Robots, AI, and the question of ‘e-persons’ ― a panel at the 2017 Science in Public conference, 10–12 July 2017



In response to EU draft legislation on robots and artificial intelligence ― which included the headline-grabbing proposals to introduce rights for ‘e-persons’ and necessitating that robots come equipped with a ‘kill switch’ ― a diverse group of experts and academics gathered in Sheffield as part of the Science in Public 2017 conference. Panellists and the audience discussed the origins and implications of the ideas behind the EU initiative, and more specifically, whether robots or artificial intelligence qualifies for right as ‘persons’, and how the EU proposal imagines robots and artificial intelligence in particular, historically-contingent ways that influence or distort our present discussions and attempts to legislate on the future use and development of technology.