Modern-Day Luddites Want to Tax Robots

“If a human worker does $50,000 of work in a factory, that income is taxed. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level.”

— Bill Gates

South Korea is very different from its hostile northern neighbor in two ways. First, it has maintained open and friendly relations with the western world. Second, the country has a reputation for having some of the most advanced technology not related to warfare within its borders.

That second difference recently led to South Korea indirectly imposing a robot tax. I say indirectly because the country hasn’t imposed a tax on robots themselves, but on the acquisition of robotic technology. Simply put, South Korea has reduced the deduction that companies within the country can spend on automation equipment (including robots) from 7% to 2% of their investment.

Now, I’m willing to admit that public opinion about robotics takes one of two stances – either it is the next best thing or it is eventually going to replace all human jobs. Most people, though, are still figuring out their initial stance on robots and not even thinking of government regulation.

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