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Artificial Intelligence

The EU drafts laws of robotics

When Isaac Asimov formulated his three laws of robotics back in 1942, they were still considered to be pure science fiction. Now they are becoming reality: The EU wants to regulate the deployment of civilian robots and give them a special legal status.

30 Jan. 2017
Roboter Nao
NAO, a SoftBank Robotics robot

As EU delegate Mady Delvaux reports , the commission is currently working on EU-wide "Laws of Robotics". The reason for this is legal and ethical issues raised by the increasing use of robotics and artificial intelligence. One option could be to assign robots the status of "electronic personality" - for instance when it comes to damage compensation. However, a legal framework for autonomously-intelligent systems that are already on the market or will become available over the next ten to fifteen years is considered more urgent.

The report, which the EU legal committee adopted with 17 votes to 2, also calls for a "kill switch" for robots : Designers are asked to incorporate appropriate devices to ensure that the machines can be switched off in case of emergency. The ripcord problem could soon also be a topic of discussion at cinemas, as Warner Bros. has announced the sequel "Blade Runner 2049" for the autumn. Delvaux now wants to shift into high gear in order to create common European standards before the member states start drafting their own laws.