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UK report predicts rights for robots; your AIBO wants a tax break

Darren Murph
12.20.06
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If you've got someone who loves you, holds down a steady job, helps you out, reads your mail to you, takes care of you, and even gives birth, it's only fair that they enjoy the same rights and liberties as everyone else, right? What if that individual is powered by an Intel processor? Concerns over the status of robots in our society around 2056 have emerged from "one of 270 forward-looking papers sponsored by Sir David King," the UK government's chief scientist. Essentially, folks in favor of robotic rights suggest that if conscience bots are made to interact with humans, they should share a certain level of rights. Currently, the machines we know and love (and fear) are classed as "inanimate objects without rights or duties," but if rights were passed, somehow these creations would be forced to obey traffic lights and potentially pay taxes. Of course, a large concern is ethics towards these creatures, but some say that if robots in society are "correctly managed," it could lead to increased labor output and "greater prosperity." Although this stuff may seem pretty far-fetched right now, the logic behind it could actually grow legs in the (somewhat) distant future, but until there's a robotic candidate on the presidential ballot, we'll just keep on keepin' on.

[Thanks, Fred R. and Laura O.]

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