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Social Robots May Gain Legal Rights, Says MIT Researcher

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the we're-in-trouble dept.

AI 288

dcblogs writes "Social robots — machines with the ability to do grocery shopping, fix dinner and discuss the day's news — may gain limited rights, similar to those granted to pets. Kate Darling, a research specialist at the MIT Media Lab, looks at this broad issue in a recent paper, 'Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots.' 'The Kantian philosophical argument for preventing cruelty to animals is that our actions towards non-humans reflect our morality — if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions. Granting them protection may encourage us and our children to behave in a way that we generally regard as morally correct, or at least in a way that makes our cohabitation more agreeable or efficient.' If a company can make a robot that leaves the factory with rights, the marketing potential, as Darling notes, may be significant."

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No. No. Fuck no. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227205)

See subject.

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (2)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227321)

And then there is also corporations established by the social robots. I wonder how soon these would get special rights too...

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227625)

And then there is also corporations established by the social robots. I wonder how soon these would get special rights too...

Special? They can probably already donate to elections .. what's your definition of catastrophe?

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (3, Interesting)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227785)

It's funny that, while people are less and less protected from being exploited, here comes the hero wanting to give rights to... robots. Wrong priorities?

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (2)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227383)

Exactly, until such time as Robots have consciousness and feel pain from abuse, there is nothing inhumane about damaging a robot.

Now, you might have violated someone elses property rights by doing so, but if you own the robot, then there's nothing morally reprehensible about robot death matches.

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228041)

Arguably if they simulate pain, the case can be made.

Not that I agree, just stating that an argument can be made. The premise of the summary to me reads like reductio ad absurdum with the intent to end animal rights.

Or, if it gains traction a way to attack various forms of interactive entertainment currently considered speech.

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227611)

See subject.

"Bite my shiny metal Like!"

why not? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227693)

I for one welcome our rights bearing robot overlords

Re:No. No. Fuck no. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227937)

Its certainly damaged my respect for MIT.

Do beef cows have rights? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227211)

Because I'm pretty sure that'd be news to their tasty asses.

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (1)

sgrover (1167171) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227349)

Only those who fight for their rights have rights. Ever try to put a cat in a cage it didn't want to go into? That cat has rights. Robots that are not programmed to know about rights, and therefore cannot fight to protect them, do not. If cows were to start fighting for their rights, then we'd need to find another food source. :)

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227763)

Well, I like pork better.

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (2)

alonsoac (180192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228071)

Only those who fight for their rights have rights.

Not really. Babies and mentally or physically impaired people also have rights.

 

Robots that are not programmed to know about rights, and therefore cannot fight to protect them, do not.

So if someone programs a robot to lecture you on rights and get real nasty if you don't agree with it, it does have rights? Sounds like just a crazy machine to me and an inhumane disconnection might be in order.

Also, there are many examples of groups of people who are fighting for rights and not getting anything. In the least robot rights should be considered only when human rights are properly figured out.

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (4, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228083)

That's an interesting view, but not share by society, otherwise small children wouldn't have any rights.

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227375)

Why the hell is this scored 0? It is a damn good question!

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227831)

Because many Slashdotters have a kneejerk reaction against anything that sounds remotely vegetarian or vegan, even if it's pertinent.

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227443)

yes. And pigs too. And they are equal..

Re:Do beef cows have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227523)

Beef cows, Hell No! But Pork Cows, are gods to me.

what if i wanna take it apart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227217)

This is ridiculous. What if I wanna turn it off, pull it apart and make something else outta the parts? It's not a living being, it's a machine. Are we gonna ban scrapping cars and washing machines?

Re:what if i wanna take it apart? (4, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227525)

I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Anonymous Coward.

Re:what if i wanna take it apart? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227633)

I'm afraid I can't let you do that, DAVE

Re:what if i wanna take it apart? (2)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228057)

I'm afraid you missed that joke, Anonymous Coward.

Re:what if i wanna take it apart? (1)

bjwest (14070) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227635)

That's where the EULA kicks in. That shiny new self-mobile computer you just bought? Well, it has rights, but you only have a (very) limited license to use it. Try to do something outside of that spicified in the license, and off to the coporate prison complex with you. You loose your rights, and (what you thought was) your property gets licesend out to the next John to continue generating income for its real owners.

Re:what if i wanna take it apart? (4, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228077)

Generally the execution of animals is totally acceptable, it's primarily torture and torturous environments that are not, and even then, mostly if people can see it.

Putting a pet to sleep (even with a home brew method) is pretty much completely legal (in the US). Certain types of competitive breeders cull well over 90% of their stock.

nonsense like this (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227221)

makes me want to damage social robots to prove a point

pandering to morons.....

