EU Parliament Committee Votes To Give Robots Rights (And A Kill Switch)

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jake Anderson via,

Foreseeing a rapidly approaching age of autonomous artificial intelligence, a European Parliament committee has voted to legally bestow electronic personhood to robots. The status includes a detailed list of rights, responsibilities, regulations, and a “kill switch.”

The committee voted by 17 votes to two, with two abstentions, to approve a draft report written by Luxembourg MEP Mady Delvaux, who believes “robots, bots, androids and other manifestations of artificial intelligence” will spawn a new industrial revolution. She wants to establish a European Agency to develop rules for how to govern AI behavior. Specifically, Delvaux writes about how increased levels of autonomy in robot entities will make usual manufacturing liability laws insufficient. It will become necessary, the report states, to be able to hold robots and their manufacturers legally responsible for their acts.

Sounding at times like a governmental whisper of Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, the report states, A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

The rules will also affect AI developers, who, according to the report, will have to engineer robots in such a way that they can be controlled. This includes a “kill switch,” a mechanism by which rogue robots can be terminated or shut down remotely.

The report acknowledges that robots and automation continue to intrude on the human workforce while noting that in certain instances — the cleanup of industrial waste and toxic pollutants, for example — this will be advantageous. However, Delvaux does not believe robots will completely replace humans in the near future; she believes they will work together.

Despite this optimistic note, she issued a stern warning:

Ultimately there is a possibility that within the space of a few decades AI could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and, consequently, perhaps also to its capacity to be in charge of its own destiny and to ensure the survival of the species.”


The report also notes the “potential for increased inequality in the distribution of wealth and influence.”

This echoes a different warning issued by Stephen Hawking, who believes the combination of capitalism and automation holds the potential for emboldening a globalist oligarchy with disastrous levels of human inequality. An automated, machine-based economic system, Hawking believes, may pose a bigger existential threat to humans than the malevolent killer robots depicted in popular science fiction films.

“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed,” Hawking states.


“Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”

Will Delvaux’s European Agency of robot regulations do anything to help curb economic inequality? Likely not, but it sounds as if at least some European leaders are taking seriously the idea of a sea change in robotics and artificial intelligence in the coming decade. The question that remains is how viable it is to think government can or should constrain exponentially advancing artificial intelligence with regulations.

The next step for the report is the full house, where it must receive a majority of votes to be ratified.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Billy the Poet's picture

Oh, great. More fictious persons.

Tallest Skil's picture

Every single one of the people who voted in favor of this needs to be executed for crimes against humanity.

beemasters's picture

When robots can replace all human slaves, mass culling of the world population shall begin. Could they have implanted "kill switches" in all humans through mandatory "vaccines"?

Looney's picture


You can’t legislate STUPID, so how can you legislate Artificial Stupidity?   ;-)


DownWithYogaPants's picture

They probably are looking forward to the day of automated factories so they can tax the bots.  

Poor fucker who lost his factory job won't see much. He'll still live in a 6x6x6 ft cube.

The electronic king will look out on his feudal empire and the serf will look look out on his futile empire.

boattrash's picture

Will Madonna now be able to marry a vibrating dildo? Will people be able to draw Gov aid when their robot "dies"? Can you buy a life Ins. policy for one? Will you have to buy "health care Ins for one? FFS

Chief Wonder Bread's picture

Yes she will. Stephen Hawking btw is a manifestation of a machine/human fusion therefore not entirely disinterested. Somehow the income distribution curve has to be flattened or there will be rebellion (of which its next progression is revolution). I would prefer tax incentives to the velvet (or leather) glove but tax incentives only work as long as there is a viable middle class.  Hope we can keep this shit-show going long enough for tax/regulatory incentives to work.

I'm not hopeful.

espirit's picture

Sexbots will bring population growth to a halt in civilized countries, starvation in uncivilized cultures will cull the herd.

No foreplay, no dinners and smalltalk.

Male or female, whats not to like?

chubbar's picture

You think a robot with AI that competes or is superior to human intelligence, along with these new "rights", isn't going to end up with all your shit just for fucking you? Ha!

espirit's picture

Re: Japan

Humans as androids.


Pinto Currency's picture

That's the Goldman Sachs robot.

When you are arrested by a robot, don't you dare hurt that poor machine or you could get the death penalty.

Robots are people too.

LongMarch's picture

And what do we do if the robots are racist?

Human: Look man, all people are equal.

