Remain – Brexit. Hmmm. And where does that leave the Robots?

Remain – Brexit. Hmmm. And where does that leave the Robots?

Now the Referendum result is known the arguments are really getting started.

What seems to be apparent if you use Twitter, Facebook et al, is that the most vocal commentators/recriminators seem to see the issue as very digital, on – off, yes- no, Right – Wrong.

Of course nothing in human life is all right or all wrong. One thing you can say with certainty is that people are not robots.

Can Robots be human though?

Does it influence your opinion of the referendum result I wonder, to read the draft Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament – link here – which intends to give recommendations to the Commission on Civil law Rules on Robotics?

In a coda to his Three Laws of Robotics of which Isaac Asimov might be proud, given that the Report is of May 2016 and his Laws were formulated in the early 1940s, the document seeks to create its own code of robot behaviour.

It also suggests that there should be legislation to ensure that financial benefits flowing from the implementation of robot systems to a business should result in additional taxation.

Critics of the EU will find much here to fuel mockery of its Parliament’s apparent wish to micromanage and create bureaucracy at every stage.

Engineers and software writers will find much to mock in its apparent schoolboy level of understanding. For example the directive that all robots be imbued with the doctrine “do no harm” – robots should not harm a human.

[The makers of self-driving cars will find that a hoot – already they are grappling with the dilemma of “algorithmic morality”. Ten children play a game of chicken on the M1. Your car must hit them or crash into the barrier and kill you. Ten lives against one, what should it do? And if you know your car is programmed to kill you in certain cases, will you buy one? Emo Phillips has tweeted “in the year 2030 Mom will say don’t play in the road, you’ll say why?”]

American commentators are laughing at the report, saying this sort of thing parallels the behaviour of past failing Empires, that the EU is spending long days and millions of euros in debating stuff like this whilst the rest of the world builds cheaper robots without a stifling framework of bureaucracy and insurance and doesn’t worry about their “rights”.

Yes, the “Rights” of the Robots. No, really. [ the Report says – We, EU, should explore creating a specific legal status for robots, so that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations].

So there’s that.

On the other hand, the traditional method of dealing with new technology is to make the laws later, after the death tolls rise. And the EU is intending to try to change that. For example, the railways, first came the London Brighton line collision of 1861, twenty three dead, one hundred and seventy five in hospital, then people had a bit of a think and came up with the bright idea of block-signalling. You know, keep the trains apart a bit; might be worth a try.

So anyway, UK has voted to leave this talking shop. And I still don’t know what to think about that. Here’s a song And I don’t know where I am.

Assuming that you still have business in Europe or beyond, please do contact me and Louise to help you transact it whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

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