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-European Parliament Considering Rights, Laws, and Liability For ‘Electronic Persons’ (Robots)?

by Dr. D ~ February 4th, 2017

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                   (Image: Wikipedia)

A European Parliament committee has been studying the potential legal situations and problems surrounding the rapid development of robots and AI machines. A report has been submitted to the Parliament as a whole for action. One of the suggestions coming out of committee is to define advanced robots as “electronic persons” with certain legal rights.  Here’s the story from RT News:

A European Parliament committee has voted in favor of a draft report that proposes granting legal status to robots, categorizing them as “electronic persons”.

The draft report, approved by 17 votes to two and two abstentions by the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs, proposes that

     “The most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause.” …

Authored by Luxembourg MEP Mady Delvaux, the report proposes definitions and outlines rules to govern how robots interact with humans

     “now that humankind stands on the threshold of an era” that it claims will see artificial intelligence (AI) “unleash a new industrial revolution.”

(Read the whole article) (Also read the report)

Response: Really- ‘Electronic persons’? I don’t like that designation at all since it seems to denote autonomy and independence, and ultimately could demand recognition and possible civil rights.

As the robotic industry is continuing to turn out more complex and sophisticated AI units, which actually simulate and replace humans, I do believe that restrictions and laws need to be put in place to protect people and assign liability. Some of these decisions probably do need to be made now.

Nevertheless, designating robots as ‘electronic persons’ is not one of them. Can you imagine a future where a robot actually sues a human master in court or a person is actually held for murder when one pulls the plug on an AI unit? Machines should never be allowed to be confused legally with real people. The end result could ultimately be the enslavement of humanity.                   *Top

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