Who'll Pay For C3PO's Social Security Benefits?
from the what-are-you-doing-dave dept
Despite the fact we can't create a robot that can navigate stairs without doing a face plant, there's apparently concern in some circles that robots may someday want the same rights afforded humans. A "speculative paper" released by the British government predicts that should robots eventually learn to reproduce, improve or think for themselves -- it's inevitable that they'll sue for equal rights. Once obtained, the robots would then drain government coffers, as "states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them including income support, housing and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time," according to the report. Of course the very nature of a more efficient economy where robots comprise a significant portion of the labor force should hopefully mean an increase in the distribution of wealth, potentially offsetting the impact of having to pay the social security costs incurred by a legion of hard-working R2D2s. The paper admits we won't be worrying about any of this for at least another twenty years, assuming robots can first hurdle the monumental task of self-sustained bipedal movement sans fatality. Judging from existing robots, we've got a long way to go before sentient reproducing robots become societal burdens: the Japanese government this week honored its most innovative robot designs, which included a $3,454 robotic spoon, and a sensor wielding toy seal.