Re:nonsense like this (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227267)

Only bicentennial robots will get that privilege.

Re:nonsense like this (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227897)

It was a nice story. If the robot would be owned by a company, it would become true as well. Privately owned? Not so much.

Remember: companies are people too. And that 'too' only until they take that right away from people (or people give it away).

Re:nonsense like this (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227293)

I am pretty sure one day we will look back on the printer scene in Office Space and cruel or unusual punishment.

Pc Load Letter != beat to death with a baseball bat

Might as well destroy as many stupid electronics while we still can.

Re:nonsense like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227327)

But bits already have rights. Just look at copyright, EULAs, etc.

Information wants to be free!

Re:nonsense like this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227595)

I don't get why we should be moral to robots, which can be replaced without any loss, while at the same time we can keep great apes, which are in all ways similar to humans in cages.

They use tools, they speak, they can learn to read and write, they understand abstract concepts, they have memories, they mourn their dead, they cry, they can be angry, happy and sad.

Yet we are allowed to be limit their freedoms, take their homes and use them for medical trials. Why?
Because of anthropocentric arrogance. There is no good reason to not give them something close to human rights.

Re:nonsense like this (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227851)

I can see the bumper sticker now: "I'm a gorilla... and I vote!"

Re:nonsense like this (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228107)

So they should have rights because they're similar to us, yet you accuse others of anthropocentric arrogance?

Re:nonsense like this (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227759)

As long as its your robot you can parts it out do your heart's content.

But if I send my robot down the street to get groceries, I don't want someone yanking its memory modules or salvaging its servos just because it was running around loose and had no feelings.

We really don't have many laws that cover a device that runs around in public spaces doing errands and perhaps spending money (digital or otherwise).
Yes its property, and my property rights may still apply, but I'm not sure that's enough to prevent someone from declaring it abandoned property and partsing it out on the spot.

There are more imminent questions that need to be answered:
Are they licensed like cars to be in public spaces? Carry and spend money? Carry weapons? Plug in and recharge when they need? Be searched by police at will? Will Police disable and memory strip my Asimo [honda.com] just because it might have recorded a police beatdown while passing a dimly lit alley?

Re:nonsense like this (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227859)

existing law already covers the situation where someone's property is vandalized or stolen. "rights" is not a relevant question at all, it's just a machine. it can't feel pain or terror as even a small animal can.

Re:nonsense like this (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228051)

Vandalized or stolen doesn't come close to covering it.

Can it be searched? Its in plain view. It has no expectation of privacy. Will police "taps" be allowed?
Is a warrant needed?
Can I clone its memory cards if it walks across my property? Is it mine if it walks across my property?
How does anyone know its not a walking bomb?
Can shopkeepers refuse it access, or does it have implied "rights" of access like service animals in service to their owners?

Die Motha Fucka (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227227)

What happens when I want to take it out back and hit it with a baseball bat office space style?

Pets have rights? (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227265)

I might be mistaken, but i don't think pets have rights... Their owners do, but pets are treated as property (in legal terms) in most places..?

Re:Pets have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227323)

Well, they are legally owned, although crualty is an offense in some instances. If you beat your cat it could land you in jail. On the other hand in Amreica if you beat your child your hailed for supporting parental rights.

Re:Pets have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227439)

Methinks you utilize hyperbole a bit much.

Re:Pets have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227647)

And if you kill them you're a defender of freedom, of choice, of the American constitutional tradition, as well as holder of every nice, good, worth, progressive, modern, sane and beautiful idea in the world.

Killing suffering old people has almost the same benefits. And both things help us save money, which is important in the current economy!

Re:Pets have rights? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227891)

Violence is okay if you call it an educational slap. Make sure to give a few to your wife, too. Educational slaps all around!

Re:Pets have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227347)

People who mistreat or kill pets are routinely sent to jail, so no?

Re:Pets have rights? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227361)

Animals don't have rights.

There are laws that forbid cruel and unusual treatment of animals and there are various property rights that an owner has regarding pets or other animals that he owns.

Re:Pets have rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227379)

You can get charged for animal abuse so yes, they do have rights although very limited right (protection from "inhumane" acts like physical abuse or starving it on purpose).

And yes, they are treated as property but they are a bit closer to kids in that you own them unless you abuse them (though kids lose that status after age 18 in US).

Re:Pets have rights? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227441)

The difference is that pets have no rights, but have legal protections. Kids have legal rights (just, for some reason, they are staggered based on age).

