Experts Sign Open Letter Slamming Europe’s Proposal to Recognize AI Robots as Legal Persons 

Over 150 experts in AI, robotics, commerce, law, and ethics from 14 countries have signed an open letter denouncing the European Parliament’s proposal to grant personhood status to intelligent machines. The EU says the measure will make it easier to figure out who’s liable when robots screw up or go rogue, but critics say it’s too early to consider robots as persons—and that the law will let manufacturers off the liability hook.


This all started last year when the European Parliament proposed the creation of a specific legal status for robots: The parliament said the law would apply to “smart robots,” which it defined as robots having the capacity to learn through experience and interaction, the ability to acquire autonomy through its sensors, the capacity to adapt its behavior and actions to the environment, among other criteria. By virtue of this proposal, the EU is responding to rapid advances in robotics and AI, and the potential risks imposed on humans and human property. The fear isn’t a robot uprising (at least not yet), but more mundane risks, such as autonomous vehicles and drones accidentally smashing into people, a factory robot crushing an absent-minded worker, or a Roomba giving your cat an unexpected shave.


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