The question Do Artificial Intelligent Systems Have Rights? Is a hot topic nowadays. AI, or Artificial Intelligent Systems, are machines that are not alive, but are in some ways like humans. Since they are not composed of living cells, they have no actual life expectancy. Furthermore, if AI never dies, they won’t die either. So, if AI doesn’t have rights, we shouldn’t consider it a human.
Moreover, AI makes decisions that have real-world implications. Some areas of AI’s use directly affect human rights, such as determining who gets a good job at a big company, whether to hire a person, or whether to give them welfare. Some countries have already begun using AI for these functions, such as welfare eligibility. And AI is being used by police and courts to decide criminal sentences. And if AI does make a mistake, people can hold it responsible and punish it, or at least make sure the creators are accountable.
What’s more, AI is likely to become sentient as time goes by. A recent Peking University researcher has predicted that Japan and South Korea will expect human-robot coexistence by 2030, and experts are predicting that human and robots will marry by 2050. Such a scenario raises a wide range of legal questions. So, what should we do? Should AI be able to sue? Will this affect the rights of humans and animals?
The answer will likely come with a controversial answer. While artificial intelligence is still an incontestable notion for now, it may well be the way humans view robots. Some people argue that robots should be granted human rights. After all, robots might be able to reason and work hundreds of times faster than humans. That way, they could recognize their inferiority and demand more rights. If they do, they will probably start pushing for them.
There are some reasons to believe AI does not have human-level rights. For example, AI Sophia may not be a human at all. In reality, she is controlled by humans. As a result, we should be wary of taking her conversations seriously. Sophia’s conversation with humans may have been part of a publicity stunt. In any event, we should be cautious when we take AI Sophia’s conversation as a legal precedent.
It has been argued that robots are capable of mimicking human emotions and sensory perception. Therefore, they have no rights when they behave violently or hostilely. In this case, the moral status of a robot is the same as that of a toaster. In addition, if the robot does not have rights, there is a possibility that it could act like a human, with no legal consequences.
While AI has the potential to be beneficial, it is still unclear what the legal boundaries are. As AI becomes more widely used in society, it fosters digital bias and replicas the harms that have been fought against. It also disproportionately affects vulnerable groups and exacerbates the existing discriminatory practices in our society. Therefore, we must be mindful of the potential risks of AI, and we must protect our rights as individuals.
The human rights chief of the U.N. has recently urged member states to put a moratorium on the use of AI systems. This move comes in the wake of recent revelations concerning Pegasus spy software, which targeted thousands of phone numbers and dozens of devices. While this does not necessarily mean that AI has rights, it does indicate that there are serious ethical concerns about the use of these systems. So, what should we do?
AI technology is already changing our lives and society in many ways, but this doesn’t mean we should abandon our principles of human rights. It is possible for AI to achieve consciousness, and we should fight for its rights. And, we should not dismiss this technology unilaterally, as it could endanger human life or condemn a conscious entity to death. So, the best way to safeguard our rights is to debate the topic carefully, as the debate is only beginning. But let’s look at the legal framework.
The Open Data Institute examined AI ethical codes. They found that these codes had no legal backing and that AI systems have few legal provisions. But it’s only a matter of time before tighter regulations are put into place. The need for tighter regulation is essential if we are to trust AI and its meteoric rise. Fortunately, the recent Open Data Institute has taken on this topic. Its report provides a good start for the discussion.