Do Androids Have Rights? The Legal State of Artificial Intelligence

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Do Androids Have Rights? The Legal State of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

Robots will eventually become the world's main work force. What rights should artificial intelligence have in the not-to-distant future? The question, once the realm of science fiction, is becoming an increasingly important topic.

Science fiction authors have long predicted that beings with artificial intelligence would eventually take over traditionally humans’ roles in society. Now the science fiction future is close to becoming a reality. Robots are expected to replace human labor in one-third of jobs by 2025, and artificial intelligence may become self-aware sooner than we think. Since robots are becoming more like people, it's fair to ask whether they should have the same rights and responsibilities as humans.

The Robot Criminal

Should a robot be held responsible for committing crimes? A Swiss art group programmed a robot to automatically make $100 worth of purchases from websites on the shady "Dark Net" every week. The bot wasted no time in buying illegal objects like a fake Hungarian passport and a bag full of Ecstasy.

Robot Criminal
How long before robots like the one portrayed in 'Chappie' are committing crimes?

After Swiss authorities caught wind of the illegal activities, they "arrested" the bot, confiscating it until they could figure out a proper plan of action. Robots aren't currently legally responsible entities, but in the future law enforcement will have to figure out ways to deal with AI programmed to commit crime.

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Self-Driving Cars

Replacing human drivers with computers has the potential to make our roads safer and prevent millions of deaths, but self-driving cars will still occasionally get into accidents. This raises the question of who is responsible for the damage and injuries from an accident involving two AI drivers. Will it be the company that makes the car, or the humans who are in it?

Civil Rights

Many people fear that artificial intelligence will turn against humans when it becomes self-aware. However, an alternative possibility is that AI beings will demand the same rights that biological humans enjoy. Some experts predict that self-aware AI will eventually obtain the rights to vote, own property, reproduce, and hold office.

Economic Rights

Robots will eventually become the world's primary labor force. Economists predict that this will upend the current economic system, forcing the world to find a post-capitalist financial model. Robots may also advocate to be paid for their labor as artificial intelligence advances, which would require governments to redefine who counts as a "person."Many of these predictions seem fantastical now, but the AI revolution might come sooner than you think. These are just a few of the many legal questions which have arisen in the past few years, which is why master's in law programs currently cover fields like artificial intelligence and cyber security. Androids will be an increasingly important part of human society. The legal distinction between biological and technological people will get so blurred that it becomes meaningless.

By Emma SturgisEmbed

About the Author: Author Bio - Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and technology. When not writing, she enjoys watching old movies and indoor rock climbing. Questions? Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2


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