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Legal status for robots – and kill switches

legal computer judge concept, robot with gavel,3D illustration.

|13 January 2017|


European calls to grant robots ‘Electronic Persons’ status

A draft report calling for robots to have legal status and be equipped with kill switches has been passed by a committee of the European Parliament.

Robots would be classified as ‘Electronic Persons’ under the proposals supported by the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs. They would be given specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause.

Luxembourg MEP  Mady Delvaux put forward the plans insisting there is an urgent need to provide a legal framework which can guarantee people’s safety. She wants standardisation across Europe and to promote “cooperation between robots and humans”.

The report suggests a charter to ensure robot designers make their technologies safe, which could mean including ‘kill switches’ so any rogue bots can be swiftly shut down if they become aggressive to humans.

The draft report will be considered by the full European Parliament in February.

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Written By

Iain is a creative writer, journalist and lecturer, and formerly an editor of two international business publications. Iain is now editor of Innovators Magazine, as well as the strategic content director for OnePoint5Media.


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