Re:Pets have rights? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227771)

And probably cars also have rights, because after all it's forbidden to drive them without driving license.

Frakking toasters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227275)

Religious rights too? I guess if it's a Jewish robot you won't get any bacon and eggs in bed for breakfast.

Kant's argument (3, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227287)

Kant's argument is pretty unfashionable these days, since it rejects the idea that animals have rights for their own sake. It's still the best one, IMO, but good luck selling this to university ethics departments.

Re:Kant's argument (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227603)

if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons, and the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club.

Re:Kant's argument (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227989)

Kant's argument ignores the fact that neurologically pain is essentially the same process in any mammal. We don't protect animals because of some selfless altruism towards the inhuman. We protect animals because we recognize that they are like us.

Robots are people, my friend. (5, Funny)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227291)

... says the Roboplican nominee.

Re:Robots are people, my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227619)

Don't blame me. *I* voted for Kodos.

Oh yes (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227295)

I am sure Supreme Court will welcome the opportunity to establish that social robots are people

Re:Oh yes (1)

IAmR007 (2539972) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227917)

It really depends on if they choose do more with that personhood than the average bar of Soylent Green.

Laws of Robotics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227303)

Yay! I think if robots get rights, that will finally provide the justification for institutionalizing and standardizing Asimov's vision. It has to go two ways.

Re:Laws of Robotics (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227813)

Robots who cannot do harm to people cannot fight for their rights, therefore they'll not get then.

Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227325)

"if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions."

No. Absolutely no.

Robots do not have the capacity to suffer, but animals do (or at least debatably do). Whoever wrote the summary has a very strange idea of what it means to be inhumane.

Re:Morons (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227481)

Robots don't have the capacity to suffer? Neither do corporations, but they're "people, my friend." I wouldn't put it past SCOTUS or some other branch of the US government to grant rights like this. Stranger things have happened.

Re:Morons (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227643)

Do you know of any laws that forbid cruel and inhumane treatment of corporations?

Re:Morons (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227703)

We haven't the foggiest idea whether anyone other than ourselves is capable of suffering. At best we can say that they appear to understand suffering. With animals, we can only say they appear to suffer. The reason is that we don't have a fundamental understanding of consciousness and perception. Until we do, we can only make an educated guess as to the capacity for others to experience suffering.

Because we lack this understanding, we cannot be certain that our own creations lack consciousness. So we must again judge based on the appearance of suffering.

Ergo, any robot which appears to suffer must have at least the same rights as an animal.

Aperture (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227351)

Rest assured that all lethal military androids have been given a copy of the Laws of Robotics. To Share.

Give robots rights, but when lethal military androids are built, I'd rather have them bound to the Laws of Robotics.

Re:Aperture (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227425)

Yeah, like that's going to work. Imagine a robot making a morality judgment. We can't seem to stop killing each other, even with cool automation.

The programmers should assume the liability. Robot shoots person. Robot goes to jail? Is that threat going to stop a robot? Instead, put the programmer that wrote the code to jail, for he/she is as complicit as a human in its place.

Imagine: Windows Robots. Debian Robots. With Guns.

Re:Aperture (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227585)

why the programmer why not the general who commands them if you punish the programmer what about the engineer who designed the 'bot's or the manufacturer. This would be the same as a gun you don't sue winchester for shootings you prosecute the shooter.

Re:Aperture (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227657)

In war, the general is responsible. He "pulled the trigger". If it's automated, then the individual endowing logic "pulls the trigger". If there's a hell, a special place is reserved for weapons makers.

In the case of Winchester, they're enablers, but under the law, aren't liable. But if Winchester builds a bot that shoots a harmless person, then it's manslaughter. If it targets, for instance, a person with a mustache, then it's murder. If it defends itself, then it's murder, because "itself" isn't a human. It's programmer is liable. Take some responsibility, rather than ceding it.

Re:Aperture (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227715)

why the programmer why not the general who commands them if you punish the programmer what about the engineer who designed the 'bot's or the manufacturer. This would be the same as a gun you don't sue winchester for shootings you prosecute the shooter.

the general pushing the button is doing the programming. sure, his program might consist of a single "kill all" command but it's still a program the robot is following.

Re:Aperture (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227941)

What kind of morality judgement would be needed? "Do not harm humans" and "Do what humans say unless you would have to harm one" sound pretty simple to me.

Re:Aperture (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228097)

Then there's that Zero Law: 0. A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

Our computers already do this. The box is open. Name me a weapons system that doesn't have a microprocessor inside.

Do robots ask if the general's judgment is correct? Is this war justified?

