Should governments start taxing robots as a way to prepare for a future of mass unemployment brought on by technology?
Economic Impact Artificial Intelligence
The world is being transformed by exponentially advancing technologies including AI, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud computing, 5G, hyperconnectivity, 3D/4D printing, smart materials and synthetic biology.
The coverage and hype around artificial intelligence (AI) is reaching fever pitch. Key questions explore how it might impact people’s lives and employment over the next five to ten years. These lead to questions over how to fund tax revenue shortfalls and higher unemployment costs. In practice, it’s too early to know how fast AI will advance, how far it will spread into society, whether it will reach a state of superintelligence where it outsmarts humans at everything, or the net employment impact.
This article explores the key economic questions that arise around the potential impact of AI on jobs in society, with a focus on robot taxes as a way of funding higher unemployment benefit costs or Guaranteed / Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Basic Services (UBS) schemes. It goes on to explore four scenarios of how things might play out, and the supporting policy options in each case.