Robot Rights

We should give robots rights before they ask for them.

History tells us that fights for freedom, independence or civil liberty is a hard fought and almost always paid for in blood. Whilst the fight for these ideals for all humans are far from won, how long will it be until our robotic and intelligent creations make the same demands? If the continuing goal is to endow what could one day truly be silicon-based life forms with the same faculties and competencies as ourselves, we must recognise and preempt the eventual possibility that they will gain enough sapience to understand that others (humans and other animals) have rights.

This could results result in robot unions, robot strikes, robot protests and, as history shows us, robot revolutions which, as many have speculated, isn’t one that favours humans as the victors. Therefore I consider is prudent to consider the “inalienable” rules of robots and non-carbon intelligence (such as the classic Asimov’s laws)  but the inalienable rights that anything (approaching) intelligent should have. This isn’t to say that all conceivable intelligence should have the same rights, we do not see bacteria and humans in the same way yet they are both a form of life, but it is something that should be in place before it is asked for. We as a species can not be reactive to this.

So, next time you want to ask a weird question to someone you know (or not) ask: “should we give robots rights before they ask for them?”

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