The rise of the robots, as the title of the renowned book by Martin Ford, or, better, the development of robotics and artificial intelligence puts radical challenges to the social security system of developed countries.
On 12th of January 2017 European Parliament’s committee on Legal affairs (JURI) adopted a report on “Civil law rules on robotics” that strongly supported the proposal of a general basic income as a tool to cope with the growing technological unemployment and the threats it poses to social security policies and pratices as we know them. While visionaries like Elon Musk already consider a universal basic income as the obvious consequence of automation, today the European Parliament has rejected the non-binding proposals to start defining new models of social security, taxation on robots, protection of customers against the mistakes or damages caused by robots or algorithms.
Hereafter a resume of the debate taken from Euractiv.
The European Parliament’s plenary session voted today (16 February) against a universal basic income to compensate for the impact of robots on the labour market.
By a broad majority, the Parliament adopted a non-legally binding report with recommendations to the European Commission on rules on robotics.
Arguably, the report represents the first effort by legislators worldwide to prepare the regulatory ground for the emerging sector of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics.
Despite the fact that most groups supported the recommendations, the plenary rejected the most controversial proposals.
These were the recommendations for setting up a universal basic income, a robot tax and allowing consumers to collectively claim compensation for damages generated by intelligent machines.
“Report on robotics adopted in Plenary. Disappointed because right-wing coalition refuses open-minded debate!” rapporteur Mady Delvaux tweeted (S&D).
The report proposed to start debating new employment models and assessing the sustainability of our tax and social systems “on the basis of the existence of sufficient income, including the possible introduction of a general basic income”.
A total of 286 MEPs were in favour of the recommendation, while 328 were against and eight abstained.
The idea was initially adopted by the Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee.