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Do androids experience dreams of human rights?

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Roisin Kiberd writes that it sounds more like something coming from a science fiction novel, but in agreement with David Gunkel, the author and academic, robots might have their rights soon. 

Why sympathize with a robot? Yet many viewers did, when Boston Dynamics, a DARPA-funded robotics company launched their creation, SpotMini, in a channel on YouTube that demonstrated people kicking the four-legged robot, trying to knock it over and antagonizing it. The comment section below had the following comments: “please stop the robot abuse.” Another top-voted comment read: “The guy who kicks him is the first they gonna get.”

Many of the Boston Dynamics are disheartening, rather than being adorable. There is the threatening scuttling Big Dog, built for military combat, with the bipedal PETMAN, with human-like design, and an eerie hazmat suit covering its silicon viscera. Why would anyone be concerned about “hurting” the robots when they are not even capable of feeling? Do robots deserve that? Should a term that was proposed in 2016 by the Europe Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, “electronic personhood,” be accepted into our law? 

However, more like science fiction, it sounds, and opinions around whether robots deserve rights, have been on the rage for a while now. One hundred and fifty-six AL experts responded with an open letter to the 2016 proposal, judging it for responsibility shifting from the robot’s owner to the robot itself.  Back in 1999, the American Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Robots was launched. Pitched between philosophical provocation and satire, their mission statement stated: “The ASPCR is and will always be, exactly as serious as robots are the sentiment.”

Robots are not sentiment, at least not yet, but have not prevented philosophers and tech founders together with the world leaders looking at the prospect of their political and legal powers, in 2017; Vladimir Putin predicted that AL is going to be the world’s ruler. A year later, Elon Musk gave warning against AL seizing power in the future and becoming their immortal dictator.

An automated report, of Forrester’s Prediction 2020, published on November same year stated that more than a million knowledge workers (scientists, lawyers, engineers, and others) are likely to be replaced by automation in 2020, with the propagation of commercial software robotics, virtual agents, chatbots and machine studying. Meanwhile, Gartner published an article emphasizing on “hyper-automation” and “autonomous things” trends. 

This post was originally published on Weekly News Times