AI experts concerned about the idea of granting legal status to robots

In an open letter to the European Commission, over 150 artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics experts, industry leaders, and law, medical and ethics experts raised concern over the idea of granting robots with legal status. The letter refers to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament in 2017 on Civil Law Rules of Robotics, in which parliamentarians suggested that the European Commission consider the creation of ‘a specific legal status for robots’. Noting that having EU rules for robotics and AI ‘is pertinent to guarantee a high level of safety and security to EU citizens while fostering innovation’, the experts caution that ‘the economic, legal, societal and ethical impact of AI and robotics must be considered without haste or bias’. In their view, creating a legal personality for a robot is inappropriate from an ethical and legal perspective: while being aware of the importance of addressing the issue of liability of autonomous robots, they believe that ‘creating a legal status of electronic person would be ideological and non-sensical and non-pragmatic’. Moreover, such a concept is considered to be based on ‘a superficial understanding of unpredictability and self-learning capacities and, a robot perception distorted by Science-Fiction’.​