At its plenary session held in Strasbourg last Thursday, the European Parliament rejected universal basic income as a compensatory measure for unemployment in the tech sector caused by the use of robots and automation in the labor market. This measure was to be financed with a “tax on robots” paid by the companies that use them in production. Three hundred twenty-eight MEPs from liberal and conservative groups (EPP, ALDE and ERC) voted against it, and 286 (socialists, GUE and others) voted in favor.
On the other hand, a large majority — 396 votes in favor, 123 against and 85 abstentions — voted to accept a report issued by the European Commission. Not legally binding, it recommends the adoption of certain rules on the emerging field of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics: tort, criminal and economic liabilities of the robots and a study on the effects of automation on employment. The parliamentarians also asked to consider the possibility of creating a European agency for robotics and artificial intelligence.
In the resolution proposed by the Luxembourg Socialist MEP Mady Delvaux, which was approved by the majority, the Parliament also sought a draft law to create a mandatory insurance system and a supplementary fund to ensure full compensation for victims of accidents caused by autonomous cars.