The European Parliament has today (16 Feb) adopted a report on the civil law issues around robotics. The report focusses on civil liability rules, and the impact of robotics on health, employment, transport and privacy. The report also reflects the importance of not stifling innovation, by promoting open standards and stressing the ability to legally access the source code of AI programmes. The European Parliament also called for the creation of a European Agency, which would follow the development of robotics and artificial intelligence. Due to the rapid progress on these technologies, MEPs called on the European Commission to respond to these issues urgently.
Commenting after the vote, Greens/EFA spokesperson Max Andersson said:
"The European Parliament has opened an urgently needed debate on creating an ethical and legal framework for the development and use of autonomous and intelligent machines. The European Commission must act and develop concrete legislative proposals. Already, more and more work is being done by machines. Robots are already being used in the care of elderly people, and driverless cars are already in development.
"We need an urgent answer to the question of how society will deal with issues of liability when robots are involved in accidents. The current framework is not good enough. In addition, the importance of both data protection and the precautionary principle must be established from the outset. On the important issues of the social and economic impacts of robotisation, notably on jobs and on our social security systems, the report is very cautious. There are many big questions to be answered and we hope we can help begin important discussions on the future of our society."