>How far should we push equality?

>Technological developers and workers are predicting machines will be as intellectually capable as apes by the end of the century, and also able to feel and empaphize as we do. Suppose a situation came to be where machines were more intelligent than us, and just as life like in that they felt emotions as we do. Would you accord them equal rights? If we accorded them equal rights based on our similarities then why do we have greater rights than apes? If not then how do we justify our ‘human rights’ being solely available to humans?

2 comments

  • >Its the "Blade-runner" scenario. Classic movie with this classic theme, 'what is it to be human ?'.Animals have rights too, obviously called animal rights. I'm not sure of all the differences between animal and human rights, but i'd guess both ensure pretection from mis-treatment and cruelty etc,.As time progresses it does seem that both rights become stronger, so it may show that 'rights' are an adaptable concept that moves with along with our own societal evolution.If this is correct then i could fully anticpate that as robots develop along the lines you suggested, then their level of rights would probably change accordingly, albeit with the inevitable lag time.At some point we could possibly come to the point where the robots contain all the same human attributes and qualities exactly and have independant thought etc,. At this point we really will have to address the question of what it is to be human.Maybe at this point in the future we will be more humble about our special place in the universe, and be happy to realise that all creatures, mechanical or organic, which exhibitcertain qualities are worthy of being afforded the same level of respect which we bestow on ourselves.

  • >Unfortunately I completely agree. I'm an animal rights supporter so I'm in favour of greater rights for animals (and many people too), but I would also agree that if machines become able to feel emotively as we do (although I'm sure many people will argue they won't feel it "as we do") then they deserve equal rights as well.I think it has some important ramifications though. If we accord only 'equal' rights to machines who are more intelligent, then there is no justification for according ourselves more rights than we accord to animals on the grounds of greater intelligence. So beyond the question of what it is to be human we may also have to question what it is to be alive, and also re-draw the lines that distinguish which life-forms are more 'equal' than others.

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