Mark Zuckerberg was warned that he risks being remembered as "a genius who created a digital monster", by a senior member of the European Parliament, where the Facebook founder and chief executive was answering questions on a massive data leak affecting millions of users. Guy Verhofstadt said that the only way for scandals surrounding the social media giant to subside, would be for its services to be split apart. "I really think we have a big problem here and it won't be fixed by saying we will fix itself," the parliament's chief Brexit negotiator said. "Could you and would you cooperate with European Antitrust authorities?" The Belgian MEP went on to suggest that Facebook's dominance could be stifled by splitting it from Facebook messenger.
Mark Zuckerberg will face a public grilling at the European Parliament on Tuesday, after a rebellion by MEPs over plans to hold the meeting in private. The Facebook founder is coming to Brussels to answer questions about his company's policies on personal data, privacy, and the social network's impact on elections – facing an interrogation by leaders of the assembly's political groups. The tech boss has so far refused similar requests to appear at the UK Parliament– prompting British MPs to warn that they might issue a formal summons for him to appear. In April he spent two days testifying before the US Congress. Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, had announced last week that the meeting would be held behind closed doors.
European policymakers have asked for help unravelling the "patchwork" of ethical and societal challenges as the use of artificial intelligence increases. The European Commission's group on ethics in science and new technologies on Friday issued a statement (PDF) warning that existing efforts to develop solutions to the ethical, societal and legal challenges AI presents are a "patchwork of disparate initiatives." It added that "uncoordinated, unbalanced approaches in the regulation of AI" risked "ethics shopping," resulting in the "relocation of AI development and use to regions with lower ethical standards." Instead, the group wants to start a process that will "pave the way towards a common, internationally recognized ethical and legal framework for the design, production, use and governance of artificial intelligence, robotics, and'autonomous' systems." The Commission said in a separate statement that it wanted to kick off a "wide, open and inclusive discussion on how to use and develop artificial intelligence both successfully and ethically sound."
A lively discussion is currently under way in the business world regarding possible applications of intelligent IT systems and autonomous machines and equipment. Rapid technical development in these areas has spurred the imagination of users. The application areas are extremely diverse, and include production robots in industry, drones and self-driving delivery robots in logistics and warehousing, healthcare robots and driverless vehicles. What sounds like science fiction has already become reality in some cases, with intelligent robots being particularly common in production and logistics. From a legal viewpoint, there are still a host of unanswered questions around robotics and the artificial intelligence (AI) incorporated into robots.
EU-wide rules are needed for the fast-evolving field of robotics, e.g. to enforce ethical standards or establish liability for accidents involving driverless cars, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs ask the EU Commission to propose rules on robotics and artificial intelligence, in order to fully exploit their economic potential and to guarantee a standard level of safety and security. They note that regulatory standards for robots are being planned in several countries, and point out that the EU needs to take the lead on setting these standards, so as not to be forced to follow those set by third countries. Rapporteur Mady Delvaux (S&D, LU) said "Although I am pleased that the plenary adopted my report on robotics, I am also disappointed that the right-wing coalition of ALDE, EPP and ECR refused to take account of possible negative consequences on the job market. They rejected an open-minded and forward-looking debate and thus disregarded the concerns of our citizens."
Regulations to protect people from falling drones moved a little closer to takeoff at the European Parliament on Thursday. Ensuring drone safety took on a new urgency this week, with GoPro's recall of its Karma drone after unexplained mid-air power failures caused a number of them to drop out of the sky. Under the European Union's proposed regulations, drones will have to be registered so that their owners can be identified. While that won't in itself stop drones from falling, it could lead pilots to take their responsibilities more seriously, legislators hope. A 1-kilogram drone like the Karma falling from as little as 11 meters (around three stories) could kill even someone wearing a safety helmet, according to a calculator developed by the Dropped Object Prevention Scheme, which promotes safety in the oil and gas industry.
If robots are going to steal human jobs and otherwise disrupt society, they should at the very least pay taxes. That's the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences. "Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity's capacity to control its own creation and ... the survival of the species," the draft states. The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now "seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution." The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs.
That's the takeaway from a draft report on robotics produced by the European Parliament, which warns that artificial intelligence and increased automation present legal and ethical challenges that could have dire consequences. "Within the space of a few decades [artificial intelligence] could surpass human intellectual capacity in a manner which, if not prepared for, could pose a challenge to humanity's capacity to control its own creation and ... the survival of the species," the draft states. The report offers a series of recommendations to prepare Europe for this advanced breed of robot, which it says now "seem poised to unleash a new industrial revolution." The proposal suggests that robots should have to register with authorities, and says laws should be written to hold machines liable for damage they cause, such as loss of jobs. Contact between humans and robots should be regulated, with a special emphasis "given to human safety, privacy, integrity, dignity and autonomy."