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EU Legal affairs committee suggests rules for robots—including rights and kill switches

Laputan machine: The legal code should eventually include "kill switches" for robots, to shut them down in emergencies. (Source: Square Enix Holdings)
Laputan machine: The legal code should eventually include "kill switches" for robots, to shut them down in emergencies. (Source: Square Enix Holdings)
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee has recommended that the EU begin drafting rules for issues of robot rights, including autonomous cars, a definition for "electronic persons", issues of liability, and even kill switches.

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The legal affairs committee of the European Union has recommended that the EU begin drafting rules for the use of robots, according to a press release. The  rules are suggested to cover issues ranging from artificial intelligence, safety, security, to eventual recognition of "electronic personhood".

The need for rules is spurred partially by short-term pragmatic issues: Automated vehicles are becoming a reality in more and more cities around the world, and there is no international standardized framework to govern their usage—especially accident liability. Installing a kill switch to deactivate robots in case of emergency was also a suggested addition to the code.

The rules will also be needed to deal with long-term social and ethical issues, even 50 years down the line. Status of "electronic personhood" for the most advanced robots may be needed to clarify legal responsibility in accidents, says the group. The need for a robot tax system to alleviate the burden of redundant human workers is also mentioned.

The press release for the report is available below.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 01 > EU Legal affairs committee suggests rules for robots—including rights and kill switches
Douglas Black, 2017-01-19 (Update: 2017-01-19)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - News Editor
I am a university Lecturer and researcher in English writing, but I like to keep myself busy. Between weightlifting, MMA, and SCUBA diving, one of my life-long interests has always been computers. I used Macs until about 17 years ago when I switched to PCs because of an interest in games, but I'm still interested in top quality laptops that push the design envelope.