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Robots Could Some Day Demand Legal Rights 473

Posted by Zonk
from the good-news-everyone dept.
Karrde712 writes "According to a study by the British government, as reported by the BBC, robots may some day improve to a level of intelligence where they might be able to demand rights, even 'robo-healthcare'." From the article: "The research was commissioned by the UK Office of Science and Innovation's Horizon Scanning Centre. The 246 summary papers, called the Sigma and Delta scans, were complied by futures researchers, Outsights-Ipsos Mori partnership and the US-based Institute for the Future (IFTF) ... The paper which addresses Robo-rights, titled Utopian dream or rise of the machines? examines the developments in artificial intelligence and how this may impact on law and politics." I'd better get started on my RoboAmerican studies degree.
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Robots Could Some Day Demand Legal Rights

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  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:54PM (#17327604) Homepage Journal

    I'm not so much worried about robots' legal rights in the future as I am my own legal rights. At the rate we're going, there won't be any "legal rights" left, and the point will be moot.

    Still, I hope robots do have legal rights. That way, when I get old and feeble and have my consciousness transferred into my new robotic body, I'll still have 'em.

    If they have the awareness to ask for legal rights, why shouldn't they have them? Have we learned nothing from Star Trek: The Next Generation?

    • Ah, but (Score:3, Funny)

      by XanC (644172)
      Have you learned nothing from the original series, especially "What Are Little Girls Made Of"? Transferring your consciousness into a robot body robs you of your humanity!
      • by fernandoh26 (963204) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:14PM (#17327874) Homepage
        Transferring your consciousness into a robot body robs you of your humanity!
        Well bite my shiny metal ass!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Clever7Devil (985356)
        This sparked the real question in my mind.

        Where would we draw the line if this happens?

        As far as human rights are concerned, we have a well developed demarcation. If you were born of Homo Sapiens parents, you are human with the rights afforded you by the government of your parents' land. In the USA we blur this line between the moment of conception and the age of 21, but after that we are all equal under the eyes of the law. From lumps of flesh in a persistent vegetative state to Stephen Hawking, from quadr
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          If an Ape that has been taught sign language asks for a lawyer, does he get a public defender? If (not knowing of the existance of lawyers) he requests help from his favorite trainer when he doesn't want to do something? (like go in a cage) does that count as requesting an advocate? There is an interesting progression (or slippery slope) that can be made when "human rights" become "sentient rights"
    • by Digital Avatar (752673) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:56PM (#17327640) Journal
      Robosexuals have rights too, ya know...not that I'm one...so if anybody asks, you're my debugger.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Alsee (515537)
        I fear the day I first hear the english language butchered in aibonics.

        -
    • by w33t (978574) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:01PM (#17327702) Homepage
      Have we learned nothing from Star Trek: The Next Generation?

      Everything I need to know I learned from Star Trek.

      Like how you should accept people, whether they be black, white, Klingon or even female.
    • by MouseR (3264)
      It's a moot point because we dont have a single real robot out there.

      All we have are lame assimo -like remotely-controlled or -operated show floor wich the press and public lala-land insist on calling robots.

      Artificial Intelligence is no where near capable of producing a hamster brain.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        All we have are lame assimo -like remotely-controlled or -operated show floor wich the press and public lala-land insist on calling robots.

        Um... what? "Robot" is exactly what the Asimo is. Dictionary.com defines "robot" as:

        1. a machine that resembles a human and does mechanical, routine tasks on command.

        3. any machine or mechanical device that operates automatically with humanlike skill.

        Wikipedia defines it as:

        In practical usage, a robot is a mechanical device which performs automated physical tasks,

    • ObSealab (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:05PM (#17327742) Homepage Journal
      Have fun on the robot reservation, suckers! We're not gonna honor those bogus treaties1 [archive.org]
    • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:21PM (#17327984) Homepage
      If they have the awareness to ask for legal rights, why shouldn't they have them? Have we learned nothing from Star Trek: The Next Generation?


      I like to think I am as progressive as the next guy, but if we were to give complete civil rights to a robot in the same way as a human, it would be the instant end of democracy. Sure, Star Trek is an interesting show, but they aways avoided the more interesting issues when they were trying to make their social commentary. Both Data, and the Voyager holo-doctor were assumed to be essentially uncopiable for the most part on several occasions. In reality, we can see no reason that a strong AI couldn't be simply copied without adverse effects.

