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韓國擬推出世界首個"機器人稅”
South Korea could be the first country in the world to implement a 'robot tax'

Amid fears about robots replacing human jobs, South Korea could become the first country in the world to introduce a "robot tax."

由於害怕機器人取代人類工作造成大規模失業,韓國可能會成為世界首個推出"機器人稅"的國家。

A new proposal could see the country reduce the amount of tax benefits for companies that invest in automated machinery.

一項新提議提出韓國政府減少對投資自動化機械企業的稅收優惠。

So while it's not exactly a direct tax on robots, it looks like the government is making investment in robotics less appealing for companies.

儘管政府並不是直接向機器人徵稅,但看起來政府將降低企業投資機器人的意願。

South Korea has the highest concentration of robots in the world, with 531 multipurpose industrial robots for every 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry.

韓國製造業中,工人和機器人的比例是一萬比531,是世界上機器人使用密度最高的國家。

"Though it is not about a direct tax on robots, it can be interpreted as a similar kind of policy considering that both involve the same issue of industrial automation," an industry source told news outlet The Korea Times.

一位業內人士告訴《韓國時報》:"雖然不是直接對機器人徵稅,但因為同樣涉及工業自動化的問題,所以可以看作類似的政策。"

Currently, South Korean companies that invest in automation equipment can have up to 7 percent of their corporate tax rate deducted. The new ruling however, will see this cut by up to 2 percent.

目前,韓國政府對投資工業自動化設備的企業提供稅收減免,幅度最高達7%。但新稅收政策出臺後,稅率最多只能優惠2%。

But does South Korea really have a reason to be worried?

韓國是否只是杞人憂天呢?

Perhaps so. The country's unemployment rate hit a 17-year high earlier this year, with some 1.17 million jobless people.

恐怕不是。今年,韓國的失業率創下17年來新高,失業人口約為117萬。

It's difficult to say if the increase in unemployment rate is actually linked to an increase in automation, but at the very least, the money saved from reducing the tax incentives could be channelled to welfare programs.

很難說失業率上升是否真的與自動化程度提高有關,但至少可以說,從降低稅收激勵節省出來的資金可以用於社會福利項目。

But this isn't the first time the idea of a "robot tax" has been suggested.

不過,徵收"機器人稅"並不是什麼新鮮事。

In February, Bill Gates came out in favour of introducing similar measures, saying that working robots should be taxed at a similar rate to their human counterparts.

今年二月,比爾•蓋茨就公開支持對機器人徵稅,並表示工作機器人應該繳納與它們的人類同事一樣多的稅。

"For a human worker who does $50,000 worth of work in a factory, the income is taxed," Gates had told news outlet Quartz.

"如果一個人類工人在工廠創造了五萬美元的產值,賺到的錢要繳稅。"蓋茨告訴《石英》雜誌。

"If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you'd think that we'd tax the robot at a similar level."

"如果一個機器人做了同樣的事情,我們應該以類似稅率對機器人徵稅。"

Gates was later criticised for his comments, with some saying he was "holding back progress."

之後便有人對蓋茨的言論提出批評,有人說他是"阻礙進步"。

South Korea's current tax laws are set to expire at the end of the year, after which the new proposals are expected to take effect.

韓國目前的稅法將在今年年底失效,之後"機器人稅"提議有望被批准實施。

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