Rise of robots and civil rights for electronic personalities

Author : NV.UA

Source : 112 Ukraine

The dreams of science fiction lovers come true. European authorities are going to create civil rights and responsibilities for robots. Their owners will be obliged to pay taxes to offset payments to people who have become unemployed because the robots took their jobs.
14:53, 24 June 2016

Read the original text at NV.UA.


Isaac Asimov might have wept after reading the news that the document currently lying before the European Commission, involves rethinking the role of robots in the life of modern people.

Their intelligence and growing range of responsibilities, which expands involve major changes in the legislative framework, the authors of the document.

Robots work at the factories, perform medical operations, and take care of the patients. This is a real industrial revolution, and it requires appropriate legal initiatives, the creators of the bill believe.

Law is for everyone

"The machines have captured the world and some MEPs are not happy with this," Gizmodo portal columnist Michael Nunez ironically noted.

The legal embodiment of the Asimov’s robots laws is still far in the future. However, if the bill is adopted, it will work is the recognition of which science fiction lovers could only dream of.


The document states that "at least, the most sophisticated autonomous robots must be considered as electronic personalities with the respective rights and obligations."

The draft law also provides establishment of general registry of the autonomous robots and creating social funds that provide cover risks related to their exploitation. Simply put, it is about creating mechanisms analogous to insurance and car registry.

The document also indicates that the development of robots and other forms of artificial intelligence might massively take away the jobs from people. This leads to high loads on foundations of social assistance.

In this regard, there should be some mechanisms to oblige companies using robots to pay money to social funds to prevent the collapse of pension schemes.

Iron bureaucracy

Robot manufacturers do not welcome the initiative of European officials. In particular, VDMA (German Engineering Association) has openly criticized the bill.


The major manufacturers (such as Siemens and robots Kuka) said that changes proscribed in the law are too eradicative and it is too early to talk about them yet.

German manufacturers of robots do not deny that the industry is growing. According to the data of the VDMA, Germany’s robot market is growing 7% annually. Its volume in 2015 amounted to 12.2 billion euros.

Related: Ukraine's job market: robots vs. bureaucracy

German manufacturers believe that at the current stage, the law on accounting would not be effective at all. "It is a needless bureaucracy, it would slow the development of robots," says Patrick Schwarzkopf, head of VDMA. He also noted that the causality between the robots and the unemployment must be proven first.

He points out that in the period from 2010 to 2015, the amount of robots involved in Germany’s industry increased by 17%. During the same period, the number of employees of German automotive industry increased by 13%.

It is too early to talk about the unemployment.

No one knows for sure about the Parliament’s reaction on the bill.

MEP from Luxembourg Madi Delvo said: “If we do not create the legal framework for the development of robotics, our market will be invaded by robots from outside.”

Related: Ukrainians in Canada developing a “Moon robot”

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