Should Intelligent Robots Get The Same Rights As Humans?
This question is not at all far fetched, in fact technology experts have been arguing that intelligent robots should be given the same “rights” as living people for years and it’s even on Wikipedia. They are calling it “Robot Rights.”
Despite a sluggish economy worldwide, technology is evolving at a frantic speed: from BMW’s intelligent car “GINA” which can contour its outer shape into anything you want, to the contact lenses that are being developed at the University of Washington which will allow you to surf the web wirelessly right on your eyeballs. The money is there to continue moving on to a future filled with artificial intelligence.
A couple of years ago, in a documentary called “NextWorld: Future Intelligence” experts from the multi-million dollar company Cisco Systems, stated that industrialized nations like the U.S. in 1o to 20 years will be surrounded by computers and artificial intelligence. Humanoid robots will be in full force either by 2020 or 2029, some experts suggest.
One of those Cisco’s talking heads was Guido Jouret, the company’s chief officer of emerging technologies. Mr. Jouret stated that if robotic beings can develop intelligence on their own, then they should get rights. Here is a direct quote from the documentary:
“A key question we should ask ourselves is — is it intelligent? Is it capable of learning? And if the answer is yes then we should extend the same privileges and rights to those non-carbon based forms of intelligence that we extend to other fellow human beings.”
There are of course people that are very excited about a future where robots can help humans in every facet of life. Robots already perform dangerous jobs such as in the case of the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclean Plant in Japan where robots were sent in instead of people to bring the radiation-contaminated plant under control after it was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami there last March. Any human who would have ventured into the contaminated plant would have died within minutes.
Scientist are already working on ways to get robots and computers to think for themselves and acquire knowledge of their own. But should these intelligent robots be really granted rights as humans do? It sounds like a question you would ask after watching the 2001 movie “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” but the reality is that those days do loom ahead, in a sooner than you think future.
Many companies and corporations are really looking into the next generation of computers, gadgets, and robots that would “make our lives better.” But are they getting ahead of themselves by already imagining that robots should be treated equally as humans? One may guess so since corporations already are treated like people so what’s next?
Currently members of own our society, real people, don’t even get the right to get married, so how can robots already be in line for getting rights as well? Will gay robots at least have the right to get married? And let’s not forget that corporations that will develop such technology will without a doubt, lobby our government for equal treatment.
The paranoia that robots with artificial intelligence will take over our civilization has already some scientists looking for ways to protect humans. Take for example Professor Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading in England. Mr. Warwick is trying to find ways to make us into cyborgs — yes, cyborgs. In the NextWorld documentary, he said that as far as having a world dominated by machines: “the train already left the station” — meaning it’s going to happen.
Seems like the only way to survive the future will be for people to become cyborgs and fight the machines (sounds like the plot from the “Terminator” movies). But, unfortunately it’s a possible reality one must ponder upon. The race to make everything be controlled by computers so that we can have “more free time” is taking place. It’s not fiction and it may not end up been what we want in the end.
So, if you thought that computer companies like Cisco Systems were just concentrating on switches, computer servers, and storage solutions, well you were wrong. It and many others are on their way to creating a better world for us because, you know, they know better.
Photo Credit: Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology