Robots – The Unfair Advantage.

  • Sitting Bull

Yesterday evening a friend invited me to a very interesting meetup of artificial intelligence or also known as AI. I have looked into some of the automation systems used by google and have myself built a basic robot. link here.

The initial lecture was an intriguing discussion on how our artificial intelligence could be used to feed plants. But it seemed like a difficult exercise loading all the data so that all the shadow and lighting of the elements could be included, arranging all applications to react appropriately and then setting up the systems in the correct manner.

What really intrigued me though was the discussion afterwards and a Kenyan person expounding that tax on robots was also a topical issue. After meandering ideas around the potential uses in the financial world, it got me thinking… robots really do have an unfair advantage. Bear with me on this point.

Firstly, humans in just about every country in this world, must pay an income tax on their “salary” or income. This is besides our tax on our instituted legal entries, consumption (i.e. sales tax or VAT) and any other behaviourial related taxes (cigarettes, etc.) and perhaps trading advantage taxes between regions (import and export).

Second, a salary is really a cost to an enterprise. The same as one for example would pay buying a robot and then paying a maintenance cost or say leasing one. This cost however, does not require a income tax to be withheld from it. Taxation is really a re-distributive system where money is transferred from persons that have income to those that do not. It is in the form of disbursements or in the form of joint projects or infrastructure.

So by robots not paying a tax, we are actually biased or incentivized to invest more in robots that mankind. This is actually quite a sickening thought. Perhaps not all bad because we are investing in technology but still.

In many respects I find this reality true considering how the information technology world seems more focused on building complicated monetary systems rather than fulfilling its main function: providing information to the world.

Anyway, I am sure this discussion will not end here but humans are far more energy efficient than robots and we are highly adaptable and robust in the performance of our labours or duties and our tribal instincts do seem to help us when the going gets tough!

The future is not ours to see but I do believe this will become a serious issue at some point.

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April 26, 2018