Technology has opened a lot of opportunities and capabilities to people around the world. And when you think of tech, hopefully, you’re not just thinking about the Internet. While network connection is, of course, a huge part of it, technology stretches beyond the online realm and contributes to some industries around the world.
Its contribution is undeniable. The presence of tech in sectors such as healthcare, farming, transportation, and so many others is almost always a sign of progress in that particular industry, even increasingly eliminating the need for manual labor, thus having employees risk losing their jobs.
As such, the use of technology has more economic implications than you may think. Should they be taxed, and should the world, or the US at least, be ready for it?
Tech Tax to Address “Digital Divide”
Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst, and president of a marketing consultancy firm, TechNalysis, says that it may be time for a tech tax. In his column in USA Today, Mr. O’Donnell pointed out that technology brings people closer to one another, and also creates what he calls a “digital divide.” While digital capabilities paved the way for many tech advancements, this has also caused a lot of economic gaps, which may severely affect those whose jobs may be compromised by the presence of the available technologies.
Users of these types of tech in their respective industries may soon eliminate the need for traditional jobs, and even human employees, shortly after. As robots and artificial intelligence progress, and businesses and industries are increasingly relying on them, there is a growing risk of further obsoleting jobs, especially when it comes to data analysis, manufacturing and other similar services requiring mass production.
Robots Should Pay Taxes — Bill Gates
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in an interview that robots that “are going in and doing the same things” as human employees should be taxed. Businesses that are heavily reliant on robots and AI should pay taxes, as well, which can be used to train displaced workers to take on other jobs in industries with fewer robot competitors.
While this may or may not ensure employment for everyone, it, at least, reduces the number of unemployed individuals who lose their jobs because of robot workers.
Not Exactly a New Proposition
It’s setting the tech world abuzz nowadays, but tech tax isn’t exactly a new proposition. Robot taxation was previously proposed in San Francisco last year but did not have a positive reception among lawmakers in the state. The proposal did not sit well with the states’ politicians, who distinguish themselves as progressive and moderate Democrats. Some of the lawmakers argued that pushing through with tech tax will only further the already existing economic gaps.
Should America Embrace It?
Tech tax is a controversial proposition, and people have a lot to say about it, even before it’s implemented. Whatever the opinions may be, the intention to bridge economic gaps is clear. Its viability as a course of action, however, will be undetermined until it comes into play. Whether or not the US, or other parts of the world, is ready for it, they will still have to wait.