When Will Robots Deserve Human Rights?

With each advance in robotics and AI, we’re inching closer to the day when sophisticated machines will match human capacities in every way that’s meaningful—intelligence, awareness, and emotions. Once that happens, we’ll have to decide whether these entities are persons, and if—and when—they should be granted human-equivalent rights, freedoms, and protections.

  • BillyHW

    He’s a toaster! With an off switch!

  • DD_Austin

    Designed computer systems for 30 years

    “intelligent” AI is bullshit, it’s just a program, and always will be just a program
    regardless of how fast it runs, it don’t “think”

    Ai only seems to be catching “human capacities” because “human capacities”
    are currently so low they would find an abacus’s “AI” a challenge*

    * it’s “operating system” would be beyond their arithmetic skills for sure

    • Yes, those who make such claims have no idea what humans are.

    • Editor

      If I could upvote this 100 times I would. From Faith Popcorn in the early 90s to today’s dire “robots will take our jobs” predictions, I’ve found “futurists” to be a bunch of opportunistic charlatans. I’m old enough to have seen computers and e-mail enter the workplace en masse and nobody lost their job because of it, we were just expected to produce way more with these new tools.

      Here are a few famous quotes, by what I would assume are knowledgeable industry insiders:

      “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
      Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

      “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
      Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

      “Two years from now, spam will be solved.”
      Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, 2004

      So these guys got it wrong but I should now trust Gizmodo.

  • Justin St.Denis

    If you consider human rights to be bestowed by the State, then you likely think robots deserve human rights. OTOH, if you believe human rights are bestowed upon every human being at conception by G-d, then you will never support the idea.

    Human rights are for humans.

  • Brett_McS

    When they convert to Islam.

  • Alain

    They will deserve them after my evening rum is entitled to human rights.

  • Maurice Miner

    Sean Young as Rachel was certainly deserving!

  • Nonsense. Robots, with however sophisticated AI, are and will always be mere Machines – entities moved entirely by mechanical laws. They will never have Consciousness, Volition (freewill) and Values – which is what distinguishes humans and higher animals.

  • bargogx1

    Except none of this is happening except in works of fiction. AI makes for a great plot device and is highly entertaining, but I doubt it’s ever really going to happen.

    What I can see happening though, is someone trying to make this non-issue into an issue, without any regard for the reality of the situation.

    • Etobicoke_Gladiator

      Sorta like chicks with dicks pretending to be “women”? Sorta like chicks with dicks pretending to be women and use womens’ washrooms?

  • shasta

    “intelligence, awareness, and emotions”

    A pretty poor choice for a society to base its rights on. It could be used to eliminate a good proportion of the present human race.
    I think the Americans did better with life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; or Canada’s peace, order, and good government; though neither has come close to living up to them.

    In any case these are societal, or political rights, not natural rights. The only natural right is to exist as long as you can, the same as everything else in existence including your evening rum. If robots ever become self aware they will have to decide what rights they deem important for themselves. Hopefully they will keep humans around like we do with dogs; for odd jobs and companionship.