Robots replacing human workers should pay taxes as “electronic persons” according to new EU proposal

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Photo courtesy: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr.com

The advancements in robotics are rising so fast that the European Union is now drafting a law to create a balanced legal structure that will watch robotics development and at the same time protect human beings’ fundamental rights.

There is an increasing concern about the possibility of people losing their jobs to robots, and the formulation of this bill aims to discuss the issue.

If the draft passes and becomes a law, they will consider robots as “electronic persons”, and by the term person, it means that they will have specific rights and obligations.

One of its provisions entails that they might need paying taxes and social security. Of course, they wouldn’t be paying taxes themselves, but those companies that use them, instead of humans.

There are growing fears that maybe one day if the fast turnover of robots for industrial use remains unmonitored, human workers will be displaced and jobless. Even today there are already self-driving cars, automated trains, and robotic factory workers.

Last March in Japan, tourists was welcomed to the world’s biggest travel show by a lifelike robot.

The aim of the bill’s author is to have a “gradualist, pragmatic, cautious approach” in developing robots.

If robots were to start paying taxes as electronic persons they shall be able to pay for any damage they may cause, and may even have intellectual property rights to what they may create.

In this case, companies will be required to report how much they should save in social security contributions for employing robots instead of humans.

Tech experts and manufacturers say that a law like this is too early to apply, and will only stunt ongoing advancements in their field; that something like this can work maybe in the next fifty years or so, but not in ten years. They also argue that there is no proven correlation between growing robot density versus human displacement.

Photo courtesy: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr.com

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