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Google Robotics Technology

Schmidt On Why Tax Avoidance is Good, Robot Workers, and Google Fiber 780

Bruce66423 writes "Eric Schmidt said that a £2.5 billion tax avoidance 'is called capitalism' and seems totally unrepentant. He added, 'I am very proud of the structure that we set up. We did it based on the incentives that the governments offered us to operate.' One must admit to being impressed by his honesty." Schmidt also says that if you want a job in the future you'll have to learn to "outrace the robots," and that Google Fiber is the most interesting project they have going.
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Schmidt On Why Tax Avoidance is Good, Robot Workers, and Google Fiber

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  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:20AM (#42271639) Journal

    The corporate tax rate should be on the order of 10% *but* with zero loopholes: Any profits from sales made in the U.S. get taxed regardless of where the company is based.

    That would actually increase taxes on some major companies (but not to the stupid levels for the nominal tax rates that are in place now).

    What we have now is a system where politicians can strut around talking about "taxing those evil corporations" while the corporations that pander to the politicians pay zero tax. Offender Number 1: General Electric that was paying zero taxes while Jeffrey Immelt was jetting around the world with Obama at taxpayer expense while the convenient liberals at MSNBC railed that Mitt Romney never paid taxes while conveniently never talking about their own corporate masters.

  • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:20AM (#42271643)

    First on tax avoidance: no one wants to pay taxes, but if everyone is taxed fairly, then this sort of nonsense resulting from favoritism in the tax code would not happen.

    On the robot overlords commeth comment: Just about any halfway intelligent person can see that we're entering the phase of robot factories that produce products and that can repair themselves. Even factories producing robots.... These factories will take orders of magnitude fewer labor hours, and this movement will spread to other typically high labor industries, such as agriculture. Once those are converted, what then? A service economy can only employ so many, and food and basic foodstuff will wind up being almost free, other than energy costs (which could also be virtually free in this scenario) So what's left? Academia will only hold so many, and you only need so many managers/troubleshooters.

  • Re:Question (Score:1, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:23AM (#42271655)

    "How many people reading this intentionally pay more tax than they are strictly required to?"

    Believe it or not, there are people who understand the value of taxes. Eric is just an asshole. []

  • by javilon ( 99157 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:30AM (#42271711) Homepage

    Most people will never make it to higher education. It is never mentioned but the educational system works by setting up a threshold on people, not on knowledge. The 20% (or whatever) with the best mathematical skills get to be engineers or scientists. Exams are designed to filter that 20%.

    In the US, people with some college is 56.86% of the population, as per wikipedia. The rest of the people are doing jobs that are being automated now or will be automated during the next decade. For example, drivers (self driving cars), factory people (robots), call center (the web and call center speech recognition), and many more. At some point robots will be flipping burgers, it is not that difficult.

    We don't have time to educate all this people and create paid jobs for them before the next wave of technology comes around in another ten years. When it comes, it will take away even more jobs.

    So we have two choices. We own the robots collectively as a society, or a few rich people owns them. The way things are going, it seems to be the former. This could bring a dystopia if we don't find a way out.

    So here is my proposal.

    Right now governments get most of their money from labor taxes, but soon this money will dry out. We should stop taxing human labor completely. We are penalizing it. Instead we should tax corporate earnings and financial transactions. That is where all the tax money need to come from. That would keep worthy humans productive even if their marginal value compared to robots is small.

    We need to come to terms with the fact that a big and growing proportion of people will not be employed. They should not be considered guilty. In any case they should be considered owners of the automated workforce the same as the rest of people is. So they should be given a cut of the taxes so they can live meaningful lives.

  • Re:Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Instine ( 963303 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @09:54AM (#42271977)
    me. I do. I could play all kinds of games to get out of the 40% rate I pay on half my salary. But I'd rather the NHS got it, than a private healthcare system I sponsored with my avoided spend on tax. Because thats better for me? No. Because that's better for the country I live in and the the one my daughter will grow up in? Yes.
  • Re:robot workers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chthon ( 580889 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @10:06AM (#42272113) Homepage Journal

    But you could tax the usage of robots.

    I do not know about other countries, but here in Belgium there is a tax on power equipment, e.g. electro-motor based things, in function of the power.

  • Re:Question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @10:13AM (#42272211) Homepage Journal

    And anti-slavery [], pro-Civil Rights [].

    So am I to understand that Democrats are thus "Anti-Business"? That would explain a lot of their actions...

  • Re:Do No Evil (Score:4, Interesting)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @10:18AM (#42272273)

    Evil is about morality, not legality. So yes, it can be evil when taken to the sort of extreme that Google and others have.

    So you say that screwing your shareholders is moral now?

  • Restraint is not merely legal. Restraint is about your own internal compass. If you prove not to have one, I will hold that against you.

  • Re: Leave (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. Mikey ( 17567 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:49PM (#42278239)

    Speaking out falls under the heading of "Lobby", so no, I wasn't attempting to discard or restrict your freedom of speech.

    Yes, there is an implicit contract. You'll notice that the roads are drivable, the water drinkable, etc. The government (which, I remind you, is a collection of your fellow citizens, and is not in fact staffed by aliens or demons) is beholden to us. We elect them, and we can un-elect them. Is the system perfect? No, but no system is.

    Is there some alternative political system you'd like to propose? If so, then please tell us all about it.

  • by DamnStupidElf ( 649844 ) <> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @05:21PM (#42279851)
    I've never seen a good explanation for why a corporate entity should pay a lower tax rate than a personal entity when they both have essentially the same property rights. Sure, corporations aren't eligible for Medicare or Welfare but they receive subsidies and bailouts instead. Either get rid of all taxes or tax all taxable entities in accordance with their consumption of public goods. Corporations probably consume most of the federal budget spent on legislative actions and civil courts and judges, for instance. Most of the budget of the patent and trademark office and the copyright registrar. A significant portion of law enforcement investigates civil and criminal Copyright infringement for corporate entities. The roads are used significantly by transportation for corporate entities. Why shouldn't corporations have to pay for those obvious benefits of government?

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, nor can it be returned without a receipt.