Labour looks to impose ‘robot tax’

Jeremy Corbyn revealed robots and artificial intelligence are a ‘threat’ to workers, so plans to hit businesses using robots to replace humans with ‘robot tax’.

The Labour Party leader revealed Google, Amazon and other big tech companies that make millions using technology should share benefits with society, by using the extra money to establish a fund that will retrain staff that lose their jobs.

Dean Withey, CEO at Ubisend, said: “I agree with Corbyn that both businesses and their staff should reap rewards by investing in training. After all, being a ‘smart’ employee will soon not be good enough — in some senses of the word, machines are already smarter. It’s time to re-skill employees in more human traits.

‘Mad to tax innovation attempt’

“Machines can deal with the mundane and routine, enabling staff to concentrate on the complex, more human, part of their role. Economists, sociologists and politicians need to engage with AI leaders to educate and prepare. It is going to require the very best of human skill and cooperation to get the right results from AI.”

Conservatives have described the initiative as a ‘mad’ to tax innovation attempt, as Labour looks to impose ‘robot tax’ on technology companies developing robotics and automation.

Dix Vos, CEO at security company SQS, added: “Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to tax robots, in order to fund the retraining of the workforce affected by the technology, is certainly an important discussion.

‘Helping shape the future of technology’

“We can expect that up to 30% of the population’s job roles will become obsolete due to the rise of robots, so prioritising funding for mass retraining is a debate that needs to take place.

“The sweeping societal and industrial changes that artificial intelligence (AI) presents accelerates the need for the retraining of a sizeable percentage of the population. Ironically, AI and automation may be the answer to solving the potential unemployment and skills shortage digitalisation poses.

“The rise of AI and robotics provides opportunities for those affected by automation to help shape the future of the very technology that put them out of a job in the first place.”

Written by Leah Alger