Coping: More on Taxing Robotics

I am besieged this morning with email from people who can’t believe my preposterous claim that human labor-replacing robotics should be assessed income and health insurance taxes, just as regular workers would be if they still held such jobs.

Here’s a note from reader Phil the Philistine:


I assume you are kidding when you say silly things like this:

“The answer to the looming question is simple: Make sure that robotics plays the same income tax and Social Security taxes as the humans it replaced would have otherwise contributed.”

I say this is silly because every thing you do every day is done on the backs of what you call “robots”. Either that or you are a hyper-hypocrite. The IRS is eagerly awaiting the 1099’s you plan to file for the machines you enslave:

  • Your coffee maker. A human should brew your coffee, not an automaton.
  • Your laundry machines. Humans do those things you know. Where is your humanity? People need jobs.
  • Your computer. You think it’s easy for your computer to perform millions of calculations a minute? Think of all the people you put on welfare because you use a robotic calculating device (vastly superior to the simple machines that put together cars BTW.)
  • Email. I’ve reported you to the postmaster. Every email you send costs USGov $0.46. Instead, you trust your mail to a robotic system. Tsk tsk.
  • Your blog. For that matter, every time someone reads your newsletter, USGov misses the stamp for that one too. Not to mention that letter carriers need work, you shameless-anti-labor-robot-master.

I also notice you are on a car trip. I sure hope you put your money where your mouth is and drive a pre-belt driven-assembly line model. Pre-1913 that would be. How’s the old gal running for you?

The fact is, these are not robots. The things you complain about are simply labor saving devices. I notice you don’t want your kids welding cars together or any such menial work. How is it good for the rest of us? Two classes George? Those who deserve to be maimed in an industrial setting and those who complain about “robots” while all the time benefitting from labor saved by automated machinery?

Someone has to design and build the “robots”. Someone has to make the software to design and build the “robots”. Someone has to make the $500k CNC machine to make the parts. Someone has to maintain the factory. Someone has to hit the START button.

Ease up on automation. It’s what makes prosperity for the masses.


Damn straight, I was serious Phil.  Thanks to ‘expert learning systems” doctors are on their way out, too.  Like that Asiana crash (too much robotics not enough stick and rudder time) causes lots of serious issues.  And remember after all the work the Pentagon put into control of nuclear weapons back in the cold war, they elected to keep humans in the loop because humans have the one thing machines don’t have: judgment.  OK, two things:  Judgments and we get to pay a butt load of taxes.

Point by point:

A human did make my coffee this morning – they’re called baristas and I tip them. n A surprising number have advanced degrees and have been replaced by robotics already.

Our laundry machines can be electro  mechanical if need be…so no robotics involved. 

Any money made with my computer is already assessed the taxes I propose for job-replacing machines.

Email should be worth a penny or two each and that would cut down on a lot of the bullshit spam on the net.  I would pay it.  And I think a lot of other people would, too.  Facebook ought to be paying me for divulging information about me that they can resell…so where’s my piece of it?

No, UrbanSurvival already pays the taxes: go back up above:  All income I make – every dime – is reported and is taxable income already.

My beef is with the robots that will take doctors out of the loop, end truck drivers, and all the rest of it that’s coming.  No more truck stops, just a robo-drive through.  We’ve stopped at a half dozen Loves across the country and they are lots of fun and offer everything a traveler could want.  Bring in automated trucking, those jobs go away, too.

I just don’t think I’ve explained myself well…I feel another book coming on.

Meantime, a reader asked:

Who is 5?

From Wikipedia:

Short Circuit is a 1986 American science fiction comedy film directed by John Badham, and written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock. The film’s plot centers upon a cutting edge military robot which is struck by lightning and gains sentience. Taking the name “Johnny Five”, the robot escapes confinement and ventures out to explore its new life. Short Circuit stars Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Austin Pendleton, and G. W. Bailey, with Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny Five.

A sequel, Short Circuit 2, was released in 1988.

This and automaton characters like R2D2 ought to pay income tax, pure and simple.  You replace a human, you pay tax.   You don’t just get to be a fat cat and keep skinning the little people.

If you’re not clear on how this shit rolls, stick around and read the details in the US employment data.  Here…it’s called the labor participation rate and here’s robotics:

FRED Graph

Jobs are going.…going…..

Oh, look at that cute robot!”

How do I get robot status so I can skate on taxes?  Answer me this, Phil because we humans have been programmed and slotted ever so similar-wise.

Still No Answer

To our question “Where did the finger pointing and stroke of “shame on you” come from?”  See?  People go around saying things like this – even doing gestures and they have no clue what it means or where it came from.  WTF?  How did shame get on our index fingers?  Of you don’t know the answer, you’re a marketer’s delight – a perfectly programmed unquestioning humamaton.

Ure Favorite Travel Writings

IMG_3794This time we’re waking up Boise Idaho, where we arrived about 6:30 last night after another all-day drive, this time from Grand Junction, Colorado.  We were so tired last night, we didn’t even go out to eat dinner.  I just munches on a left-over sandwich that we’d picked up at a Chevron/deli south of Salt Lake City.  Wasn’t half bad, even cold.

“the Modern” as it’s called, is a real gem.  Not a really big property, but for a base price of $99 a night, it’s not a formula place, nice tile shower (recessed shower head in the ceiling) and quite pleasant.

Elaine and I took turns driving, but do you see the epitome of driver awareness here?


No, me either.  So I went back to snoozing and took over once she got us from the I-7-0 cutoff to Price UT until up around the Idaho border, plus or minus a comfort/sandwich break.

Only 8-hours left of the driving exercise and then we will be in Tacoma, WA.  We’ll leave early this morning and I’ll work on Peoplenomics when we get there.

Meantime, Peoplenomics tomorrow delves into the unemployment numbers and we’re going to the last meeting this morning of the Texas-Washington Numb Butters Association.

Write when you break even,