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Experts slam proposal to recognise robots as people

Robotics experts have signed a letter slamming a proposal to recognise robots as legal persons.

Over 150 experts from the fields of robotics, commerce, law, ethics, and artificial intelligence (AI) from 14 different countries have put their name down on an open letter which hit out at a recent proposal from the European Parliament which would grant intelligent machines with personhood status.

The government believe the measure will make it easier to find whoever is liable when robots go rogue, but experts say its far too early to consider robots as people.

According to Gizmodo, the EU backing began last year, when the European Parliament proposed the creation of a specific legal status for robots.

Their proposal said at the time: "So that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons responsible for making good any damage they may cause, and possibly applying electronic personality to cases where robots make autonomous decisions or otherwise interact with third parties independently."

However experts argue that this legislation would actually prevent robotics manufacturers from being liable for their actions.

In the open letter, the signatories said: "A legal status for a robot can't derive from the Natural Person model, since the robot would then hold human rights, such as the right to dignity, the right to its integrity, the right to remuneration or the right to citizenship, thus directly confronting the Human rights. This would be in contradiction with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

"The legal status for a robot can't derive from the Legal Entity model [either], since it implies the existence of human persons behind the legal person to represent and direct it. And this is not the case for a robot."

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