Do Robots Need Rights?

from the ethical-dilemmas dept

Well, here’s the next ethical dilemma to ponder on for a while. Found over at Gizmodo is the article by Glenn Reynolds wondering about whether or not robots should have rights. The analysis is quite interesting. First, it looks at Asimov’s famous three laws of robotics, and wonders if this just turns robots into slaves. He then looks at the issue of “animal rights” to see if it applies to robots as well – pointing out that the reason behind most animal rights activists is protecting anything that has the “ability to suffer”. Thus, his question is whether or not robots will have the ability to suffer – and if they do, it will only be because we’ve programmed them to have that ability. Of course, this begins to get muddied in a world where artificial intelligence becomes stronger. What happens if a robot learns to suffer? As Reynolds points out, there a wide variety of opinions on the topic, but it’s good to see that it’s being discussed before it becomes an issue, rather than waiting until later.

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