Europe very slowly moves to prevent the machines taking over

terminator robot screen shot

In another example of glacial bureaucracy, a committee from the European Parliament has written a report which recommends a meeting about robots and AI.

The Legal Affairs Committee has produced a report that strongly urges the European Commission (hereafter known as the Gaggle of Red-tapers) to create legislation and regulation to govern the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence. It suggests the Gaggle of Red-tapers creates a new department to ‘to supply public authorities with technical, ethical and regulatory expertise’. The Legal Affairs Committee set up this working group to look into artificial intelligence in April 2016, and it would appear this report is the result of ten months’ hard work.

Just to clarify. It took 21 MEP’s, two of whom abstained from voting alongside two who rejected the proposals in the report (for some reason), ten months to come to the conclusion it should recommend the European Commission should regulate the development of artificial intelligence. What these politicians have achieved is about the same as an Eskimo stating it must be cold outside because it’s snowing.

“A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics,” said Mady Delvaux, who is acting as Rapporteur for the Legal Affairs Committee. “In order to address this reality and to ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework.”

There are a number of different recommendations, the majority of which state the obvious (who would have thought any less from politicians), though there are a couple which demonstrate an actual reasonable though process. For example, one recommendation is that the algorithms should always include a ‘kill code’ to destroy the machines and/or software, should there be an emergency. If Delvaux had at the height of her power in the 80s, the Terminator franchise may have taken a slightly different route.

Despite  the almost laughably obvious statements from our highly-esteemed MEPs, this is a step in the right direction. The fields of robotics and artificial intelligence urgently need regulatory guidance if they are to operate in an ethical and effective manner.

That said, this group was established in January 2015 and is only just making these recommendations. I wouldn’t hold your breath for regulations any time soon, especially with the lightning fast Gaggle of Red-tapers about to enter the equation.

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One comment

  1. Avatar B 16/01/2017 @ 4:43 pm

    I lol’d

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