The European Parliament (EP) is the first legal institution in
the world to have initiated work of a law on robots and artificial
intelligence (AI). It refers in particular to robots with the
capacity to be trained and make decisions independently.
Considering the economic potential of the revolution for the
upcoming 10-15 years, the EP wants to ensure safety of users.
In its resolution handed down last week to the European
Commission (EC), the EP recommended:
Responsibility: to draw up the EU
legal framework of civil liability for damage caused by robots,
particularly by unmanned vehicles. A compensation fund would be
established in addition to the obligatory insurance scheme. By
contributing to the said fund a manufacturer, programmer or owner
would be able to limit its liability. The rules would also specify
who should be finally held liable for given damage;
Autonomous vehicles: to ensure the
cross-border use of autonomous vehicles; to adjust the law with
respect to road accidents; to ensure uniform testing criteria in
real environment (on the roads); to support the development of
independent computer and communication infrastructure; to complete
the development of the European satellite navigation programmes
Galileo and EGNOS;
Agency for robotics: to set up a
European agency for robotics and AI and register certain robots; to
verify the introduction of an obligatory identification and
tracking system for drones;
Privacy: to guarantee data and
privacy safety; to ensure protection against hacking; to impose the
requirement to provide explicit consent to process personal
Intellectual property: to ensure the
interoperability of robots that interact with each other; to
introduce uniform technical standards; the acceptance of
reverse-engineering; if necessary, to ensure access to source codes
and construction details to investigate causes of accidents; use of
"black boxes" for the same purpose;
E-personality: in the long-term, to
consider granting "electronic" personality to robots who
make decisions independently and define their liability for
Labor market: to assess the impact of
the revolution on the labor market – the creation and loss of
jobs (e.g. truck drivers);
Code of ethical conduct: to adopt a
code of ethical conduct for the sector's researchers and
designers, including ensuring that a human being has final control
over intelligent robots (e.g. by emergency kill switches).
Citizens and organizations may express their views on the future
of robotics and AI as part of public consultations which are to be
held until the end of April (link here).
The EC may draw up a Directive. If, however, the EC does not
accept the stance presented by the EP, the EC is required to
justify its refusal.
The EP resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to
the EC on Civil Law Rules on Robotics (2015/2103(INL)) can be found
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