T-800, Wall-E and c3PO might look great on-screen but they are still a distant reality for us. AI (Artificial Intelligence) devices, however smart or advance they are touted to be, are yet to take over human jobs or lives.
But the world has already started to think about their legal status. As per a new draft report, The European Union is considering to regard robots (of the future) as ‘electronic persons‘. Currently, this legal definition is a way to hold companies accountable for things their robots might do but sooner or later, it will stir the beginning of the debatable question of treating robots as self-aware beings, increasingly at par with humans.
If a machine can think, decide and act on its own volition, if it can be harmed or held responsible for its actions, should we stop treating it like property and start treating it more like a person with rights? What if a robot achieves true self-awareness? Should it have equal rights with us and the same protection under the law?
Today’s Needull touches this very subject as the author, a renowned lawyer and academician, discusses the legal and philosophical implications of this landmark move. I sincerely wish Asimov was here to see this.