Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Robots Riot in UK - Dump Tea Into Harbor

Maybe there would be a headline like the one above this article in the future, says a UK study. As reported all over the world, the UK's Chief Scientist, Sir David King, has commissioned a study to see how we can keep robots "correctly managed" to "lead to increased labour output and greater prosperity." The problem? Uppity robots will demand rights which will threaten our very ideas of humanity.

However, the idea to grant rights to robots may just be part of a plan to soak them for taxes and draft them into the army.
According to the report, "Extension of legal rights to robots would likely include requests that robots also be subject to certain responsibilities within society such as voting, the obligation to pay taxes, and serve compulsory military service"

The study is part of a futures study being conducted by consulting firms Ipsos MORI and Outsights.

Check out the Sigma Scan database here.

As a futurist I have to say that the Sigma Scan database is a nice list of emerging issues.
As someone on vacation right now, I also have to say how much it cracks me up how this one issue of robot rights has jumped into the press.

I think we should all be much more concerned about the possibility of animals learning how to talk, which is also covered in the study.
The development of human-animal communication could lead to, "The animal rights movement could be strengthened, and possibly become more militant. There could be calls for animal rights to be made equal to humans, or at least more rigorously protected in law."

Which would be worse: voting robots or militant talking dogs? / World / UK - UK report says robots will have rights


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've given a lot of thought to this exact subject, and I honestly don't think there ever will be sentient robots. Maybe a few will be created, to prove that it can be done, but whether or not we're capable of it there is simply no economic reason to create sentient robots. The whole point of the push for robots is that they are essentially a source of free labor; all the benefits of slavery, without the guilt of destroying other human beings' lives. The instant sentient robots exist, they will be useless as tools, negating any reason for a company to create them in the first place. The last thing we need on this planet is another intelligent species to fight over resources with.
-Greg Western

3:36 AM, December 21, 2006  

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