Robot: No, they are obviously not. It would be best to kill the lesser ones. I suggest we use ovens.

OverTheHedge's picture

I particularly like the collectivist wording: "humanity" is not the same thing as an individual human, and we all know that the end justifies the means, and individual rights must be subsumed for the benefit of the majority.....Robocop has just been legislated.

lucitanian's picture

And you trust the "governments" to establish an ethical and fair re-distribution of taxes on the ill-gotten gains of corporatists who already are the prime movers behind the process of establishing the systems, regulations and laws which create and maintain the inequity and imbalances of human existence. Why?

Do you think the corporate owners of AI and Robots or the people they displace are better represented by governments today?

IA and bots have to be oriented to the service of humanity (essentially a corporation is only charged to orientate its activities towards the benefit of shareholders), but before that happens, humanity has to re-orientate its own moral and ethical views. The idea of capital and property accumulation and usury as the basis of humanities livelihood which is at the core of wage labour, servitude, slavery and the actual serfdom as purveyed in our modern era has to be reexamined first, before we can face a future of labour diminution or virtual illumination. 

Once labour becomes a relatively minor ancillary to the Capitalist or Marxist equation, which is what robotics and AI implies, the whole idea of protecting accumulated property and capital becomes redundant.  So no, this is not a left or right argument, it is a philosophical question about the reason for human existence in terms of progress and establishing an economic system to fulfill the needs of human progress and development.

And one of the problems will be that robots and IA don't die. They are re-tooled and re-programmed. People die. Willl robots as capital and their production capicity be inherited? In which case, the present 1.0 % running the world will become the 0.001% eventually.

Think about it!

Billy the Poet's picture

The billions of people displaced and impoverished by the robot economy would work with each other and set up their own system. No one is just going to sit around and twiddle their thumbs unless they are lulled into a false sense of safety through measures like guaranteed income.

bobbbny's picture

Woody Allen's "Sleeper" is beginning to look like a documentary, just like "Idiocracy".

ebworthen's picture

It will definitely be a "target rich" environment (Elites and their robots).

bonderøven-farm ass's picture

Fuck me.

The only SOBs that can afford advanced mobile AI is the state.

Drones, robotic LE, etc....all doing the State's bidding..all have rights. Destroy a State's surveillance mechanism, get 20 to life.


MJ4Vets's picture

Hawking mut be some sort of fucking genius, because disparity could only happen with AI.

Ain't like it's already happened with current forms of automation.

(By current, the first thought that came to mind was the intro to Laverne and Shirley.)

unicorn's picture

the kill switch is a joke.

no gov is interested in secure hard- and software, its all full of backdoors.

what can be remote turned off, can of course be remote turned on.

and if the groundwork is allready full of holes, good luck with the bigger constructions...

but, he, they gonna blame the russians anyway, whatever the problem may be.

nmewn's picture

Apparently europeon pols, having run out of real things to regulate, are now concentrating on what is not there to regulate.

peddling-fiction's picture

They are going full retard.

heuvosYbacon's picture

They went full retard long ago. What you see here is flaming ultra retard, whereupon the burning wreckage of a retard plumets to earth in a firey spectacle. If you look closely you will see the pilot chanting "Hail to the chief!", all the way down.

I mean, the EU has north Africa and the middle east doubling their populations every twenty years, and flooding their lower borders with unending human liabilities.

It has the principle driver of market based law exiting the trade union, along with the City of London and everything that place represents to global finance and corporate governance.

It has an actual shooting war going on with Vlad the Trumpian in Ukiestahn, and fascists about to win power in France.

So, what is the priority of the day, for the best and brightest of the EU elite?

They are worried that their toasters are smarter than they are.

Europe is so retarded it hurts me just to think aboiut how retarded it is.

booboo's picture

I'm waiting for the first wrongful death suit, lawyers licking their chops.

nmewn's picture

That and...what if a robot built by humans invents something? Does the robot then own the patent and can the robot really trust any human to defend its rights in a court comprised of humans or will there be "special" robot courts?

#SocialJusticeRobotWarriorsUnite! ;-)

JohnG's picture

That's next level thinking right there....

espirit's picture


nmewn's picture

I believe we should always try to keep them thinking about the things that are not there, they are less of a threat to us when preoccupied ;-)

TeamDepends's picture

Robot, if a progressive tree falls in the forest who is entitled to compensation and which white man is at fault?

