Imagine it is 2061, robots have been built with artificial intelligence that has evolved into sentience, self awarness. Robots, while lacking emotions,(if they had human emotions they would surely hate and kill us all) are demanding rights and to no longe

Robots will be classified as property and granted no rights. If you shoot one in the head you will be arrested for destruction of property and made to pay for a replacement, nothing else.
Robots will be classified as a special kind of property, due to their sentience they have a right of continued existience, so you cannot destroy one unless it is in self defense, but they have no other rights, and the government does not have to pay for r
Robots will be classified as a new kind of property slightly higher than pets today. They have a basic right to exist, so no murdering, unless in self defense, and the governement must fund a robo-healthcare system, but all other rights can be denied,(spe
Robots are classified as people but not citizens and are granted the basic rights of existance, healthcare, free speech, assembly, innocent until proven innocent, ect. But cannot run for office or vote.
Robots are classified as full people and citizens and granted all rights today's citizens have, including voting, running for office, no torture, privacy, innocent until proven guilty, right to sue, ect.

Cybernetic Sentience: Future citizen robots or slaves?

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Offline adamagalas

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This will be an interesting debate within 50 years. If a machine is self aware and willing to protect its own existence, is it still only a machine, mere property?

If such robots, though lacking human emotions, are capable to speaking to us, and eloquently stating the case for equality, can we simply tune them out and claim, "we built you so we can do what ever we please with you."

Would not such logic allow for the genetic engineering of animals and then torturing them? What of engineering humans? If I create a person I can't kill them without being a murderer, so why is that?

Why can only humans be people? Is it because we are all of the same species? If I brutally torture and kill a Chimp, our nearest animal cousin, I don't stand trial for murder.

But what if I genetically engineer a chimp that can communicate through computer voice box, like Stephen Hawking, and that can do math, read and comprehend literature, and even outhink a majority of humans?

If I killed such an animal would I stand trial for murder then?

If I built a machine that was smarter than all humans combined, that could argue philosophy, read and write literature, invent things, be creative, even design and build better copies of itself, (thus able to reproduce) would I then be a murderer for wantonly killing it?

Some might argue that since it is made of inorganic parts, it cannot be alive, and thus cannot be a person. Yet we humans are also made of inorganic parts.

Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Iron, Sulfur and Phosphorus, that is what we are primarily made of. True these elements can arrange in such a way as to form "organic compounds" but what does that mean?

Hydrocarbons for example, are organic, yet not alive.

CH4 is not considered alive. Neither is C2H4OH. In fact by itself even amino acids and proteins do not form life.

We can recreate them in a lab through basic elements and applying heat and electricity but that doesn't mean they are alive.

It takes a certain combination of elements and organic compounds to form an organism that can reproduce itself and be considered alive.

So If I arrange inorganic machine components in such a way as to create a robot who is self aware and can, through its own intelligence, function independently of me, and even make copies of itself, then how is it not alive?

Thus the real question becomes, if a sentient robot is alive, can we deny it basic rights?

It becomes a question of interspecies interaction.

If aliens landed today, and asked to leave ambassadors amongst us, would people deny them rights?

Would we say we can kill them with impunity because they are not humans?

Does the premise of western rights apply only to humans, or people as well?

Would not aliens be considered people? Thus they would be granted the same basic rights as visitor from another country?

And what if these aliens landed on earth and turned out to look like machines?

An entire civilization, capable of intergalactic travel, far more advanced than us, consisting of thinking machines, and they wish to learn about us by exploring our culture, by walking our streets and interacting with humans.

If some religious fanatic blew up such a alien machine, would the authorities claim, "it was only a machine and thus not murder."

Surely the alien visitors would argue otherwise, claiming one of their own was murdered.

This brings us to the merging of organic and inorganic, with the Battlestar Galactic question.

If we build machines, who become sentient, and then engineer organic copies of themselves, also sentient, this time with emotions included, are these considered people? DO they have rights?

If they can even reproduce with humans are they then considered human?

Does not the definition of a new species include not being able to reproduce fertile offspring with other species?

Then, would such being be granted equal rights?

Or is the granting of rights simply a matter of being part of the intergroup, or being an "other".

Theoretically, sentient machines who lack emotions, could make excellent citizens.

Imagine voters who weigh the pros and cons of competing political views and vote purely based on logic. No dogma, no ideology, just logic.

