RIGHTS FOR ROBOTS: EU reveals plans for new class of AI electro-person!

BRUSSELS bureaucrats are considering transferring human rights to robots if artificial intelligence (AI) becomes so powerful that droids end up thinking for themselves.

Ahead of today’s historic “in/out” vote for Britain, it has emerged the EU wants to introduce laws specific to robots that could give them civil rights regulations of they own, and see limits on how many jobs they could replace from humans.

In scenes that could have come from the sic-fi novels of Isaac Asimov nearly 70 years ago, a recommendation of the European Parliament to the EU Commission has suggested in the future sentient AI robots could need their own rights and responsibilities, and strict laws banning them from taking over too many jobs across the Continent may become necessary.

In the 1950s Asimov predicted robots would eventually have to adhere to laws, because the potential of what could develop from a combination of sophisticated mechanism, androids with human features, and artificial intelligence (AI) was too dangerous.

But, it appears Brussels bureaucrats fear this fiction will become a reality and the report has even considered including a “new robot category next to natural and lawful people: the electronic person”.

The report suggests AI could “surpass human intelligence within a few decades”.

Some members of European Parliament fear that without the controls humans may no longer be in charge of their own fate.

If Asimov’s predictions are being followed by the EU leaders, then a blueprint already exists.

The author already outlined the “three laws of robotics” in his novel, that inspired Hollywood Blockbuster I Robot in 2004.

These were that a robot must not harm any human, he has to obey them, and cannot harm humanity.

EU politicians point towards the fact that robots could become or be made self-aware by means of artificial intelligence.

Its report says robots “would be equipped with certain rights and responsibilities and be held responsible for any damages caused”.

In future, these machines could be classed and registered as ‘intelligent robots’ and be supervised by the European agency for robotics and artificial intelligence, the report continues.

Even a mandatory insurance has been suggested by EU MPs, which would say that the manufacturer of the autonomous robot needs to arrange insurance, against any ill effects of their creations.

The insurance system could possibly be supplemented by a “higher level fund”.

The ideas of the MEPs are not restricted to robots in factory buildings of big manufacturers.

There are also varied questions, ethical and otherwise, about further electronic species, for example carer robots, medicinal robots, autonomous cars and drones, says the report.

There is also talk of limiting how many human jobs can be replaced by AI and robots amid fears it will create mass unemployment across the EU.

But discussions over restricting jobs which robots can do has angered manufacturers and not met with universal appeal.

Germany’s engineering industry has already warned of EU overzealousness, as it used a robot exhibition in Munich as a platform to clarify the views of the industry.

But the growing number of robots is something that worries EU bureaucrats.

They point to the fact that the sales of robots have increased yearly by 17 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

The applications for robot technology patents has even tripled within a decade.

Germany has, after Korea and Japan, the highest density of robots.

Last year nearly a quarter million robots were sold worldwide, a record according to the International Federation of Robotics.

There is apparently no end in sight for the growth, and worldwide, it could mean as many as 2.3 million in operation by 2018 – twice as many as there were in 2009.

The fear in Brussels is that huge numbers of manufacturing jobs currently done by humans could soon be carried out by robots, says a report by the EU Commission.

The trade group VDMA, that is connected to leading German machine engineering and robot companies like Kuka, say most of these fear still belong in the realm of sci-fi.

Instead the group emphasises the advantages of digitalisation.

These bring “immense chances for Europe’s economy”, but only if the laws won’t hinder the development prematurely, it said in a statement.

They fear space for innovation would be limited for no real reason.

Thilo Brodtmann, VDMA CEO, said: “We can’t predict yet how the people will produce and consume things in five to 10n years.

“Being this overzealous, the politicians are limiting room for innovation and endanger the development of the 4.0 industry in Europe.

“It might be the right thing to do to have these discussions within a lawful context, but it was ‘way too early to discuss details like robot registries or social security contributions’.”

According VDMA the “work colleague robot” does not destroy jobs overall.

Patrick Schwarzkopf of the Automatica in Munich said: “We can see the number of jobs rising.

“In the German car industry the number of robots has risen by 17 per cent since 2010 and the number of jobs by 13 per cent.

“Robots take over difficult and dangerous jobs. This increases productivity and makes jobs safer.”

Ulrich Walwei of the IAB of the Bundesagentur fuer Arbeit, however, disagrees.

According to him there are three to four million jobs in Germany that robots could soon do up to 70 per cent of, so the jobs are therefore under threat.

