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Sanjay Varshney Professor of finance at California State University, Sacramento

If you start taxing businesses for the use of robots and artificial intelligence, you’re not just going to drive them out from the state, you’re going to make it a huge disincentive for them to be anywhere in the state of California. Because they can find other parts of the country and other parts of the world where they don’t have to pay such a tax.
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Nigel Smith Managing director of TM Robotics

A robot tax is as absurd an idea as a tax on pencils. The bottom line is that robots create jobs, they don’t take them away. The UK government’s recent Made Smarter review on digitalisation in industry concluded that over the next ten years automation could boost UK manufacturing by £455 billion, with a net gain of 175,000 jobs, while reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5 per cent.
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Paul Falvey Tax partner at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO

It would be very difficult to create a robot tax as such because, in practice, robots are not easily defined or identified. This is probably why a robot tax is much talked about, but hasn’t been fully implemented.
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Izabella Kaminska Journalist at FT Alphaville

Can anthropomorphized robots or AI really compete? It’s not necessarily clear that they can. Do business owners and entrepreneurs really need an income tax burden to dissuade them from robot investment? The limited upside and heightened instability risk which comes along with displacing human workers with robot workers should be clear enough. What’s more, big tech business owners shouldn’t forget ... See More
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Rob Kovacev Tax Partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP. DOJ alum. Tax controversy, tax policy for #innovation/#A

The enthusiasm of robot tax proponents is matched by the lack of detail on how such a tax would work. Unfortunately, robot taxes are so difficult to administer that they would not solve the problem they are meant to address.
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Frank Haskew Head of Tax Faculty at Institute of Chartered Accountants

A “robot tax” looks to be a short-sighted, knee-jerk response to the deeper systemic problem of how to organise and fund a society where public finances are shrinking while demands increase.
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Institut Friedland Economic think tank of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The taxation of robots raises three main questions. To start with, it is necessary to define a “robot”: a combine-harvester, a vacuum cleaner, a computer programme, an autonomous machine [...]. We realize robots are everywhere. Another question this idea raises is the role of such a tax in the pre-existing fiscal landscape. If the idea is to tax the wealth produced by robots, companies are already... See More
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Noah Smith Bloomberg View columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University

There are probably better ways than taxing robots to help humans avoid the harms of automation. Instead of slowing innovation, the government should think about taxing humans less and redistributing the income of robots more.
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David Kenny IBM’s senior vice president for Watson and the company’s cloud platform

The solution to AI taking jobs Is training, not taxes. AI has massive potential. Taxing this promising field of innovation is not only reactionary and antithetical to progress, it would discourage the development of technologies and systems that can improve everyday life.

Jeff Burnstein President of the Association for Advancing Automation

Why would we want to put disincentives on companies using the best technology available?
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Robert Seamans Associate professor of management at New York University

The existing empirical evidence suggests that robots boost productivity growth, so a tax on robots would limit that productivity.
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Steve Cousins Founder and CEO of Sovioke, TechCrunch contributor

When Gates talks about a robot tax, in essence, he’s talking about financially penalizing companies that deploy the latest automation technology — a sort of “innovation tax” — which, to me, is a backward tax. Perhaps a better way to ensure that automation improves the lives of all citizens — instead of becoming a wedge that creates a bigger and bigger divide between the haves and have-nots — is to... See More
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Neil Kinson Chief of staff at Redwood Software

Take the example of the Heathrow Pods. The fleet of autonomous vehicles that deliver you to the business parking at Terminal 5 proudly claim to eliminate thousands of bus journeys. If we were to implement a robot tax on these vehicles, we would create a perverse incentive to sustain particle-emitting diesel buses, rather than zero-emission autonomous pods.

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