Taxing robots for the future of mankind
As I grew up, I realized that the world was indeed divided. But I believe that the divide is not between countries or races: It is between people who try to contribute to the future of humankind (even if it would affect them negatively in the short run) and those who want to maximize their profits today at the expense of others.
That is why we have people who are talking about future technologies and their possible effects on all of humanity and those who cannot help but talk about politics and benefits. People like Bill Gates and Elon Musk are thinking and acting to change the future for the benefit of humankind, while people like Donald Trump and other authoritarian leaders are trying to change the future according to just a few people’s interests.
An immense change is coming and there is no way it can be stopped. Robots and automation are like forces of nature, and we are way beyond the point where they can be stalled. Robots will change the way things are produced. Everything will be produced much cheaper and more quickly. This will result in fewer workers, meaning there will be lots of unemployed people in the near future.
This situation presents many new kinds of problems financially, socially and physiologically. The answers to these problems will not come from current politicians who can only think about protectionism and war.
According to the Financial Times, robots have at least one unfair advantage over human workers: They do not pay income tax.
Bill Gates has the following to say about that: “Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, etc. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”
Musk, meanwhile, said that the existential problems coming from a world with few workers will be harder to solve.
“There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen. And if my assessment is correct and they probably will happen, than we have to think about what are we going to do about it? I think some kind of universal basic income is going to be necessary. The output of goods and services will be extremely high. With automation there will come abundance. Almost everything will get very cheap. I think we’ll end up doing universal basic income. It’s going to be necessary. The much harder challenge is, how are people going to have meaning? A lot of people derive their meaning from their employment. So if there’s no need for your labor, what’s your meaning? Do you feel useless? That’s a much harder problem to deal with,” he said.
Yuval Hariri, the writer of the bestselling books “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” and “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” agrees with Musk. He says that in the future there will be people who are up to date with the technology and knowhow of the new age and those who have no idea what to do. He adds that this will create a huge divide in terms of “useful” and “useless” people, leading to a huge question in the minds of the “useful” people: “What shall we do with the useless?”
So over the next 20 years the world will become a completely different place. Are we ready for this future in Turkey?