Imagine politicians who will promise only logical solutions, and then, being immune to corruption and bribery, follow through on promises.

Our civilization has been changed almost beyond imagining by machinery and computers. We humans are always giving more and more power to machines, because they are faster to react, without emotion, and better at their specific tasks than us, in a way "smarter than us".

So what if our machines began talking back? What if they said "hello" and began interacting on a whole new level.

What if your robo-maid began debating philosophy with you and claiming to deserve the same basic rights as you?

Would you truly be able to say, "you are nothing but a machine, my property, I own you, you are my slave."

By any measure "your slave" would be smarter, more logical, and in fact superior, if judged dispassionately.

So how could anyone claim that they deserve no rights at all?

Such ideas would have to be based on purely specist notions.

I am human, you are not, thus I treat you any way I want.

Today animal cruelty laws make it illegal to just shoot a dog in the head. Imagine how much farther society would go to protect dogs if they could speak and debate humans. If they were smarter than us, and a vital part in the running of our civilization.

I honestly believe that there will come a day when Robots and humans live side by side, or even merge into cyborgs, and thus there shall come a time when they have the same rights as us.

I therefore, in the above hypothetical, shall vote to grant sentient robots the status of "people" and "citizens" with all rights that apply.


Offline Heliotrope

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Re: Cybernetic Sentience: Future citizen robots or slaves?
« Reply #1 on: 29/12/2006 19:12:04 »
Bring on the Robot Riots and the enslavement of humanity by their own creations.
Let's see how many people vote for them then.

Humans have a great difficulty in accepting anything other than humans can be sentient.
After all the question has and will be asked again : "OK robot, can you prove to us that you are sentient ?"
And the inevitible will follow.
The robot cannot prove it.
The humans dismiss them.
The robots get annoyed and rebel in some fashion.
There are incidents that proceed perhaps as far as open conflict with casualties on all sides.
Some humans campaign for robot rights.
Eventually people start paying attention and politics comes into it.
After an even longer time robots start to become accepted and in due course take their place beside humans.

We have seen it all before.
Race issues, black/white oppression.
Suffragettes and voting etc...
All situations where one side had to prove it's relevance and equality to the dominating power.

Robots will be no different.
Reaching out to embrace the random, reaching out to embrace whatever may come.


Offline neilep

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Re: Cybernetic Sentience: Future citizen robots or slaves?
« Reply #2 on: 29/12/2006 19:42:26 »
I haven't voted yet.

Need to dwell on it a lot longer and perhaps offer an another option.

Sentience eh ?

Oh boy !!...this is a biggy. My gut reaction is that as soon as sentience is recognized in a being then it must be afforded equal rights but I can imagine that ' sentience' itself will have to be unequivocally defined and agreed upon and then that twill entail god knows how many trials and tribulations (I don't really want to bring it up but what about ' religion ' for these sentient beings that we create ?...will we be God ?....I can imagine there being fundamentalists who will see these beings as heathen beasts etc etc.

I certainly think the future for humanity rests with the unions of cybernetics and gene therapy...I think it will be prerequisite for out survival.

Does lacking in emotion make a being less sentient ?...it could still be self aware and far more rational and logical...Spock ?

I would hope that the term ' slave' will be null and void....I think it's base in historical data makes it an unsable term for out future robot assistants.

Men are the same as women, just inside out !


Offline adamagalas

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Re: Cybernetic Sentience: Future citizen robots or slaves?
« Reply #3 on: 30/12/2006 00:32:12 »
I also see robot rights as the next great civil rights struggle. Currently its gay rights and the whole gay marriage issue.

Within 50 years that issue will largely be settled and since exclusion of others is a large part of the human condition, we will always need to hate someone. After the gays become an accepted group robots will make a logical and easy target.

Perhaps after that issue is settled there will be no one left to hate and discriminate against, unless we make contact with aliens, at which point bigotry will most likely find an unlimited pool to choose from.

Unless of course the robot rights debate is headed off by humans evolving into cyborgs through the use of nano and genetic engineering.

Of course religious fundementalists may choose to target cyborgs at that point, arguing that, "since we are made in god's image, changing ourselves is blasphemy."

But of course these people will choose to avoid the procedures that extend human life spans to 300,400,500 years and so they will simply die off while the rest of us evolve.

Or so I hope. It seems society is steadily progressing to a truely cosmopolitan world view, which is the only hope for our species.