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Bill Gates thinks that, to ease the inequality and offset the social costs implied by automation's displacement effects, either Nexus should pay income tax, or Luke should pay a hefty tax for replacing Ken with a robot. And this "robot tax" should be used to finance something like a universal basic income. Second, the advent of robot-operated machines that have never been operated by humans means there will be no prior human income to act as a reference salary for calculating the taxes these robots must pay.Finally, it is hard philosophically to justify forcing Luke to pay "income" tax for Nexus but not for the harvester that Nexus operates. Assuming that robots cannot be made to pay income tax without creating new potential for conflict between the tax authorities and business (accompanied by tax arbitrage and corruption), what about taxing Nexus at the point of sale to Luke?The conceptual problem of differentiating between Nexus and the harvester "he" operates would make it impossible to agree on how a robot tax should work.
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