Re: DiscoveryCh - AI

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 13:16:37 MST

I wrote:
> I have made similar complaints about socially-ignorant futurist
> speculation, but taxing AIs doesn't seem crazy to this economist.

Eugene Leitl responded:
>Um, why should they want to pay you? This would only work with
>extremely docile and relatively dumb AIs. Also AI=full blown
>Singularity. Here's something to invalidate the old adage about
>death and taxes...

John Clark responded:
>How would you enforce the law? How could you even prove a machine was
>in fact an AI if it didn't want that known? How could you track down a AI
>embedded somewhere in a global network? How can you punish an entity
>that may not even be localized and punish it? How can you outsmart something
>smarter than you are?

Do only relatively dumb and docile humans get taxed now? Can
corporations avoid taxes by being non-localized? A guy could
hide in the woods after all, and then how would you tax him?

If a world has many AIs, some of them will be available to devise
and enforce taxes, if the powers that be then want taxes devised
and enforced. If AIs sell their services in public markets, then
sales taxes could be used. If they own visible property, then
property taxes could be used.

Of course if the powers that be don't want AIs to be taxed, they
may not be taxed. But that is a question of desire, not ability.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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