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EU wants ethical standards for robotics

The European Parliament has voted in favor of a resolution calling on the EU executive to agree on rules for the fast-evolving field of robotics. The rules are to address a wide range of ethical and liability issues.

Members of the European Parliament on Thursday urged the European Commission to propose rules on robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) with a view to fully exploiting their economic potential and guaranteeing a standard level of safety and security.

Parliamentarians noted that regulatory standards for the use of robots were currently being planned in several nations. They argued that the EU needed to take the lead on setting such standards so as not to be forced to follow those set by third countries.

They also emphasized that draft legislation was urgently required to clarify liability issues, especially for the use of self-driving cars. MEPs suggested a mandatory insurance scheme and a supplementary fund "to ensure that victims of accidents involving driverless cars are fully compensated."

Pooling of expertise

A resolution on the topic, which was passed by 396 votes to 123 on Thursday, urged the Commission to consider creating a specific legal status for robots in the long run in order to establish who was responsible, if they caused damage.

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MEPs pointed out the growing use of robotics also raised ethical issues to do with privacy and safety.

The suggested the EU executive create a European agency for robotics and artificial intelligence to supply public authorities with technical, ethical and regulatory expertise.

hg/sgb (AFP, EP)

 

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