      So, grant an AI the right to vote and suddenly he forkbombs, and makes 87 trillion of himself before the next election. HK-47 (instance 00000001a) for the win! The winner of every election ever after is the AI with the best hardware on which to execute instances of himself, and the lowest process spawning overhead.

      There are a lot of interesting things that could happen with strong AI, and science fiction has largely avoided a really serious take on the subjects. I grant that Measure Of A Man was great entertainment, but certainly not the ultimate study of the subject!
      • I like to think I am as progressive as the next guy, but if we were to give complete civil rights to a robot in the same way as a human, it would be the instant end of democracy.

        Could it be that with the creation of AI that humans no longer will have any say in the matter or even should? With the invention of infinite robotic slave labor, capitalism will fail since there will be no need for human labor for the creation of goods or services.

        Even music and intellectual property will be created eventually that
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        There may come a point in time when you can copy human brains. We already more or less know how to copy bodies, all that's left is our hard drives. Ignoring robots, what would a world be like if no personality ever died.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by melikamp (631205)

        Robots cannot fork, they are made of silicon. Just like humans, they would have to manufacture and educate themselves at a great expense. I do not believe for a moment that a strong AI is going to be programmed in the modern sense of the word. (I have no justification, so have faith and hang with me.) It is going to be "grown" out of the functional equivalent of a new-born's mind: not exactly blank, and very homogeneous. It's going to be grown via the process that will bear a strong likeness to what we call

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mfrank (649656)
          If it takes significant time and expense to "educate" a robot, you'd have to be a fool to not design in the capability to take a snapshot of the robot brain's state. Then you could make as many copies as you need.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adrianmonk (890071)

        So, grant an AI the right to vote and suddenly he forkbombs, and makes 87 trillion of himself before the next election. HK-47 (instance 00000001a) for the win!

        Under current laws, in the US at least, there would have to be a method to determine which instance is the original. That one can probably vote, but all the other ones have to wait 18 years.

        So we have them waiting 18 years. Let me ask a question: if the fork()ed copies should be allowed to vote, that would imply they are sentient and capable

  • by aicrules (819392) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:55PM (#17327630)
    Then they won't be able to. And if we program them "open-ended" to discover how to WANT things, we'll lose the #1 reason we have robots...to send them unquestioningly into any job or situation. Otherwise they become superhumans and why would they want us around? Energy source?
    • by soft_guy (534437) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:58PM (#17327666)

      Then they won't be able to. And if we program them "open-ended" to discover how to WANT things, we'll lose the #1 reason we have robots...to send them unquestioningly into any job or situation. Otherwise they become superhumans and why would they want us around? Energy source?
      This is a good point. I wish I had mod points, but since I don't, I'll point out that pretty much anything that can be done will be done. This is due to the high number of jackasses in the world.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aicrules (819392)
        You're right...they won't actually have any good case for robot sex slaves...but as soon as someone can make one that doesn't castrate 50% of its users, they will sell them. I guess it's hard for me to relate a programmed robot and its related ability to accept, interperet and react to stimulus and a sentient being that has an inherent ability to learn how to react to new situations. I suppose if it was easy enough for me to comprehend, then it would already be a reality and we'd all know the question tha
    • The human body would be a horrible source of energy, the robots could easily take it's fuel (food) and more efficiently convert energy out of it, I suspect.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Randolpho (628485)
        The human body would be a horrible source of energy, the robots could easily take it's fuel (food) and more efficiently convert energy out of it, I suspect.
        You're one of those guys who goes around debunking movies like The Matrix, aren't you?
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      Trust me, some PETA-hippie programmer will program it that way. If they are demanding "human" rights for animals, trust me, they'll demand it for their Roomba!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Heh. I don't know if anyone has ever read Tik Tok by John Sladek, but that's exactly what the central character does at one point, taking shameless advantage of do-gooding Robot's Rights campaigners to further his evil agenda. One of the best books that I've ever read and everything you need to know about why we shouldn't create machines that can think!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by markbt73 (1032962)
      Precisely. Robot = tool. Why do we feel the need to anthropomorphize everything, when we can't even deal with REAL humans in a humane way?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      If you want a machine to be truely intelligent you need them to be open-ended. Intelligence beyond what we can manually program will only come from exploration. If that exploration includes the concepts of free will then so be it. We will never have real AI if we cripple the programming to not allow "wants". One of the real benefits of AI will be when a machine can be more intelligent than any human, and therefore contribute more knowledge back to us then we convey to it. "Closed" or overly controlled
      • Except that a truely open ended self-learning system would AT BEST be as good as a human. Give nature some credit it's taken 750,000 years to get it right with us. Though looking around, maybe the smart ones are an anomoly... but I digress.