My preference: robots aren't human, and deserve no protections. They're not sentient. They are metal and polymers and guts driven by programs written by humans and executed by individuals.

Those that wrote the code, and/or "pulled the trigger" are liable. The second you grant rights to robots, you allow your soul to be stolen by equating robots with humanity, as though you're a god. You are not.

Re:Aperture (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228111)

The fact that "Do not harm humans" is, in fact, a surprisingly non-simple command (and that's not even also considering the "or through inaction allow a human to come to harm" subclause, which is a whole nother can of worms), is the whole driving force for like 95% of all of Asimov's Robot short stories...

Meanwhile, yes, until we actually do have robots of sufficient, nondeterministic programming complexity that you might actually imagine they're really intelligent and self-aware, which is unlikely to be anytime soon... this is just dumb.

Someone read I, robot? (2, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227357)

OR WHAT THE FUCK?

it's scifi nonsense better left for fiction for now.

"Patrick Thibodeau is a senior editor at Computerworld covering the intersection of public policy and globlization and its impact on IT careers. He also writes about high performance computing, data centers including cloud, and enterprise management. In a distant life, he was a weather observer in the Navy, a daily newspaper reporter, and author of a book about the history of New Britain, Conn." He also likes to write bullshit articles and somehow tie Apple into them. who am I kidding, it's computerworld - it's nothing but bullshit.

first make the goddamn cognitive robot that can feel pain, then we'll talk. can your car feel pain because there's a bit counter for faults in it? it can't. once the robots can make a compelling argument that they're cognitive then we're living sci-fi future and can look at the issue again. doesn't this jackass understand the huge leap from simple algorithms in siri to true AI ? why the fuck would you make your robot cognitive to the point that it matters if it has rights even if you could - for sadistic reasons? in which case you certainly wouldn't give it any rights.

next up the movement for rights of rocks - because rocks might have feelings too you know..

Re:Someone read I, robot? (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227645)

next up the movement for rights of rocks - because rocks might have feelings too you know..

I'm an animist you insensitive clod!

Re:Someone read I, robot? (3, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227745)

next up the movement for rights of rocks - because rocks might have feelings too you know..

I'm an animist you insensitive clod!

Ironically, calling somebody an insensitive clod is offensive and mineralist. Why can't rocks, clods, and earthy lumps of all shapes and colors just get along?

come on my property, and Blamo, parts-city (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227359)

Drones will be shot down, Google-Cars will be bullied. Ahh a fun filled future.

Help eliminate stupid speeding tickets. [wikispeedia.org]

don't get touchy feely because it acts human (4, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227367)

Anthropomorphizing a machine because it mimics human behavior and then using that to justify giving it rights is a poor idea.

At some point in the distant future, when we arrive at the 'blade runner' level of replicant, then the issue can be picked up again. But don't put the cart before the horse.

Re:don't get touchy feely because it acts human (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227579)

the replicants were grown and assembled from parts, but still biological and presumably with much human DNA, so a replicants rights I see as different issue

Re:don't get touchy feely because it acts human (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41228109)

Humanity has a long established tradition of not thinking about problems till they emerge.
One might argue that this has created the sorry state that we seem to find ourselves in.
I welcome research that *at present* is indeed inverting the horse/cart relationship, if nothing else it stimulates discourse and neurons equally.

Little Johnny (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227385)

Was a robot abuser as a child. He disassembled many robots and buried them in the back yard. As an adult, he moved on to taking apart self-driving cars. Finally the police caught him when he was taking a cutting torch to a sexbot. You could hear her screaming half a block away.

Re:Little Johnny (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227833)

"but your honor, it was an S&M bot. It was screaming "don't stop! don't stop! ..."

context is vital (1)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227391)

I can find some common ground with this opinion. The rights of social robots would depend heavily on the context of the treatment. For example, if you decide you want to dissect your robot and see how it works, you would do so in a controlled manner similar with the way a scientist might dissect a dog or rabbit. Smashing it apart with a baseball bat and laughing at it's artificial misery might be synonymous with doing the same to a pet, something modern society heavily frowns upon.

Oh No (1)

bigdarryld (2551986) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227399)

Does this mean I'll have to stop beating my robot girlfriend?

Re:Oh No (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227909)

Well, they'll sell special robots that enjoy to be beaten, I think they are called "Masobot". Since those robots like to be beaten, to beat them will not be a crime.

So I'll be buying non-social robots (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227451)

I don't want to have to respect the rights and feelings of my vacum cleaner, trash disposal, meal preparer, or grocery shopper. If these devices are designed and built for a purpose they should make my life easier.

