European Civil Law Rules in Robotics
The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee
With a view to developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, the Committee on Legal Affairs deemed it time for the European Union to take action in respect of the legal and ethical issues raised by these new technologies. To this end, the JURI Committee set up a working group in 2015 with the primary aim of drawing up “European” civil law rules in this area (lege ferenda). While respecting the European Commission’s right of initiative, on 31 May 2016 this group delivered a draft report (Initiative – Article 46 of theEP’s Rules of procedure) setting out a series of recommendations on civil law rules on robotics1. This draft includes a motion for a European Parliament resolution, accompanied by an annex containing detailed recommendations for the content of a possible legislative proposal. It also includes an explanatory statement which points out that the aim of the future instrument is to lay down the “general and ethical principles governing the development of robotics and artificial intelligence for civil purposes”.
Scientific research on these emerging technologies seems to imply that they will change the face of society. Therefore, even if robots are not yet commonplace, the time has come to legislate.
Once a new legal and ethical sector surfaces, a general approach to the big theoretical questions needs to be found in the first instance, so as to eliminate any misunderstanding or misconceptions about robotics and artificial intelligence.
When we consider civil liability in robotics, we come up against fanciful visions about robots. Here we must resist calls to establish a legal personality based on science fiction. This will become all the more crucial once the liability law solutions adopted in respect of autonomous robots determine whether this new market booms or busts.
Developments in civil robotics and artificial intelligence also call for reflection on the big ethical questions they raise. This analysis is complicated by the fact that it is difficult to predict what sometimes remains an experiment. In this regard, it is essential that the big ethical principles which will come to govern robotics develop in perfect harmony with Europe’s humanist values. The “Charter on Robotics”, which was introduced in the draft report, moves in this direction.
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For Citation :
"European Civil Law Rules in Robotics"
Hukuk & Robotik, Friday November 3rd, 2017