EU Plans To Treat Machines Like “Persons” Instead Of Objects


Robots could be freed from their human masters and handed the power to own possessions under radical new EU plans.

Officials want to have machines declared as “electronic persons” amid fears they could challenge humanity for control of the Earth.

The plans would mean the robots could claim copyright on their work and trade money – effectively allowing them to form functional societies.

Their owners could be liable to pay social security for the machines to cover any damage caused.

The growing intelligence of robots could require rethinking of everything from taxation to legal liability, the draft motion suggests.

READ MORE: Robot which can choose to harm humans sparks artificial intelligence debate

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir New recruit "Pepper" the robot
Politicians are concerned that human jobs could be taken by machines

MEPs are so concerned that robots could take jobs that member states are being urged to give all citizens a universal basic income in case they are put out of work by their computerised counterparts, The Times reports.

The draft motion called on the European Commission to consider “that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations”.

Read more: Jobseeker hits back at robots taking human roles by advertising himself as a ROBOT worker

It also suggested the creation of a register for smart autonomous robots, which would link each one to funds established to cover its legal liabilities.

The MEPs wrote: “From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster to the classical nth of Pygmalion, through the story of Prague’s golem to the robot of Karel Capek, who coined the word, people have fantasised about the possibility of building intelligent machines.

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir A nurse walks with "Pepper" (L) and "Zora" the robots
Robot owners could also be forced to foot the bill for any damage caused

“Now that 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.

The draft motion, drawn up by the European parliament’s committee on legal affairs also said organisations should have to declare savings they made in social security contributions by using robotics instead of people, for tax purposes.

It faces an uphill battle to win backing from the various political blocks in European Parliament.

Even if the motion did get enough support to pass, it would be a non-binding resolution as the Parliament lacks the authority to propose legislation.

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir A woman walks with new recruit "Pepper" the robot
The draft motion faces an uphill battle to win support from the various countries in the European Parliament

Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of the German Engineering Association’s robotic and automation department, said: “That we would create a legal framework with electronic persons – that’s something that could happen in 50 years but not in 10 years.”

“We think it would be very bureaucratic and would stunt the development of robotics.”

Advertisements

Please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s