Should European Robots pay Social Security Tax?

Field Notes on the Automation Trap (2nd of July)

Your weekly notes on happenings, news, signals related to automation and alternative means on economic development. See more at The Automation Trap.


Should European Robots pay Social Security Tax?

Have these football robots paid their social security tax? Source: Flickr: jiuguangw


The European Commission is considering classifying robots as “electronic persons with specific rights and obligations” with requirements to contribute to social security and a general autonomous robot liability fund.

The draft motion highlights concern that the automation of the workforce would threaten the “viability of social security.” It also proposes corporations report on the “contribution of robotics and AI to the economic results of a company for the purpose of taxation and social security contribution.”

Interestingly, the draft motion also declares that “general basic income should be seriously considered” for EU member states as AI and robots continue to enter the work force.

While it’s easy to mock an EU motion to declare robots “electronic persons”, it still brings up underlying questions:

  • Is Social Security is essential a pyramid scheme? Where the younger workers pay for the older, retired workers? If so, how can social security be sustainable when those younger workers are replaced by robots?


Air Force Combat Pilots loses to Raspberry-powered AI

Retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee in a flight simulator.


An AI flight combat system called ALPHA has repeatedly beaten and outwit a veteran US Air Force pilot in a series of flight simulations. The pilot, a retired US Air Force Colonel, declared the AI “the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I’ve seen to date.”

This $25 computer, a Raspberry Pi, powers the ALPHA, the flight combat AI.


Interestingly, ALPHA was developed by a recent University of Cincinnati graduate with a team that included the Air Force Research Laboratory. It’s powered by a basic $25 Raspberry PI computer.

Today, over 80 militaries now using drones and growing. And now, with some AI software and $25 in hardware, we could transform traditional human-controlled combat planes to world-class automation combat drones. This makes the UN discussions for banning automation combat drones ever the more urgent (see more in the 22nd June Field Notes).


More Automation Trap news…

Robot Lawyer overturns 160,000 Traffic Tickets in New York and London

Following the recent news about ROSS, the first AI-based IBM Watson-powered lawyer working with a law firm, the Guardian (link) reports on the DoNotPay lawyer chatbot:

An artificial-intelligence lawyer chatbot has successfully contested 160,000 parking tickets across London and New York for free, showing that chatbots can actually be useful.

Dubbed as “the world’s first robot lawyer” by its 19-year-old creator, London-born second-year Stanford University student Joshua Browder, DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets in an easy to use chat-like interface.

Microsoft Proposes Robot Rules

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proposes 10 rules that all autonomous robots must follow, as well as, guidelines humans must follow. Nadella’s original robots rules are found here, and read how AI experts respond here. Read about Google’s own “moral code for robots” here at the last Field Notes.







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