Whether you welcome our robot overlords or are terrified of their potentially sinister plots, it’s always good to have a plan. The EU’s Legal Affairs Committee recently called for the creation of a robotics and artificial intelligence affairs agency. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) released a draft report detailing recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules regarding robotics-related issues.
Liabilities and standards
The initiative is a request for legislative proposal that would set rules for ethical standards and liability in the field of robotics. Basically, every fictional plot that has ever made you scared of robots is so close to being true that the EU decided to be proactive about it. We’ve already imagined the worst case scenarios when it comes to robot uprisings.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s only a matter of time before the robots watch our movies and get ideas.” quote=”It’s only a matter of time before the robots watch our movies and get ideas.”]
The committee notes that advances in robotics “seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution, which is likely to leave no stratum of society untouched.” They even threw in a proper reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster in the draft report, so you know these MEPs have done their horror research.
The draft report suggests creating a framework for dealing with potential disasters, as well as day-to-day robotics issues. This includes establishing regulatory standards for liability, safety, and changes to the job market.
Long-term planning seeks to address the legal status of highly sophisticated AI robots, potentially creating an “electronic persons” category.
Setting a precendent
More immediate concerns center around autonomous vehicles. Who is responsible when a self driving car has an accident? MEPs want to see obligatory insurance and funding to ensure victims are compensated in these cases. Additionally, the report calls for establishing a voluntary ethical code of conduct, as well as recommendations for robot designers.
Setting a precedent for robotics legislation is crucial because otherwise we’ll be bumbling around trying to figure out if it’s Amazon’s or the consumer’s fault that Alexa ordered your kid nunchucks.
Without any planning, we could be forced to follow guidelines set by third parties. See: Uber and every city they tried to jack with by meddling in legislative grey areas.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It isn’t too soon to start planning for rules regarding robotic milestones we haven’t reached yet.” quote=”It isn’t too soon to start planning for rules regarding robotic milestones we haven’t reached yet.”]
The future of the future
We’ve already arrived at the future of automated assistants like Google Home and IBM’s Watson. We have self-driving cars. We are in the early stages of an expanding world of visual and augmented reality. The things that had us geeking out in sci-fi either already exist or are on their way here. As these technologies become more widespread, it is important we plan for potential outcomes.