He said: “All in all the digitalisation could stay industry neutral since the responsibilities would also arise in the service industry.

“The increase in productivity through robots could also lead to lower prices.”

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Madison County woman charged with raping child, Oneida police say!

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ONEIDA, N.Y. — A Madison County woman was charged with raping a child under the age of 13, according to the Oneida City Police Department.

Carlean Cumber, 41, of Oneida, is accused of repeatedly have sexual contact with the child over the course of two years, police said.

Cumber faces the following felony charges:

  • Predatory sexual assault against a child
  • First-degree rape
  • First-degree criminal sex act
  • First-degree course of sexual conduct

Cumber was arraigned in Oneida City Court and was remanded to the Madison County Jail on $20,000 bail or $30,000 bond, police said.

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Verne Troyer, actor who played Mini-Me in ‘Austin Powers’ series dead at 49!

Verne Troyer the actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” series, and for being one of the shortest men in the world, has died at the age of 49.

“It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today,” a photo posted on Instagram Saturday read.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”

The cause and location of his death were not specified.

However, the statement included this passage: “Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another.”

“During this recent time of adversity, he was baptized while surrounded by his family,” the statement added.

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Allison Mack, Smallville Actress, charged as sex trafficking ‘MASTER!”

Allison Mack, a US actress known for the TV show Smallville, has appeared in court on charges of aiding a sex trafficking operation disguised as a mentoring group.

Keith Raniere, the leader of the so-called self-help group, was arrested by the FBI in Mexico in March.

Ms Mack is accused of helping him to recruit women who were then exploited “both sexually and for their labour”, the New York prosecuting attorney said.

She pleaded not guilty to all charges.

At a brief hearing on Friday evening in a Brooklyn federal court, the judge ordered Ms Mack, 35, to be held in custody. She will appear in court again on Monday.

‘Sex-slave’ group leader arrested by FBI

The society was supposed to empower and strengthen the women who joined it, according to prosecutors.

But they allege Mr Raniere oversaw a “slave and master” system in his group called Nxivm, where female members were expected to have sex with him and were branded with his initials.

“Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,” Richard Donoghue, US attorney for the Eastern District in New York, said in a statement.

Prosecutors allege that Nxivm has the features of a pyramid scheme, in which members pay “thousands of dollars” for courses to rise within its ranks.

“Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves… to engage in sexual activity with Raniere,” the statement from the attorney’s office claims.

“In exchange for this, Mack received financial and other benefits.”

If found guilty, both Ms Mack and Mr Raniere, who has been charged with sex trafficking and is being held without bail, face at least 15 years in prison.

Masters and slaves

Allison Mack was a mainstay of the popular Superman series Smallville, which ran from 2001 to 2011.

Within Nxivm, a smaller group called DOS – or Dominus Obsequious Sororium – was created. The quasi-Latin phrase roughly translates as Master Over the Slave Women.

The group encouraged women to recruit new slaves “who in turn owed service not only to their own masters, but also to masters above them” in the pyramid scheme, prosecutors say.

Mr Raniere, 57, is alleged to have stood at the top of that pyramid, as the only man, with Ms Mack at the top level of women, immediately below him.

Investigators say Mr Raniere had a rotating group of 15 to 20 sexual partners, who were not allowed to discuss their relationship with him or have one with anyone else.

Compliance was assured in part through the use of “collateral” which had to be provided when joining – which prosecutors said included damaging information about friends or family, nude photographs, or rights to assets.

They allege that “slaves” in the group had to eat extremely low-calorie diets because of Mr Raniere’s preference for thin women.

“Under the guise of female empowerment, [Ms Mack] starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual ideal, and she targeted vulnerable women,” prosecutor Moira Kim Penza said at Friday’s hearing.

In late March, Smallville co-star, Kristin Kreuk was forced to deny rumours she had acted as a recruiter for Mr Raniere.

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Deputies: Durant football player shot, killed after giving drug dealer fake money!

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough deputies have arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing a beloved high school football player at a Brandon gas station last Sunday.

Samuel Morrissey, 20, was arrested and charged with the murder of Grover Wills, 18.

Investigators say Morrissey killed Wills during a drug deal.

Detectives say Morrissey met with Wills at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night to sell him marijuana. The two met at the Mobil gas station located at 612 West Lumsden Road in Brandon.

Investigators say Wills tried to pay for the pot using counterfeit money wrapped real money. When Morrisey discovered the fake money,  he tried to take the drugs back from Wills. Detectives say during the fight, Morrissey shot Wills one time with a .38 caliber revolver.

