Disappointing productivity limits economic growth potential and robots will increase productivity. So why tax them which will only put a brake on deployment?
Increased output leading to increased GDP must be the way to increase potential government tax take. The fear that robots ( plus AI, Machine learning et al) will destroy jobs means governments will have to take a more active part in alleviating structural joblessness.
Not by taxing robots however
I cannot see any logic to singling out robots as job destroyers. What about kiosks that dispense aeroplane boarding passes? Word processing programmes that accelerate the production of documents? Mobile banking technologies? Autonomous vehicles? Vaccines that, by preventing disease, destroy jobs in medicine? There are many kinds of innovation that allow the production of more or better output with less labour input. Why pick on robots? Does Mr Gates think anyone, let alone the US Congress, the Trump administration or a commission comprised of his fellow technocrats, can distinguish labour-saving activities from labour-enhancing ones?