Week 3_ Social Rights for Robots? by Joseph Duy Nguyen

With the advancement of science, artificial intelligence in robots has risen to the point that many people are considering robots a threat to human existence. This idea of the danger of artificial intelligence is portrayed in countless films made by Hollywood, including the bleak future painted for earth in the Terminator trilogy, in which humans are fighting a war against computers with artificial intelligence capabilities. Regardless of the numerous films produced, the field of robotics is currently being studied with greater interests in many countries around the world. This may have to do with the possibility of creating robot soldiers, robot housekeepers, robot workers, etc. Even though some of these ideas are in existence today, humans have yet to develop the perfect robot. Many, including the national government, have delved deep into this topic, even into the political and social rights for such machines.

Oddly enough, a United Kingdom government report showed that robots one day will demand the same human rights as human beings. This is utter nonsense to many scientists. According to the paper released by the British government, robots may be sharing the same neighborhood and citizenship status as anyone. “If granted full rights, 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,” as stated in one of the many released reports. Many scientists have discredited these reports due to a lack of evidence that any such things could be possible.

In my opinion, robots and humans are not equal and can never be equal. Human and robot senses are of a completely different nature. Robots do not have the feelings of a living being such as love and pain. Robots do not have the same perspective on time as humans. What would be considered a lifetime sentence for robots? A hundred years? Two hundred years? There are so many complications sure to arise if robots were ever treated as humans.

Speaking of humanly robots, robotic reproduction also surfaced as an interesting topic. In the report by the British government as mentioned above, the idea of mechanical reproduction by robots was mentioned. Robotic mechanical reproduction is a process in which a self-replicating robot obtains construction materials, manufactures new parts, provides a consistent power source for the new robot “baby,” and programs the new member. If robotic mechanical reproduction is possible, then parental robot would be able to engineer their babies, a process that many parents have thought of since the rise of genetically modified organisms. If robots were able to engineer their offspring, there would be a disastrous effect on human society. Resources are already being spent by humans way too rapidly. With the additional resources needed by robots, the earth will not be able to support life. This can result in a competition between robots and humans.

Scientists and futurists have come up with so many ideas and predictions on the fate of robotics, but in the end, many of these ideas are just mere flights of fantasy. Until humans can develop a self-thinking robot, an artificially intelligent robot will not pose any major risks to humans. However, many of the dangerous jobs today in the world are done by robots. Without these robots, many lives would have been lost due to accidents. It is difficult to determine where to draw the line on how much artificial intelligence a robot should have, but with careful study and precaution, such robotic advances should not be a problem.

Robot (left) created to look almost identical as human (right).

Robot (left) created to look almost identical as human (right).

The idea of a robot being the artificial womb of humans

The idea of a robot being the artificial womb of humans

A sexy singing robot produced by China.

A sexy singing robot produced by China.

References:

-http://www.technospot.net/blogs/can-robots-get-social-right/

-http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/LegalRightsOfRobots.htm

-http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1695546.ece

Joseph Duy Nguyen

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