You may be forgiven for thinking you’re about to embark on a lesson in human evolution as our editors have this week chosen subject areas with futuristic, though realistic, themes of human gene-editing technology and electronic persons, aka robots.
We start with Steven Hatzakis’ recommended read of the week…
Billionaire Sean Parker Funds First Gene-Editing Technology
36-year old Internet Entreprenuer Sean Parker, whose net worth is estimated to be nearly $2.5 billion, is funding the first
proposed test of CRISPR gene-editing technology in human beings, according to an article in the MIT Technology Review this week.
What caught my eye about this news is specifically the approach to innovation via problem solving, by using a charitable foundation structure that contributes funding for research, yet retains any resultant patents for future use.
MIT Technology Review referenced Parker saying in a Dateline NBC interview that aired last month: “What if we had a system where all the [intellectual property] could be shared among the scientists?”
The article explained how Mr. Parker compared the tactic of retaining rights with one of his other investments in Spotify which had convinced record labels to license their music in order for Spotify’s music-sharing service to be legal.
This made me think whether such an approach could be taken in the future across financial technology as novel methods of are used to create fintech eco-systems while retaining rights over any resulting intellectual property and/or patents.
We stay on the subject of technology and move onto Rosemary Barnes’ favourite story this week…
Should Robots Be Classified As Electronic Persons?
An article I came across this week was one which discussed a new proposal from the European Parliament calling for working
robots to be classified as “electronic persons,” and for their owners to pay social security on their behalf.
According to the article, the rise in automation and artificial intelligence has raised concerns in Europe and elsewhere over economic effects, including unemployment, inequality, and social security systems.
The proposal is seeking to address those concerns with a legal framework that would consider “that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations.”
It also calls for companies to declare the money they saved in social security by replacing human workers with robots, and for the creation of a European robotics agency to provide “technical, ethical and regulatory expertise.”
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Supporters of the motion say Europe needs a coherent framework to support and regulate robotics if it wants to keep pace with the rest of the world.
Mady Delvaux, an MP from Luxembourg and the motion’s rapporteur, said: “The US, China, Korea and Japan have very ambitious projects. If we do not create the legal framework for the development of robotics, our market will be invaded by robots from outside.”
Food for thought – I wonder where that leaves us humans?!
That concludes another week of stories that our editors are reading. We hope you found their reading suggestions useful.
We’d love to hear from you so feel free to share your views in the comment section and any recommendations of your own.
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