The European Parliament is calling for EU-wide civil law rules addressing the fast-developing field of technology - robotics and artificial intelligence. Robots assisting in the field of medicine or the automotive industry is already an everyday reality, however the civil law rules need to be adapted in order to boost innovation and creativity, address issues of liability in the case of damages and set ethical standards. The European Parliament is the first parliament to debate robotics and artificial intelligence. The Parliament’s Resolution initiates a timely debate on a wide range of issues related to robotics and AI including standardisation, safety and security, data protection, autonomous vehicles, care and medical robots, human repair and enhancement, drones, liability rules, ethical questions, but also considers education and employment.
“European industry in the field of robotics and AI deserves a legal framework within which it can continue to grow. Innovations go beyond borders and are carried out by experts from several Member States working together. This collaboration requires our support. The creation of EU-wide rules on robotics is a necessary step forward to allow the full exploitation of the economic potential of the sector, to promote growth and innovation, and to protect and create more jobs”, said Therese Comodini Cachia MEP, Parliament’s Rapporteur for robotics.
"Robotics and AI are no longer a sign of the distant future and we need to adjust the legal framework for them. In order to keep the European economy competitive, not only do we need to improve conditions for our industry, our companies and our SMEs to compete in the digital age, but we also need to raise awareness and analyse and evaluate advantages and disadvantages of robotics and artificial intelligence. We are launching a debate: robotics is not only about technology, economy and research; it is also about liability, ethical principles, legal questions and employment", said Axel Voss MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on legal affairs.
“Despite the sensations reported in the past months, I wish to make one thing clear: robots are not humans and never will be. No matter how autonomous and self-learning they become they do not attain the characteristics of a living human being. Robots will not enjoy the same legal physical personality. However for the purposes of the liability for damages caused by robots, the various legal possibilities need to be explored. Who will bear responsibility in case of an accident of an automated car? How will any legal solution affect the development of robotics, those who own them and victims of the damage? We invite the European Commission to consider the impact of different solutions to make sure that harm caused to persons and to our environment is properly addressed”, concluded Therese Comodini Cachia MEP.