Now who would have thought that one day Bill Gates would turn into a socialist. Bill Gates believes that the companies that replace humans with robots should be taxed by the government to make up for the loss of employment. If not permanently, then at least temporarily, as the transition happens.
Companies replace humans with robots to cut costs as well as improve performance and production. Ever since the industrial age this has happened. As the machines become more advanced, they take up more and more jobs that previously humans used to do. There are car factories entirely run by robots. Textiles these days are woven by machines. Even insurance companies are hiring robots to calculate insurance. Robots are being employed as guards. Robots are even taking up jobs in the hotel industry.
In a way, Bill Gates makes sense in this Quartz interview. He says that when humans work in factories they are taxed. When robots replace humans and start working in the factories, why aren’t these factories taxed or why shouldn’t they be taxed? After all these robots are doing the same stuff? In fact, they’re making more money for the company than humans used to.
There will eventually come a time when every job that can be performed by a robot, will go to a robot. Millions will lose their jobs in the countries where robotic technology is easily available to businesses. Amazon is about to open a retail store where no humans will be required.
The problem is, if men and women can’t find jobs, how will they purchase products being manufactured by factories and services being rendered by companies, using robots? If they don’t earn money, there is no use of hiring robots because, they won’t be able to pay.
To solve this problem, the Tesla CEO Elon Musk has proposed A “universal basic income” that the government will have to pay its citizens so that they can buy the necessities in order to survive.
Maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems. Maybe we are inching towards a utopia where people won’t have to work but still they can survive. When they don’t have to work, they can spend their lives on other, more meaningful pursuits, like creating art, preserving the environment, living in the lap of nature, developing exceptional intellectual powers, studying philosophy and basically, doing whatever they want to do rather than getting trapped in the grind of earning money. Maybe it will take another 100-150 years for this to happen. Or maybe sooner.