch up. Gates says it could also mean a higher salary for work done by humans such as taking care of children or the elderly. And Supervisor Kim agrees.

Right now San Francisco has one of the biggest income gaps between the rich and poor in the country. She says automation will make that gap worse and it's time to think about different ways to invest in society. So her working group will consider things such as how much revenue the city could lose from automation, and the industries that will be the most affected. Ideally the money raised by taxes will go back into city programs. Or to fight back when the robots rise up.
http://banmilleronbusiness.com/blog/...4-07/robot-tax

Thought this might interest a few people on here.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:00   #2
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Interesting.

I wonder if Theresa May has any trips to California planned? She might have to re-think, it will cost her a fortune in tax to get in!
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:23   #3
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They're worried that automation will wreck their push for a higher minimum wage?
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:25   #4
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Originally Posted by Darandio View Post
I wonder if Theresa May has any trips to California planned? She might have to re-think, it will cost her a fortune in tax to get in!
Unlikely California is mainly pro-Democrat and anti-Trump, so not the place to go if your intention is to kiss Trump's arse.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:28   #5
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They're worried that automation will wreck their push for a higher minimum wage?
I think it's more of a case of an employee pay taxes but a robot doesn't earn anything or pay any taxes, so if there's fewer private sector employees then they'll be less tax receipts to spend on public services.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:36   #6
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It seems fairly sensible to have some sort of levy on machine labour. Presumably to a) keep humans competitive. and b) allow for funds to retrain those who may lose their jobs
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Old 17th July 2017, 15:31   #7
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Originally Posted by jcollins View Post
Unlikely California is mainly pro-Democrat and anti-Trump, so not the place to go if your intention is to kiss Trump's arse.
Think you missed a joke there!
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Old 17th July 2017, 15:43   #8
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Thus enabling more people to be forced to do mind numbing and soul destroying tasks!
And driving up the price of manufactured goods.
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Old 17th July 2017, 17:30   #9
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Crazy idea if you ask me. It's basically the equivalent of - say - in the 19th century, imposing a tax on any use of machinery to automate any task - which would obviously have reduced the incentive to develop machinery or technology. And can you imagine how much more backward technology would be today compared to what it actually is if that approach had been adopted?

Besides, how do you even define what counts as a robot (as opposed to merely being a computer, or a slightly more automated machine)? And having done that, how do you distinguish when a robot is actually taking over a person's task (as opposed to a robot being used because it can do additional things the person couldn't do, or the person is being laid off because demand for the product is falling)? The whole thing would be an bureaucratic nightmare to determine when and when not to levy the tax, and impossible to plug all the potential loopholes in any reasonable regulations.
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Old 17th July 2017, 18:05   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DynamicSpirit View Post
Crazy idea if you ask me. It's basically the equivalent of - say - in the 19th century, imposing a tax on any use of machinery to automate any task - which would obviously have reduced the incentive to develop machinery or technology. And can you imagine how much more backward technology would be today compared to what it actually is if that approach had been adopted?

Besides, how do you even define what counts as a robot (as opposed to merely being a computer, or a slightly more automated machine)? And having done that, how do you distinguish when a robot is actually taking over a person's task (as opposed to a robot being used because it can do additional things the person couldn't do, or the person is being laid off because demand for the product is falling)? The whole thing would be an bureaucratic nightmare to determine when and when not to levy the tax, and impossible to plug all the potential loopholes in any reasonable regulations.
Pretty much the thoughts I was having. As soon as someone came up with (doubtless complicated) definition of a 'taxable robot', all the manufacturers of them would quickly modify it so it didn't qualify any more.

So to take a silly example, would would train brake anti-slide or traction wheelslip control systems qualify for taxation - they have sensors and do things in response to changes in the environment they are monitoring, so are they robotic or just human assistants? What about automatic doors? (We all know from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy that they get bored, so they definitely have human traits )
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Old 17th July 2017, 18:34   #11
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Incidentally the EU considered the idea and rejected it.
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