If you’ve been looking at robots as mindless slave labor or the perfect sex bot, you might have to think again. In Europe, the robot population is growing fast and now the EU is considering classifying them as “Electronic Persons.” Why would some thing this stupid be done? Is it because they’ve become self-aware? Nope. It’s for tax purposes.
The new proposal from the European Parliament proposes that “Their growing intelligence, pervasiveness and autonomy requires rethinking everything from taxation to legal liability.
The reality of it is that this is a money grab. More automation in factories means less workers, less workers means less people from which to collect income tax, which means the government needs to find someone else to give them money.
Despite objections from Germany, the motion went on to suggest: “that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations”. Additionally, they’ve suggested a registry for the “smarter” robots for the purposes of legal liabilities.
Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of the VDMA’s (Gerrman Engineering association) robotic and automation department, has been a voice of reason in the matter.
“That we would create a legal framework with electronic persons – that’s something that could happen in 50 years but not in 10 years. We think it would be very bureaucratic and would stunt the development of robotics.”
He did however, concede that legislation for self-driving cars would most likely be needed in the very near future.