Are Robots Such a Taxing Matter?

We have reached a defining moment in the evolution of automation. The Meriam-Webster Dictionary still regards a robot as ‘a machine that looks like a human being, and performs various complex acts’ … also ‘a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized.’

However, it now concedes a robot is also, ‘a device that automatically performs complicated, often repetitive tasks’ and ‘a mechanism guided by automatic controls’ so we have a wide definition indeed.

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A post in The Telegraph on 27 September inspired our thoughts. We are studiously avoiding taking sides on the taxation angle, but we have to ask ourselves when a machine is NOT a robot. We can hardly think of any device that does not save our labour for better things, by doing repetitive tasks on our behalf.

Global innovation foundation Nesta poured scorn on dreams of some, hoping to become robotically redundant and resting forever in the arms of blissful ease. It thinks 10% of occupations are already in a growth trajectory, while only 20% of occupations may shrink. That 10% includes ‘medium-skilled blue and white-collar jobs … such as in hospitality and leisure’. It cites artisanal jobs in food and drink among these.

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Nesta thinks there will be some job losses in sales, customer service, and administration. This disturbs us, because we are obsessed with customer relationships, and recently scooped a customer service award. Other occupations under threat are bookkeepers and clerks. We are happy that accountants are not among them. We would miss their guiding hand on our financial tiller.

We wholeheartedly agree with Nesta’s hope to ‘spark and shape powerful new ideas, joining with others to take on the big challenges of our time, and shift how the world works for everyone’. We agree we need to find new ways to tackle the big opportunities beckoning.

At Auger, we do whatever it takes to embrace new technology, so our clients get a swift expert response to their enquiry, every time.

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