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If a robot replaces a human's job, it should be taxed at a similar level to what the human worker was, Bill Gates said in an interview with 'Quartz.' USA TODAY NETWORK

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If a robot replaces a human's job, it should be taxed at a similar level to what the human worker was, according to Bill Gates.

In a recent interview with Quartz,  the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said if the business world wants to replace human labor, there should be some repercussions.

“Right now if a human worker does you know, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level,” he said.

Gates told Quartz that the business world wants to continue to make all the goods and services we have today, but free up human-labor, which may in return be allocated to focus on areas that are suffering the education system and care for the elderly.

“All of those are things where human empathy and understanding are still very, very unique and we still deal with an immense shortage of people to help out there,” he said. “And so if you can take the labor to do the thing that automation replaces and both financially and training-wise and fulfillment-wise have that person go off and do these other things, you are net ahead.”

But it comes with a catch.

“You can’t just give up that income tax because that’s part of how you’ve been funding that level of human workers,” he said. “Some of it can come from the profits that are generated by the labor-saving efficiency there; some can come directly in some kind of robot tax.”

This isn't the first time Gates has addressed the replacement of human labor force with robots.

In 2014, while speaking at The American Enterprise Institute, Gates said people are unaware of how many jobs are actually in jeopardy of being replaced by automation.

"Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses … it's progressing. ...  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. ...  20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model," Gates said, Business Insider reported. 

Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman 

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