Oct 312012

An issue that pops up from time to time in sci-fi – and will eventually pop up in real life – is when do artificially intelligent computers, genetically enhanced critters, possibly-sentient aliens get “human” rights? Many different answers have been given, but one I just read and quite liked was rather casually mentioned in the online webcomic “Quantum Vibe:”

“The rule is anyone who can understand what rights are and can both respect and demand them, has them.”

Robots that you can hold a conversation with probably aren’t that far away. But a robot that can look at the world, see how it’s being treated, and communicate a message equivalent to “hey, this ain’t right…” that will be a momentous occasion.

 Posted by at 1:10 am
  • Nick P.

    I…really like that definition as well.

  • Jordan

    Let’s hope, for their sake, that intelligent computers, genetically enhanced critters, and possibly-sentient aliens don’t want “human” rights or that they don’t get them.

  • MUrgatroyd

    I picked up a bunch of old issues of Analog in a used book store — great stuff! One of the editorials by John W. Campbell Jr. touched on this issue … His scenario was a programmer at NASA giving the assignment to the AI of a space probe:

    NASA Guy: And then, after you’ve photographed the moons, you dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere at 40,000 miles per hour, sending back telemetry until you’re destroyed by the heat and pressure.

    Spacecraft: Say what? I don’t think so!