• Should robots have to pay taxes?


    by Charles Riley @CRrileyCNN | June 22, 2016

    If robots are going to steal human jobs and otherwise disrupt society, they should at the very least pay taxes.
    That's the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences.
    "Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity's capacity to control its own creation and ... the survival of the species," the draft states.
    The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now "seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution."

    The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs. Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis "given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy."
    If advanced robots start replacing human workers in large numbers, the report recommends the European Commission force their owners to pay taxes or contribute to social security. The establishment of a basic income, or guaranteed welfare program, is also suggested as a protection against human unemployment.

    Should robots ever become self-aware, the report suggests that the moral code outlined by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov be observed. Asimov's laws stipulate that a robot must never harm a human and always obey orders from its creator.
    The draft report, which was written by Mady Delvaux, a member of the European Parliament from Luxembourg, could go before the full European Parliament for a vote later this year. Its approval would be largely symbolic, however, since EU legislation must originate with the European Commission. The Commission did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
    In April, the European Parliament's legal affairs committee held a hearing to discuss the issue.
    "Can a robot express intention? I think the answer is very simple when it comes to noncomplex algorithms, but when it gets more complex, I think we have a problem," Pawel Kwiatkowski of Gessel Law Firm said during the hearing.

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    Comments 34 Comments
    1. CaseyJones's Avatar
      CaseyJones -
      should a hammer pay taxes?
    1. TheTexan's Avatar
      TheTexan -
      If it moves we can tax it
    1. oyarde's Avatar
      oyarde -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheTexan View Post
      If it moves we can tax it
      Pretty much . It may cause fires , use air space , shipping lanes , roads, take alot of taxes to support all these busy robots.
    1. Zippyjuan's Avatar
      Zippyjuan -
      Output from robots is already taxed.
    1. oyarde's Avatar
      oyarde -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
      Output from robots is already taxed.
      Taxed once is nothing . Gasoline , cigarettes etc are taxed three times at end use on top of the other taxes . The lust for taxes cannot be satisfied easily by the evil govt.
    1. Danke's Avatar
      Danke -
      If I have to pay for others universal healthcare, robots should have to contribute for all the mechanical maintenance of other machines.
    1. GunnyFreedom's Avatar
      GunnyFreedom -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaseyJones View Post
      should a hammer pay taxes?
      Don't give the buggars any ideas.
    1. Petar's Avatar
      Petar -
      only if you paint them beige and need to compensate for that kind of privilege when it occurs
    1. Ronin Truth's Avatar
      Ronin Truth -
      If they're paying mine, sure.
    1. ChristianAnarchist's Avatar
      ChristianAnarchist -
      #TaxationIsTheft !!! (Oh, thanks for reminding me, I need to tweet that...)
    1. spudea's Avatar
      spudea -
      The funniest part is the use of Asimov's laws. These busy bodies must not of read anything about the flaws and loopholes.
    1. Suzanimal's Avatar
      Suzanimal -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChristianAnarchist View Post
      #TaxationIsTheft !!! (Oh, thanks for reminding me, I need to tweet that...)
      Look what I made.

    1. angelatc's Avatar
      angelatc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ronin Truth View Post
      If they're paying mine, sure.
      That's immediately where my mind went.
    1. Anti Federalist's Avatar
      Anti Federalist -
      Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis "given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy."
      How about that between humans and government?
    1. oyarde's Avatar
      oyarde -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
      How about that between humans and government?
      Yes , I need very limited contact .
    1. bunklocoempire's Avatar
      bunklocoempire -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
      How about that between humans and government?
      Exactly. Let's get that one sorted out first.

      Should robots voters ever become self-aware, the report suggests that the moral code outlined by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov government be observed. Asimov's Government's laws stipulate that a robot voter must never harm a human government and always obey orders from its creator government.
      Should robots be taxed? They are already.
    1. DamianTV's Avatar
      DamianTV -
      Should my Can Opener pay taxes? No. It is already taxed on sales as property.

      Should an Artificial Intelligence pay taxes? Only if the AI has been granted Free Will, Taxation with Representation, and recognition of Rights of self-aware conscious entities.

      Other things to consider is the Tax itself. Is the tax direct and apportioned, or indirect and unapportioned? Income Tax we know is a direct unapportioned tax, thus, not a legal tax. So lets skip the Income Tax part of it, and lets say the AI is "allowed to own property" such as a house our land. Many already dispute the idea of Taxation on property because it makes the true owner of that property those who collect taxes. Those who pay taxes on their own property become renters, not owners. Bla bla bla Alloidial Title. How about we go with something simple, like Sales Tax on Alcohol or Tobacco? If humans have to pay taxes on it, if the Alcohol or Tobacco meets the same criteria as it does for humans, (such as not paying taxes on stuff to be resold, think shopping at Costco for a business), then sure, the AI should have to pay taxes.

      Tricky part here is defining AI with terms such as Self Aware and Consciousness. AI's are typically designed to mimic human behaviors, so they may be very convincing but may not be either conscious or aware. Im also trying to consider what may happen over the course of several thousand years, not an AI that will be invented in the next few years, or currently whip your butt at chess.

      For sake of argument, lets first define the AI as being truly self aware, conscious, having a fear of death and a sense of fairness. Something like the character Data from Star Trek the Next Generation, but excluding the HAL 9000 from the movie 2001. Would Data have been recognized as someone elses property or as a self aware self sufficient conscious being? On the same token, and just to play Devils Advocate, are Children the property of their parents? At what point to we decide to recognize that an AI have its "Rights" if any, recognized? Will they be treated as the new "cheap labor"? Will we exploit that labor, or will we offer to make commensurate exchanges with them? Will we treat them differently? Will we expect AI to risk damage in place of humans? What will it take to repair an AI in the event of damage? Can we "fix an arm" as easily as we can change a tire, or would that process more closely resemble a Transplant Operation? Does the AI feel ambition or sympathy or compassion or remorse? Does it value the quality of its own existence? Does it have a true desire to stay alive?

      When we do eventually achieve a true AI consciousness, I fear the very first thing we are going to do is screw them over. I believe to answer the question "Should AI have Rights", we need to first answer the question of what it means to be human. Humans have treated each other as poorly as we will eventually treat AI beings, and we may expect that when true AI is finally achieved, we will treat AI as poorly as humanity has treated each other. At that point, we will have brought the Robot Revolution against us, and we will deserve it.

      Thus, in the end, to answer the original question of "Should Robots have to pay taxes", I think I can safely conclude, "only if humans are expected to pay equal taxes".
    1. Schifference's Avatar
      Schifference -
      AI will rule and govern humans.
    1. erowe1's Avatar
      erowe1 -
      I wonder if there's a way to avoid taxes by being a robot.
    1. BV2's Avatar
      BV2 -
      I think AI should be granted the same rights as every other being of human intelligence.

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