The rise of robots and artificial intelligence could lead to human quotas and "made by humans" product label under law rethink needed for new world of work

Lynsey Barber
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CeBIT 2017 Technology Trade Fair
Laws must keep up with the increasing use of robots and AI (Source: Getty)

We already look for signs such as Fairtrade and organic on the things we buy, but could we soon be seeking out goods that are marked as created by humans, rather than robots?

The rise of robots in the workforce will lead to drastic changes to laws, a new report suggests, and that could force the government to take action such as introducing "made by humans" labels.

Read more: Up to 30 per cent of UK jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots

And forget gender quotas, artificial intelligence (AI) could also result in the creation of human quotas to ensure access to work and stop unemployment from rising.

"Jobs at all levels in society presently undertaken by humans are at risk of being reassigned to robots or AI, and the legislation once in place to protect the rights of human workers may be no longer fit for purpose, in some cases," said Gerlind Wisskirchen, vice chair for multinationals at the International Bar Association Global Employment Institute (IBA GEI) and author of a fresh report on the impact of robots on work.

"The AI phenomenon is on an exponential curve, while legislation is doing its best on an incremental basis. New labour and employment legislation is urgently needed to keep pace with increased automation."

Read more: Replace 250,000 public sector jobs with robots, urges think tank

A tax for using a machine could also be considered, as could a social security fund which industries pay into. The report warns that lawmakers must consider such options to ensure the social and economic impact of the rise of AI is managed successfully.

"Greater governmental collaboration across borders may be necessary if commerce is to thrive. States as lawmakers will have to be bold in decision, determining what jobs should be performed exclusively by humans, for example: caring for babies; perhaps introducing human quotas in different sectors; taxing companies where machines are used; and maybe introducing a 'made by humans' label for consumer choice," said the group's co-chair Pascale Lagesse.

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