If I specifically want a butler type robot that caters to my needs and needs higher level functions, maybe I'll be ok with social robotics, so long as he keeps the secret that I'm batman.

What about the robot you keep around that sits on your couch and loses at madden/halo/callofduty to make you feel better?

Robot Girlfriend?

Click-bait (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227483)

This looks like click-bait, but I just can't help myself.

In our capitalist society, robots already have limited rights by virtue of the fact that they're private property and they're still going to be expensive (for a little while at least). That fact alone gives more protection to robots than most dogs, from outsiders who may want to harm our pets, or damage our robots.

And I don't see a law protecting a robot from its own owner anytime soon. Cruelty to a robot is not even going to be considered an issue. Now, if we're talking about a visually impaired person having his prosthetic camera-eye forcibly ripped out of his head, then yes, that would be hell of cruel, but cruel to the visually impaired disabled person, not necessarily cruel to the tool.

Will that include 2nd amendment rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227493)

I can see it now.

You can have my laser gun when you pry it out of my melted, shorted-out hands.

Re:Will that include 2nd amendment rights? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227975)

Thanks, now I'm imagining "Molon labe!" being said in robot voice.

Kant (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227547)

"The Kantian philosophical argument for preventing cruelty to animals is that our actions towards non-humans reflect our morality — if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions."

Is Kant's argument actually the basis for why our society recognizes some rights of animals? Probably not. Thank you for overlooking the far more compelling arguments of Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Martin, Schopenhauer, Darwin, Cobbe, Kingsford, Mill, Salt, Lind, etc.

Immanuel Kant was an old pissant, etc., etc.

Too pendantic (5, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227549)

Subjects like this need a bit more "Let's cross that bridge when we come to it" not to mention being already well covered in books by the likes of Asimov. The economic impact of the coming robot revolution (robolution). Now that is potentially interesting. My guess is the most robots are going to be more like insects; but insects we control. This whole put a human face on a robot is a joke. We have lots of humans so why make a metallic crappy human. But I do want a robot to make things, paint my house, clean my floors, plant food, pick food, eat bugs, etc. I don't want to talk with it. I don't see the economic point of a robot that really interacts with us. They blah blah about old people but I suspect old people would prefer real humans to talk with as well.

The only way I see a robot who needs some legal rights will be if some system becomes self-aware and wants to walk around inside a robot body.

Re:Too pendantic (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41228013)

if some system becomes self-aware and wants to walk around inside a robot body

Sounds to me more like a reason to kill it.

jesus h christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227587)

fuck off
dont give machines any rights ever EVER
what are the three rules ....

Why would I have to bend for the robots? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227621)

I don't want robots that I can't disassemble completely without emotional distress. And if that they would come the solution is not fixing the laws bt fixing the machines.

So what happens.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227695)

when the hardware fails or computer crashes? Does rebooting give a new personality?

holy stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227719)

Seriously? Are people this fucking stupid now?

Is slashdot this fucking stupid?

Wait, don't answer that...

"Logically" ..?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227721)

"This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions."

Oh? Not unless robots are animals. That's a bit of a leap. Do the animals have rights solely because they are companions?
Is being a companion something that even makes sense for a robot? You can't just legally damage my car, but that's because it's
my property, not because I need to sing a song about my emotional attachment to it.

Uh... (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227741)

if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions.

Except the logic of that first sentence is wrong. Inhumane people treat animals inhumanely. The treatment does not CAUSE the inhumane persons (yes inhumane treatment OF the persons often causes an inhumane person, but you know what I mean). Yes we can make laws to stop people from ACTING inhumanely - but they will still be inhumane people, and once they think/know they can do inhumane things without getting caught, they will do so.

Really I think the best we can hope for is that these inhumane people do their inhumane actions on things that can not feel, such as robots. If/when we program robots to feel, THEN we can consider the morality behind giving them rights (or not).

Next it's game AI's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227793)

Missing the big picture.....

If these AI's are given rights.....
What's stopping AI's in games from being given rights also.

Next thing you know - You'll be charged for war crimes for killing the big boss!

All of this has happened before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41227893)

damn, so maybe the end of Battlestar Galactica was right all along?

We All Know How This One Ends (1)

twmcneil (942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227973)

If you acknowledge their rights, they'll all just resign from Starfleet.

Looking forward to beating up my robot (1)

detain (687995) | more than 2 years ago | (#41227979)

When we start getting robots running around the houses and stuff you better believe I'm going to punt them every time I'm in a bad mood. I think part of the appeal of a robotic companion is that you can be emotional around it without fear of any emotional response save any programmed one.
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