Robots can facilitate our lives but we must recognise challenges

The European Parliament voted on its first ever report on robots today in Strasbourg. The report focuses on the many legal and ethical questions that the widespread deployment of robots will bring, but unfortunately ignores possible negative impacts on labour markets.

S&D MEP and author of the report Mady Delvaux-Stehres said:

“Over the next few decades, the increased use of robots will not leave any stratum of society untouched. As technological innovation continues to get ever faster, robots will play an increasingly important part of our daily lives. This can bring huge benefits to our societies – assisting us with difficult and unpleasant tasks. However, we need clear rules to ensure robots serve human interests at all times. ”

“Although I am pleased that the plenary adopted my report on robotics, I am also disappointed that the right-wing coalition rejected an open-minded and forward-looking debate and thus disregards the concerns of our citizens. Refusing to have a debate on how our society is going to face the challenges which come with the opportunities is preventing Europe to prepare for the future.”

S&D Group Spokesperson for legal affairs, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann added:

“The mass adoption of robots will profoundly change all aspects of our lives but particularly the way we work. There are great opportunities for new high skilled jobs and whole new industries will be created, from automated cars to smarter energy consumption. Robots will also do dangerous or monotonous work that humans currently need to do.

“However, the right-wing coalition of ALDE, EPP and ECR are turning a blind eye to the possible negative consequences this will bring to Europe’s labour market. For the S&D it is vital that we look at the negative aspects of a world where robots do more and more of the current work done by human beings. We need to ensure that the robot revolution does not lead to mass unemployment or increased inequality between rich and poor. “