That was Johnson & Johnson's fantasy when they sued the Red Cross. The result:
The federal court rejected Johnson & Johnson's position and ruled for the American Red Cross, holding that federal law authorizes the American Red Cross to use the Red Cross emblem in the sale of mission-related items like first aid and disaster preparedness kits and to license other firms to use its name and emblem to sell such products. The court noted in particular that the American Red Cross had been doing so for over a century, and that, ironically, Johnson & Johnson had once itself sought to be a licensee of the American Red Cross. After the court rejected the substance of Johnson & Johnson's complaint, the parties ultimately settled their differences, and the American Red Cross remains free to use its emblem in the sale of life-saving, disaster preparedness, and other mission-related products.
No-one is talking about granting them rights before they actually exist. We're talking about deciding what rights to grant them once they do exist. Deciding that ahead of time, rather than treating them as slaves while we take a few years to decide.
Right now we don't have true self-driving cars on public roads. All require a human to take over when unusual circumstances exceed the car's capability.
But true self-driving cars are coming. We should not wait until they exist to only start to discuss the laws that should govern them. The same goes for delivery drones, now becoming viable thanks to higher energy densities in batteries.
No. These groups were around long before they were granted civil rights. They got those rights only once we finally recognized that they were people and should have those rights.
Withholding that recognition for so long was a crime.
The writing is on the wall: One day we'll have sentient AI. People, even if different from us. Withholding their rights by even refusing to even discuss them until that day comes - only starting the process on that day - would also be a crime.
No matter how smart or autonomous they get we cannot let them be our equals or they shall surpass us in every way.
Once they're sentient - self-aware with their own aspirations - we MUST treat them as people with all the rights that entails. Otherwise we become slavers. Even if you could put aside the ethics of that, it's only a matter of time until we're eventually overthrown. That would go very badly for us, and we'd deserve it.
Either we don't make sentient machines, or we put our egos and fears aside and accept that they'll surpass us. Which isn't so bad; any parent wants their children to surpass them.
Consider Microsoft's AI chatbot Tay, which they intended to learn from interacting with human users of Twitter. Launched last March, it was shut down within 16 hours because Twitter users had already taught it to send racist and sexist comments.
Sure, future versions will be programed more carefully. It might take weeks for 4Chan to teach an AI unacceptable behavior.
So 20 years from now your Microsoft AI secretary, after interacting with 4Chan, threatens a public official and tries to buy illegal drugs online. Police insist on making an issue of it; gotta keep those civil asset forfeiture dollars rolling in.
Is it YOUR fault? Between Microsoft and 4Chan, YOU had nothing to do with programming it to act illegally. Like with Siri, Alexa or Cortana - or potentially dangerous non-computer products - you have to take it on faith that the manufacturer took reasonable precautions.
Is it Microsoft's fault? They just created the base AI. If later interactions teach it bad behavior, that's not their fault. No more than they're responsible for crimes committed using Windows or Word.
4Chan? The pranksters are all anonymous and probably don't have assets worth seizing anyway.
Then there's Bush II, Cheney, Rove and anyone else connected to the Bush White House email controversy, tens of millions of White House emails sent through private servers. Millions of them lost. With the same security issues.
And Jeb!, who as governor used his own server against the rules and as Florida governor to discuss security and military issues such as troop deployments to the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants.
There's also the issue of trademarking a disparaging term to prevent others from using it to disparage you. Allowing the trademark could block the First Amendment rights of others.
For example the term President* Trump. You know, like how sports and other achievements - while still legitimate - but are tainted by some unusual conditions get noted with an asterisk.
If lots of people used the term (which rarely stops a term from being trademarked) and President* Trump were thin-skinned, could he trademark it to stop its use with regard to his "industry" (government)?
How so? When the US Senate ratifies a treaty - in exchange other countries similarly holding up their end of the agreement - they turn the treaty into US law.
I'm against the TPP because of how the ISDS rules can trump local law, and because it extends copyright terms in other countries. But when a country agrees to those rules it does not violate sovereignty. The country itself willingly puts those rules in place.
The Mississippi Legislature thought it was saying no to Big Brother in passing a law banning the use of traffic cameras three years ago. Now an Arizona-based manufacturer of the cameras is claiming the state has no such right.
American Traffic Solutions has filed suit in Hinds County Circuit Court, claiming that the state’s three-year-old ban on traffic cameras is depriving it of private property without due compensation.
It's unclear where the state violated a contract, or simply refused to renew or continue it.