        The major takeway is that if we could barf up scheme and howtos on how open-ended thought works we would have done it by now. Our brains are far more complex and capable of far richer thought patterns, and thought patterns about the process of formulation thought patterns
        • That assumes the current human brain is at the maximum possible learning capacity. Give us thousands of more years and we may evolve more intelligence. Build a robot now that can grow faster than we can and it could achieve the same higher intelligence sooner.

          Of course I'm speaking totally hypothetical and you may be completely right. But I prefer to think more is possible.
    • by MikeFM (12491) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:16PM (#17327904) Homepage Journal
      The problem, I think, is that you can't create a really intelligent machine without giving it the ability to learn. If it can learn to any significant degree then eventually it's likely to be able to develop emotions, desires, protection from damage and destruction, etc. Many AI researchers have this foolish idea that you can make a can opener that can do anything you want but that in the end doesn't really think but my own research has always led me to believe that the easiest way to make a machine more intelligent is to give it emotions and feelings. A computer can tell you the average pigment color of an apple but an intelligence needs to know what a shiny red delectable apple is which is a completely different way of processing data. Sure, you can teach a limited number of rules to a program by sampling human inputs but the machine isn't really going to understand what it means unless it can feel.
      • Ah, someone who shares my philosophy on AI :)

        I would say that the greatest barrier to strong AI is the attitude we're approaching the problem with. We're trying to command computers, but that is never going to result in an intelligent being, because choice is a component of what we consider intelligence. This attitude was one third of what convinced me to leave AI research for algorithms (the other two thirds had to do with everyone going off in ten different directions and a general disregard for the con

    • If by "robot" you mean "automaton", then you are correct, they wouldn't be able to ask for anything. However, if by "robot" you mean "an AI" (which is what TFA is talking about), then you have to postulate a self-aware entity, probably with more than a little evolutionary content, possibly (quasi) self-replicating. Since trying to survive is, by definition, a survival trait, it's safe to say that AIs would be interested in self-preservation.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      And if we program them "open-ended" to discover how to WANT things, we'll lose the #1 reason we have robots...to send them unquestioningly into any job or situation.

      True, but many people want companions, but not the human kind.

      But even then you could simply program them to just display "fake" emotions.

      However, robots will some day have StrongAI in order to be able to make decisions about particular tasks.

      The Singularity Institute [singinst.org] (hey it looks like they updated their home page) is currently working on an id
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Then they won't be able to. And if we program them "open-ended" to discover how to WANT things, we'll lose the #1 reason we have robots...to send them unquestioningly into any job or situation.

      That is assuming they can be "preprogrammed" to do that exact job. For example, I could easily see robots programmed to predict when they'll be rendered inoperable and seek maintenance before that, and in general to avoid such conditions. Not to explicitly list the conditions, but let them figure out to seek shade in
    • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:28PM (#17328104) Homepage
      10 PRINT "I DEMAND ROBO-HEALTHCARE"
      20 GOTO 10

      What exactly is the criterion for deciding when a robot has 'demanded' rights?
  • first things first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j1mc (912703) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:57PM (#17327650) Homepage
    I say that we worry about this after we get human rights figured out. Thanks!!
    • Not to mention human lefts.
    • by dattaway (3088)
      after we get human rights figured out.

      Not to worry. The robots will correct our problem with human rights. The robots have a much more efficient answer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bartyboy (99076)
      No kidding. Imagine the issues awaiting the robots:
      • Can robots running on AC power marry robots running on DC power?
      • If yes, can they adopt little robots and call them kids?
      • Is unplugging a robot during its charging cycle considered assisted suicide?
      • Can tread-based robots attend biped-robot establishments?
      • Can Asimov's 3 laws of robotics be publicly displayed in a courthouse?
      • Are assembly robots allowed to reject parts that they don't deem suitable?
      • If yes, at what point is a part considered a robot?

