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MEPs demand EU-wide rules on robots and AI


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MEPs demand EU-wide rules on robots and AI

MEPs have called for the adoption of EU-wide rules on how humans and robots interact.

A draft report by the European Parliament says we are at the dawn of a new industrial revolution when it comes to robotics.

It demands a modern legal framework to match the current advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking place, whether it be in driverless cars or robots performing surgery.

‘‘Humankind stands on the threshold of an era when ever more sophisticated robots, bots, androids and other manifestations of artificial intelligence seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution, which is likely to leave no stratum of society untouched, it is vitally important for the legislature to consider all its implications.’‘

MEPs insist the rules are vital, not only to exploit the economic potential of robots but also guarantee the safety and security of EU citizens.

Mady Delvaux MEP, the rapporteur charged with drawing up the initiative said: ‘‘A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics. In order to address this reality and to ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework.’‘

The report examines if robots have rights and whether they can be held liable for accidents.

It also asks whether Artificial Intelligence could overtake human intelligence within the next few decades and looks at whether robots should be given a legal status as ‘‘electronic persons’‘.

There are also demands for designers to make sure that robots have a so-called ‘kill switch’ in order that such technology could be shut down if required.

Some general principles proposed include:

  • item 1 A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to
    come to harm.
  • item 2 A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • item 3 A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

“The initiative”: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170110IPR57613/robots-legal-affairs-committee-calls-for-eu-wide-rules calls on the European Commission to present legislative proposals surrounding robots.

While EU’s executive arm is not obliged to do so, it must give a reason if it refuses.

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