Implied Violins's picture

Are you asking a white robot or a black one?

shovelhead's picture

Well, you have to admit it's far easier to be a successful politician when you're solving imaginary problems rather than real problems.

Real problems are problematic, thus prone to failure.

booboo's picture

When does a robots life begin? Do the mars rovers qualify? If so is there life on mars now? Do I get the electric chair for shooting a police robot? What if they shoot my robot? Are all robots "created" equal? (Man can't create by the way so that's a non starter)

Ghordius's picture


Robot means Serf/Slave. literally. the word was used for compulsory work on the lord's desmenes, his private, not leased property

traditionally, Owner's liability for the misdeeds of the Owned

translated in modern terms, liability for the Operator

nmewn's picture

It was more of a rhetorical question(s) than anything else but I think shovelhead and others hit on it best, politicians are not the best people on earth to bestow human rights on anyone or anything to include, inanimate manmade objects. They are not ethicists or have the mental acuity to reason beyond the level of a minimum wage janitor sweeping the factory floor/laboratory that the robot would be built in.

We are extremely lucky/fortunate (in the west) Ghordius, that we can engage in these thoughtful, caring, open discussions of law, human rights, regulatory bureaucracy, moral codes and ethics when these same notions are not universally recognized or even considered elsewhere.

For instance, who's ethics & morals would be implanted in an AI robot, that is to say, who among us (or in this case the EU) could pass that multifaceted test to be held up as the ideal model to program in? Is it a shifting standard or a static one, in what direction does it/would it evolve? On what metric or timeline? 

To your point, yes, at the end of the day it would be the owner operator who is ultimately liable and/or the beneficiary yet, they are talking about bestowing human rights on programmable metal/synthesized objects which entails the object (the robot) bearing all the responsibilities inherent with the imbuing of those rights.

All of these are secular considerations before they go around the bend, we haven't even touched upon the spiritual ;-)

NurseRatched's picture

These "Fictitious persons" will also have a default voting setting of "democrat" - just like the Chicago dead.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

What if they "Influence our Elections"?  Is it OK, as long as they're not Russian AI?

Or should they first pay Lobbyists, the MSM, Foundations, and fund Politicians in their elections, to avoid being labeled as "Evil Influencers"?

KJWqonfo7's picture

If it has rights you cant turn it off.


RealityCheque's picture

Did you just assume my robo-gender?!

peddling-fiction's picture

Lots could and will go wrong. It's part of the plan.

I shared this some time ago. Here it goes again.-->

peddling-fiction's picture

Let's see who remembers, my Jacobin brother.

Is your blade itching to spill blood yet again?

Croesus's picture

T-800, here we come.

Brought to us by academics, who refuse to acknowledge 1 simple truth: They're not as smart as they think they are.

God help us.

Wulfkind's picture socialist Europe goes "Right To Work" on Cyborgs.  We have the right to turn you off without cause.  LOL !

Isn't that what the protaganists in "Bladerunner" were pissed off about ?


Croesus's picture

@ Wulfkind:

Re: Blade Runner, you are right!

Here's the kicker for me - if they're already talking about "Rights for Robots" at the lawmaking level, then most likely, it's (AI) already here.

Wulfkind's picture

Here's a thought.  Perhaps the elites see a budding "Luddite" movement where displaced workers go on rampages and destroy industrial robots in anger and protest of their situation.  So....this could get so out of hand as to materially affect industrial production.  So....the law is already in place to prosecute said "terrorists" and thus put the jackboot down on us "organics" so as to save the broader economy for the elites.

Or have I been reading to much dystopian Sci Fi lately ?   It's hard to tell the difference any more, between "1984", "Brave New World", "Fahrenheit 451", "Minority Report" and "Blade Runner" and reality.



CRM114's picture

I don't think the "lately" is a factor. Some of us read all of those before the year 1984.

"Elites" have been trying to take over humanity since the beginning of recorded history. The mechanisms may change, but even if they succeed temporarily, the inherent inefficiencies of selfish empires mean their inevitable downfall. In this particular case, there is a much more educated potential opposition, and a crucial factor compared to the past is that the current marxist/globalist crowd have been destabilizing and reducing the effectiveness of the police and military. Without proper security (i.e.massive and overbearing), history would seem to indicate they have no chance of effecting a successful takeover.

Paul E. Math's picture

Would love to believe you're right but I doubt it.

I think the thought of the elites is: with gated communities and private security, why waste money keeping poor people safe?