Is the world society ready to share its daily life with robots?
The global robotics market was estimated at $ 27.73 billion last year and is expected to reach $ 74.1 billion by 2026. This is almost a threefold growth, which means that the development of robotics will proceed at an unprecedented pace. And this is not surprising, given how much of humanity in general has advanced technologically. How are things going with respect to determining the status of robots in the future, and what are the governments and various experts in related fields discussing so eagerly today? After all, it becomes obvious that not only the usual buying and selling of robots will be relevant. An area like HR will also undergo changes. Hiring robots to work will soon become commonplace.
BBC News recently reported that a judge in Spain had granted joint custody of a dog to a divorced couple. This is the first time in a country where new legislation is currently being drafted. According to him, animals will no longer be considered objects and are officially recognized as living beings. Earlier, in the fall of the same year, the news spread in the world media that Hyundai would monitor safety at the Seoul plant of its subsidiary Kia using a four-legged robot from Boston Dynamics. Yes, at the moment the difference in the subject of this news is obvious – a living being and a robot. But will the situation be the same in 20 years? I’ll answer right away – it’s unlikely.
What the robotics industry is based on?
In fact, an active race in the development of robotics between countries began in 2017-2018. Around this period, more than two dozen different strategies were issued by a number of countries and international organizations. In the same 2017, the EU adopted a Resolution on Civil Law in Robotics with a Charter of Robotics and a Code of Ethics. It addresses issues such as research, intellectual property rights, standardization and security, the introduction of robots in various areas of human life, as well as ethical principles and responsibility. In this document, we are interested in the last section of those listed.
The closer the robot is to a living being, the more empathy people have for it.
Clause 56 of the Resolution specifies that the degree of responsibility for the actions of robots should correspond to the real level of autonomy of the robot and the instructions it followed. And the higher the ability of the robot to learn, the higher the level of autonomy, and the longer the robot has been learning, the more responsibility the person who trained it should bear. At the same time, in the process of determining the person responsible for the harm, it is very important not to confuse the skills that the robot developed exclusively in the process of self-learning and the skills that it was taught. It is further noted that, at least for today, the responsibility should lie with the human, not the robot. And then, already in paragraph 59 (f), the question of endowing robots with a special legal status is raised in the future. What does this mean?
This means that the most advanced autonomous robots can be created as electronic persons and be liable for damage caused by them in those cases when they make decisions autonomously or otherwise independently interact with third parties. As we can see, the Resolution provides for the option that over time robots can become subjects of law. Just like the animals in Spain in the near future. Another question is how this can work … Will robots become full-fledged citizens of our new technological society, or will they forever remain service personnel for humans? We have yet to answer these and much more difficult questions. Including, if robots create their own metaverse, will there be a place for humans, and if so, which one? What legal norms will regulate the relationship between robots and people, as well as between roots as objects of law and part of civil society. There are no clear and
clear answers yet behind all these questions, but we can say with confidence that the time has come to start looking for solutions to them, if we do not want to remain unclaimed as a biological species in the future.