Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Radical loony lefty unions could recruit robots as members

Radical loony lefty unions could recruit robots as members and give them voting rights to increase their negotiating power against the bosses. 

They could also use robots as a way to return to the good old days of the block vote, when the union leader voted on behalf of all the members.

So, for example, if you had 1,000 militant robots who each had one vote, their union boss could have 1,001 votes – including the one vote for him or herself – and it would be a nightmare for the bosses. 

It means that the union boss could call industrial action and the robots could down tools and walk out of factories pretty much any time they want.

These crazy scenarios could be possible if government bodies such as the European Union give robots rights, which is something that has been discussed.

Last year, the EU was reported to be considering classifying robots as “electronic persons” and make their owners liable to pay taxes on their behalf.

The European Parliament’s committee on legal affairs actually drafted a resolution saying, “at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations”.

But human legal expert Christopher Millard suggested the EU was bonkers.

Millard is senior counsel at London law firm Bristows, and is general editor of the International Journal of Law and Information Technology, and editor of Data Protection Laws of the World.

Millard says: “I really think we’ve got lots of robot law, possibly even too much to start with, and we need to be very careful about putting out new laws, new regulations, which may be overlaid on a lot of very complex existing law that we already have.”