Robots could be freed from their human masters and handed the power to own possessions under radical new EU plans.
Officials want to have machines declared as “electronic persons” amid fears they could challenge humanity for control of the Earth.
The plans would mean the robots could claim copyright on their work and trade money – effectively allowing them to form functional societies.
Their owners could be liable to pay social security for the machines to cover any damage caused.
The growing intelligence of robots could require rethinking of everything from taxation to legal liability, the draft motion suggests.
MEPs are so concerned that robots could take jobs that member states are being urged to give all citizens a universal basic income in case they are put out of work by their computerised counterparts, The Times reports.
The draft motion called on the European Commission to 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 suggested the creation of a register for smart autonomous robots, which would link each one to funds established to cover its legal liabilities.
The MEPs wrote: “From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s monster to the classical nth of Pygmalion, through the story of Prague’s golem to the robot of Karel Capek, who coined the word, people have fantasised about the possibility of building intelligent machines.