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최종편집 : 2017.11.15 수 22:47
CoverControversial Issues
Robot Tax: Are Humans Prepared?It Is Too Early to Impose the “Robot Tax!”
Kim Yeun-soo  |  lucy0815@cau.ac.kr
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승인 2017.09.01  13:46:58
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      Will robots take human jobs? The debate of the Robot Tax starts from this question. Various scientific technologies have emerged and continued to destroy existing jobs and create new ones. There are bound to be side effects due to the emergence of new things. But is it appropriate to take action before making proper development? The same goes for robots. Of course, there is no doubt that there are jobs that will disappear due to robots, but there is no clear evidence that this phenomenon is bigger than with other scientific technologies. At the present time, it is still too early to impose the Robot Tax.

First of all, robot tax is a barrier to the development of advanced technology. It is clear that robots will be a useful means to improve human living standards. Robots can do dangerous things, in addition to simple and repetitive tasks, on behalf of humans. The robot industry is a fast-growing field, so it requires a lot of research for further development. Imposing additional taxes on robots that need more development will be a burden to robot developers. Also, it may be one of the factors that hinder the growth of the robot industry because from the corporate perspective, taxes are another expenditure. According to the International Robot Federation, introduction of robot tax causes negative effects on the competitiveness of the robot industry, and thus the EU adopted a resolution opposing robot tax. The reason why they have taken this stance is that imposing a robot tax could pose a stumbling block to the innovation of robot technology.
Second, we should not regard robots as only getting rid of human jobs and therefore impose tax on them. Harvard University professor and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers noted that machines issuing boarding passes, mobile banking, and ATMs have reduced the number of jobs, but they have not been taxed. That is, there are better goods and service thanks to robots and humans are getting a lot of help from them so we should not think robots as job plunderers. Also, it is worth noting that the unemployment rate is lower in society where there is a lot of robot supply. Germany and Japan have the world’s highest level of robot supply (about 300 robots per worker), but the unemployment rate is relatively low considering the global standard. As technology advances, the development of robots can also result in positive results, such as specialization and subdivision of the technologies.
Third, the tax revenue from the Robot Tax is not as much as people think. Under the current law, only a person can pay tax, so there was an argument that robots should be granted the status of electronic persons. Indeed, the EU has passed the resolution of "Robot Civil Rights Act", which means that robots have an electromagnetic personality. The problem is that the argument for robot tax was made, but the tax is not enough to support job seekers and to invest in new jobs. According to the analysis by Mady Delvaux, a member of the European Parliament, the main areas where robots will operate in the 4th industrial revolution era are autonomous cars, drones, nurses, industrial robots, and so on. Under the current income tax law, workers earning less than 40 million won per year on average when it comes to a family of four have little income tax. Therefore, if a robot replacing a person is paying more than 40 million won, robot tax will be effective. But is it possible for a robot to pay this kind of salary? Practically speaking, it is difficult to find the basic revenue source of the robot, and it is almost impossible to support the income of the unemployed.
Above these, there are problems about the interpretation of the three principles of robots that include, “Robots should not harm people and obey orders and have a right to defend themselves“. There is also a need for fundamental revisions of civil rights and criminal laws that they are only about people, rather than human rights. It's still a matter of great concern since there are many controversial issues. Thus, instead of imposing a robot tax, the idea of encouraging innovation through robots should be a priority.
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