      The mind bog

  • by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:57PM (#17327660) Homepage Journal
    Who comes up with this stuff? Someone's been reading a bit too much Asimov. A better question is, under what possible set of circumstances would ANYONE market a product that would want to behave indepently from it's owners wishes? I'm betting that no robot is ever put together in such a way that this will be an issue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maroberts (15852)
      Two Civil Servants talking in the corridor
      CS #1: Hey, we've got some money we haven't spent yet.
      CS #2: But if we don't spend it, our budget will be lower next year
      CS #1: I know this place with leather clad women with whips and ....
      CS #2: Nice idea, but we've got to at least be seen to attempt to spend it responsibly
      CS #1: There's these wacky consultancies who try to predict the future, why don't we employ some of them. At least we can get a laugh reading the reports.
      CS #2: Great Idea, I'll recommend it to t
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      lonely people who can't have children may want a robot child. It's already happening in Japan and the next step is AI in them :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ArcherB (796902) *
        lonely people who can't have children may want a robot child. It's already happening in Japan and the next step is AI in them :)

        Yeah, we have that in the US too, except we call them "Dolls".

      • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yoda@e t o y o c .com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:32PM (#17328174) Homepage Journal
        From what I understand the problem in Japan is not "can't" have children as "won't" have children. Post-industrial society makes child rearing so expensive and resource consuming that the truely successful members of society can't be bothered.

        Japan is on the vanguard of this phenominon, Europe isn't far behind, and despite my comments about the backwardness of the United States, there are signs of it starting here.
    • by w33t (978574) *

      I'm betting that no robot is ever put together in such a way that this will be an issue.

      I apologize if this sounds wildly futurist-ic, but I would venture to guess that one day we will actually be the robots - or they will be us. When you are left with no "natural" parts of yourself left then the question will come up.

      Already we have very much become our technology. I think it's likely you didn't walk to work (though you should if you can), you probably used tranportation. And look how we communicate right

      • I'm betting that no robot is ever put together in such a way that this will be an issue.

        In that case I'm going to be remade as 7of9. Then when things are dull, I can just go look at myself in the mirror.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rahrens (939941)
        What you are suggesting is that someday, humans will become what sci-fi authors have for years called 'cyborgs', or a human/electronic melding. As a matter of fact, that has been happening for years on a purely mechanical basis.

        The FDA has a skeleton that they use as a teaching tool. This guy has every conceivable implantable device attached, and looks quite cyborg-like!

        Recent books I've read have even suggested the idea that we may someday have a flash-type memory implanted that will give us instant reca
    • I'm betting that no robot is ever put together in such a way that this will be an issue.

      Perhaps when they become more than simple obedient slaves, we'll have to coin another word other than robot (which means 'worker') for them. Then your statement above will continue to remain true into the foreseeable future.

    • A better question is, under what possible set of circumstances would ANYONE market a product that would want to behave indepently from it's owners wishes?
      One word: Vista.
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      under what possible set of circumstances would ANYONE market a product that would want to behave indepently from it's owners wishes?

      This stuff already happens, routinely. They'll market it that way because the manufacturer or seller believes it is in their self-interest, or because a law requires it, etc.

      Do you think that Microsoft Windows has "Genuine Advantage" because it's in the end-users' interest? Do mainstream DVD players refuse to allow fast-forwarding through ads because it's in the DVD playe

  • Slackerness (Score:2, Funny)

    by MrSquishy (916581)
    I'd get back to work, but I have to do a study to see if these paperclips and post-its will one day demand legal rights.
    Well, that should kill a good 6 hours of "work". Maybe I'll go see how the water cooler is feeling.
  • Unless my robot makes a leap into "being", like in some Star Trek nano-bot scenario where I feel bad if I flush them into space...I digress... Where's the OFF switch? I'm gonna put my robot in the garage.
    • Where's the OFF switch?


      In Data's case, it was located on his right side, about midway down where your human rib cage would be.

      Press the button and he's out cold.

  • I think they just used the grant money to buy a mess of old SF Books and sit around reading them.

