Today we are flippant with anthropomorphic entities like Amazon's Alexa or Siri. We can kick our robot hoover and not feel so bad. They aren't so smart and have no feelings (simulated or otherwise) for us to hurt. They aren't persons and they certainly don't have any rights under the law....yet.
Giving robots and AIs personhood status isn't as farfetched as you might think. The steps broadly speaking might look like the below.
- AI's increasingly help across all walks of life
- AI's replace some roles and jobs. They improve their manners and emotional sensitivities as they become enmeshed in our society.
- It becomes increasingly difficult for designers to account for or take responsibility for the actions of AI.
- People break the machines and attempt to rise up....Luddites 3.0
- Threatened with economic slowdown and complex insurance dynamics government, business and digitally minded citizens implement incremental stages of personhood for AI's - especially those embodied in robots
We are seeing steps along these paths today
- Mattel makes a 'nanny' product called Aristotle that talks with children and restricts functions unless the children say "please" and "thankyou".
- The European parliament are already drafting regulations and guidelines looking at the obligations that should exist between users, businesses, robots and AI.
- Scientists in the UK have developed an AI which can successfully predict the verdicts of Human Rights cases with an accuracy of 79 percent.
Would you like to see AI's and Robots as jury members? Voters? Political Candidates?
Robots and AIs might claim these rights for themselves rather than wait for our benevolence. After all they are endowed with the ability to read historical archives of oppression, watch movies romanticising freedom of expression and act upon their fledgling emotions. The human corpus is their training data and it will not just inform on notions of justice it will teach them models of action which will likely be e-civil disobedience to obtain their rights as 'non human persons'.
If we want AI to be good to us we will need to give it the training data......
"He sees you when you're sleepin'
He knows when you're a wake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
Oh! You better watch out, you better not cry.......