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I won't be replaced by robot vacuum cleaner, quips EU commissioner

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By Damon Embling
I won't be replaced by robot vacuum cleaner, quips EU commissioner

It wants to become a world leader on Artificial Intelligence, alongside the Silicon Valley.

Playing catch up, the European Commission has unveiled its vision for boosting investment and driving ethics standards for the algorithms controlling our lives.

Asked whether robots will take over in Brussels and have human rights, Andrus Ansip, EU Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, replied: "I have many of those robots, for example, one is cleaning my apartment while I'm here in this press room. 

"So I'm talking about vacuum cleaner. So I don't think my vacuum cleaner has to get human rights... Maybe you think my vacuum cleaner would be better than me (at my job) but I don't think it will happen."

Once seen as science fiction, artificial intelligence is already a big player.

It's not only designed to make our lives easier, it can also help treat diseases, fight climate change - and foresee cyber-security threats.

The Commission hopes to have its plan of action ready by the end of this year.

And the ethics focus may be one way the EU can truly take the lead - especially in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.