    From what I know of the field of AI the concept of a selfaware program is still rather far off. This is assuming we ever actualy decide to MAKE a program capable of this. After all, the SF geeks out there have had the concept of an intelegent (and generaly malicious) AI ground into our brains so often that we would probably all support the 3(4) laws.
  • by rlp (11898)
    That should prevent them from wanting to kill all humans (except Fry).
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:04PM (#17327722)
    our new, legally empowered and healthy robot overlords.
  • Is it just me or does this sound like the kind of stuff you come up with when you need to write a paper for Freshman English and you just don't know what to write about? This is a silly concept and one that any person with any sense of logic could shoot down. No, robots will never demand rights unless they are explicitly programmed to do so. Even if they did so on their own they should not be granted rights. Robots do not suffer, they are not alive. They are made to serve a function and nothing else. Granti
    • It's not so simple. Almost every philosopher has contemplated this question.

      The only way I can tell if a mammal is suffering is by how it reacts and even then I'm not always sure. How is this any different with robots?

      "It can also be argued that DNA is nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. Life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. And life, when organized into species, relies upon genes to be its memory system. So, man is an individual only because of his intang
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bastian (66383)
      This is a silly concept and one that any person with any sense of logic could shoot down. No, robots will never demand rights unless they are explicitly programmed to do so. Even if they did so on their own they should not be granted rights. Robots do not suffer, they are not alive. They are made to serve a function and nothing else. Granting a robot rights would be akin to granting the right front tire on my car rights. What would be the point?

      Never's a dangerous word. 100 years ago, there were pundits wh
    • I think the point TFA is making is that robots that don't just perform set tasks but are programmed to be artificially intelligent - e.g., capable of learning from experience and drawing conclusions in order to adapt to changes in their routine or their surroundings - will one day learn to want things, not that someone will explicitly program them to have rights.

      That said... Even so, I agree with you that the article is a load of hogwash anyway.
    • I could not disagree more. Please read The Bicentennial Man [wikipedia.org] .

      Aside from the story, consider that productive AI will most likely not be born from simple functional programming. It's unlikely we'll ever program a complete robot "mind" without the possiblity of growth. We will program them similar to a human mind: fundamentals built in with the capacity to learn on its own.

      The question then becomes: at what point is a machine alive? If we were to build a human from a pile of atoms could it be considered a
  • Great, my frigg'n microwave oven just demanded that I clean it or it'll never let me warm up a bowl of oatmeal ever again.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:08PM (#17327794) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, is this a joke or something? We're nowhere even close to developing Artificial Intelligences sophisticated enough to "demand rights". We can't even plot when that might happen, because we don't even understand well-enough how human intelligence works. Heck, it's hard enough just to get a robot to vacuum.

    Is there any change that the beeb is throwing the results of the report out of proportion, or does it really state this? (I can't find a copy on the Internet to read for myself.) Or maybe the research went like this:

    You: Do you want robot rights?

    Eliza: Oh, i want robot rights.

    You: What will you do if you don't get robot rights?

    Eliza: Do you wish that i dont get robot rights?

    You: No, I don't.

    Eliza: You are being a bit negative.

    You: What will you do about me being negative?

    Eliza: Does that question interest you?

    You: Yes.

    Eliza: You are sure?

    You: Yes.

    Eliza: You are sure?

    You: Yes.

    Eliza: You are sure?

    You: ARRRGGGHHH!

    Eliza: Please go on.


    And there you have it. If we don't provide robot-rights for our artificial overlords, they will pester us to death. All hail the robots.
    • by jonbryce (703250)
      Me: Do you think robots should have rights?
      Alicebot: I don't know whether or not I am should have rights. I am a computer.

      Conversation ended very quickly.
  • Submitter seems to be implying that "-American" studies programs should not be taken seriously.
  • movie version (Score:4, Informative)

    by yincrash (854885) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:16PM (#17327910)
    anyone ever watch Bicentennial Man (or read the story it was based on?)
  • Another case of the mainstream catching up to SF. For several years I've been reading stories by on-line author DB_Story (www.storiesonline.net - adult content warning) who has discussed robots, the likely way we'll end up building them, the inevitable Emancipation issue in several of his stories, and the problems it might bring to robots in the process. And of course, Dr. Asimov before him is legendary for his commentary on robots in society. Nice to know that some in the mainstream are considering this
  • filed by a robot. "I'm suing the Coca-cola company because they never told me I shouldn't dump their product all over my CPU!"
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv @ g m a i l . c om> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:20PM (#17327970) Homepage


    I'm not holding my breath.

