08 june 2016
EU proposed to assign robots the status of “electronic individuals”

EU proposed to assign robots the status of “electronic individuals”

The European Commission has made an interesting proposal from the European Parliament’s legal committee regarding robots. Officials proposed to assign a special status of “electronic individuals” to autonomous robots with AI. This status will secure rights and obligations for robots. In this case, the owner of the “electronic individuals” will have to pay insurance. A draft report containing this proposal was published on the website of the European Parliament in May 2016.

The European Parliament members made a proposal to form a register of autonomous robots with AI, in which each of them will be assigned funds covering the legal obligations of the robot. The report states that institutions will have to report on the finances that can be saved by using robots instead of human resources.

Such initiatives aim to take into consideration the realities of the robotics revolution. The authors of the project argue that the expansion of logical options by the robot and their autonomy is a good reason to revise the areas in which they are applied: from taxes to the legal field.

Now robots are intensively used not only in manufacturing and industrial enterprises, but also in the fields of surgery, cosmetology, and service. In particular, a number of manufacturers make robots look like humans. In this regard, there is growing unrests about the displacement of people by robots. Fears affect inequality in income and material well-being of citizens, an increase in their level of alienation in emotional terms due to the fact that the need to contact between people will decrease.

The German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), which represents such corporations as Siemens, and Kuka robotics manufacturer, said the initiative was untimely and complicated.

Patrick Schwartzkopf, the managing director of this Association, argues that the need to assign the status of an “electronic individual” will arise no earlier than 50 years, and certainly not in the next decade. The organization believes that the development of the register and legal obligations will become a complicating bureaucratic mechanism and significantly slow down the development of robotics.

At the same time, the director of the VDMA admitted that in the coming years, it will be necessary to develop a legal and regulatory framework that will regulate the use of autonomous cars. The director of the Association also noted that now there is no direct relationship between the active use of robots and unemployment. For example, the number of workers in the automotive industry in Germany has grown by 13% over the past 5 years, and the fleet of industrial robots has grown by 17%.

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