Wills then ran back to his car and a friend drove him to a local hospital where he later died.

Detectives say Morrissey admitted to shooting Wills during the drug deal.

Wills played for Durant High School in Plant City and was set to graduate this year. Grief counselors helped students at the school cope with his death. 

A memorial honoring Wills was held at the school this week.

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Ex-Lover Of Upstate NY Cop Sent Nude Photos To His Wife, Police Say!

SCHENECTADY — A 31-year-old woman faces misdemeanor charges for allegedly stalking and sending sexually explicit nude photos to the cellphone of the wife of a veteran Schenectady cop when he tried to break off their affair, according to a criminal complaint.

Kimberly Duncan is charged with fourth-degree stalking and third-degree obscenity in the incident between March 4 and Monday, according to court papers. Duncan is accused of sending “nude photographs depicting her breast and vaginal area with an obscene performance” to the cellphone of the wife of Sean Clifford, 48.

He is the older brother of a police Chief Eric Clifford and a seasoned police canine officer.

Sean Clifford said in a statement to the Times Union said he is sorry for his conduct.

“This is a difficult time for my family and I am doing all I can to protect them,” he said. “I sincerely apologize to my family for the embarrassment that this has brought them.”

On Friday, the police chief referred questions to the New York State Police.

State Police spokesman Mark Cepiel was out the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

The investigation was handled by Investigator James Castiglione with the State Police barracks in Princetown.

The complaint alleges that from March 4 to April 16, Duncan “at various times and various locations, including a restaurant in Schenectady … intentionally, knowingly, and unlawfully and for no legitimate purpose engaged in a course of conduct directed at” Sean Clifford’s wife by calling her cellphone to cause fear in the woman and her family.

Duncan was arraigned Wednesday in Schenectady City Court and released pending a May 2 court appearance.

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Sen. Charles Schumer introduces measure to decriminalize marijuana!

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

The Senate’s top Democrat announced Friday that he is introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana, the first time that a leader of either party in Congress has endorsed a rollback of one of the country’s oldest drug laws.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement called the move “simply the right thing to do.”

“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” Schumer said. “My thinking — as well as the general population’s views — on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Schumer first shared his intentions Thursday in an interview with Vice News, in which he decried the negative effects of current marijuana laws, under which the drug has the same legal classification as heroin. He said that too many people caught with small amounts of marijuana had spent too much time in jail and that current laws have had a disproportionate effect on minority communities.

Marijuana legalization, which spent years as a fringe political cause, has become increasingly popular with all voters and increasingly embraced by Democrats. In January, the Pew Research Center found 61% of Americans supportive of legalization, with support reaching 70% among millennials.

Last year, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is seen by many Democrats as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize the drug nationwide; it later was endorsed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose state legalized marijuana in 2015, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who also is seen as a potential presidential contender. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who endorsed a marijuana-legalization initiative in California during his 2016 presidential campaign, endorsed Booker’s bill Thursday morning.

Schumer is introducing separate legislation on Friday — a date that is an unofficial holiday for marijuana users. His bill would not legalize marijuana outright, but instead allow states to decide whether to make the drug available commercially. It would end the limbo that marijuana sellers find themselves in, months after Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that prevented federal law enforcement officials from interfering with the marijuana business in states where it had legal status.

“The bill lets the states decide and be the laboratories that they ought to be,” Schumer said. “It also will ensure that minority- and woman-owned businesses have a dedicated funding stream to help them compete against bigger companies in the marijuana business. Critically, we ensure that advertising can’t be aimed at kids, and put real funds behind research into the health effects of THC,” referring to the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana.

The legislation also would maintain federal authority to regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does alcohol and tobacco advertising. The aim, Schumer said, is to ensure that marijuana businesses aren’t allowed to target children in their advertisements.

Schumer’s move was quickly celebrated by legalization supporters, who began the week by thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for fast-tracking a bill that would legalize industrial hemp.

“In the past week or so, we’ve seen an unprecedented escalation of political support for marijuana law reform,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “It seems as if both parties may have finally realized just how popular marijuana legalization is with voters and are afraid of the other party stealing the issue.”

Democrats see the Schumer bill as part of an ongoing effort to attract young voters, who tend not to participate in midterm elections. Schumer also has gotten behind a campaign to restore “net neutrality,” regulation that would prevent internet service providers from skewing the prices or download speeds for certain kinds of data.

“The time for decriminalization has come, and I hope we can move the ball forward on this,” Schumer said.

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