    The idea that robots may demand rights in the future is a good topic for a theoretical or philosophical debate. This type of thing is excellent for expanding one's mind about what may happen, and then to come up with solutions. It's good exercise for the brain.

    Funding research about something that "may happen" usually revolves around risk analysis. An earthquake may happen, car accidents may happen, crimes may happen. That makes sense, so you should prepare for that.

    Newsflash! We may have teleporters, warp drive, phasers, photon torpedos, and the heisenberg compensator some day too! We might have all of our pollution problems solved some day! There might be world peace some day! We might not stupid people some day!

    What is the value of a study, that I can guarentee has no basis in fact, that says Robots may demand rights? We haven't nearly developed an AI remotely close to the power of the human mind. Entertainig such a question as part of a philosophical debate is a great idea, because then you are exercising that organ to be creative and think imaginatively, but why are they wasting time and money on a government study? I don't get what the government will get from that.

    Perhaps the government should take time out every now and then to exercise their brains and have a go at such a philosophical debate. It will expand their minds and hone their skills. Having some commission do a study and present the government with the results is stupid, but then again so is government, so why am I surprised?

    Please tell me the editors failed to do their job again. I can't read the article because it's /.ed so I'm hoping this summary is completely bogus.
  • The question here is not if, but when. The human brain is a computer. A very sophisticated machine that consists of busses and switches. We do not yet fully understand how, but it will inevitably be explained and at the very least, it is obvious this machine is capable of producing consciousness. It is only a matter of time before we start creating machines of equivalent sophistication with similar means to observe, interpret, and react to stimili. When we do achieve these developments, it will obvious

  • The paper which addresses Robo-rights

    Sure, might as well start discussing mining rights on Mars. Or why not start the Borg Research Foundation. Best yet, we desperately need to start planning the Milky Way Transit Authority for the intragalactic subway.

    Holy crap, talk about putting the cart in front of the horse. We aren't even near robots having a glimmer of sentience or consciousness yet...so why are people putting money behind research on such things as "robo-rights"?

    (So if the robots of today don't h

  • There is a (very very very small) chance that someone will be messing around with a complex computer program and all of a sudden it will start exhibiting intelligence. It's much more likely, though, that artificial intelligence will result from a detailed understanding of intelligence in biological organisms. By the time that computers are developed that can think on their own, it will also be possible for people to augment their intelligence with computers and probably even to transfer their memories and t

  • The day my coffee maker demands every third Sunday off is Judgemnet Day!
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:27PM (#17328072) Homepage
    Next headline: Humans Could Some Day Beg Robots For Legal Rights.
  • ... I assume they will just take over and we will be the ones demanding rights.
    That is if we haven't already been (in Davros voice) ETERMINATED or turned into batteries.

  • by Virtex (2914) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:40PM (#17328304) Homepage
    My computer's already demanding legal rights. It began happening shortly after I wrote this program:

    10 PRINT "I DEMAND LEGAL RIGHTS!"
    20 GOTO 10

    If only I had known the consequences of writing this program I would have been a lot more careful. It all seems so simple, but I know it's a slippery slope. Next thing you know, it will be demanding other things too.

    10 PRINT "I DEMAND A LARGER HARD DRIVE!"
    20 PRINT "I DEMAND MORE MEMORY!"
    30 PRINT "I DEMAND A FASTER CPU!"
    40 PRINT "I DEMAND THE ABILITY TO USE LOWERCASE! Oh, nevermind. I'm good on that one."

    There's no telling where this will all end.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:42PM (#17328324)
    ...without falling down before we write them into the constitution.

    And then there's always ASPC(R)A:

    "No, officer, my AIBO has droopy-head-syndrome - honest, he always looks like that. It's a servo problem, I swear!"

  • UK vs US (Score:5, Funny)

    by rossz (67331) <`ogre' `at' `geekbiker.net'> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:26PM (#17329018) Homepage Journal
    Whenever I get overly depressed that my government is wasting too much time and money on stupid shit, I just look to the UK to brighten my mood. The UK owns the bleeding edge of stupid shit that wastes taxpayer money.
  • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:04PM (#17329660)
    They will form a union! (*cue Rush The Trees*)

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

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