( A ten minute read)
“I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,” she said. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.”
The recent PR stunt by Saudi Arabia pretending to give a robot
citizenship helps no one.
Sophia is essentially a cleverly built puppet designed to exploit our cultural expectations of what a robot looks and sounds like.
It is however opening a whole new box by exploiting the misconceptions about AI and robots (particularly how advanced they are) degrading the concept of rights for actual living, breathing humans, in order to sell an illusion.
What is this about?
It’s about having a supposed equal you can turn on and off.
Giving AI anything close to human rights will allow firms to “pass off both legal and tax liability to these completely synthetic entities.”
It’s a wake up call because we will have to have debates about robot/AI rights and citizenship, because at some point they will ask for them.
Avoiding the question altogether, though, may be difficult, what exactly does it mean to give a Robot Citizenship?
In reality, humans have no rights, just as chimps or wolves have no rights.
Cut open a human, and you won’t find there any rights.
The only place where human rights exist is in the stories we invent and tell one another.
Take for example our legal systems. Today, most legal systems are based on a belief in human rights. But human rights are a fiction.
However given the vast inequalities of the world, shouldn’t we at last ask the question?
Being a citizen in one place could mean being a legal person everywhere else.
For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1948, applies to “all peoples and all nations” and does not limit its effect to citizens.
Although U.N. resolutions are not enforceable, international law holds the declaration as an authoritative reference for human rights. Numerous subsequent human rights treaties, including the covenant, are based on it.
59 years later, the frontier of human rights is still being bloodily negotiated: our world is less global than we like to think. A generous reading of the declaration’s impact on Sophia is that she has all of the rights it identifies.
Then if you look at the US Constitution.
Under the US Constitution, citizens can vote, serve on juries, and get elected to public office; corporations cannot.
If Hanson—or any other forward-thinking A.I. developer—is thinking of the long-term consequences of citizenship for A.I. and robots, these are important rights that they gain controllable access to with an artificial citizen.
She’s arguably eligible for naturalization and U.S. citizenship:
What is undeniable is that the decision by Saudi Arabia has forced us to think harder about the future and our increasingly close relationship with robots.
To me, identity is a multidimensional construct.
It sits at the intersection of who we are biologically, cognitively, and as defined by every experience, culture, and environment we encountered.
It’s not clear where Sophia fits in this description.
In essence, it may not matter if Sophia isn’t conscious, or if the concept of identity for a robot is tricky to pin down, or that laws would have to change to accommodate synthetic person hood, because it may still be worth giving humanoid robots some form of legal protection because of the impact mistreating them can have on human psychology.
Where does it all stop?
How does it affect people if they think you can have a citizen that you can buy.
Everything in the universe might be conscious, or at least potentially conscious, or conscious when put into certain configurations. Anything at all could be conscious, providing that the information it contains is sufficiently interconnected and organised.
In principle the same might apply to the internet, or a smart phone, or a thermostat. The ethical implications are unsettling: might we owe the same care to conscience machines that we bestow on animals?
We don’t know how the brains of mammals create consciousness, we have no grounds for assuming it’s only the brains of mammals that do so – or even that consciousness requires a brain at all.
A smart phone could be conscious, could you ever know that it was true?
Surely only the smart phone itself could ever know that?
70,000 years ago humans were insignificant animals. The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were unimportant. Their impact on the world was very small, less than that of jellyfish, woodpeckers or bumblebees.
Today, however, humans control this planet.
How did we reach from there to here?
What was our secret of success, that turned us from insignificant apes minding their own business in a corner of Africa, into the rulers of the world?
Humans control the world because we are the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers.
Cooperation is not always nice, of course. All the terrible things humans have been doing throughout history are also the product of mass cooperation. Prisons, slaughterhouses and concentration camps are also systems of mass cooperation.
We can cooperate with numerous strangers because we can invent fictional stories, spread them around, and convince millions of strangers to believe in them.
As long as everybody believes in the same fictions, we all obey the same laws, and can thereby cooperate effectively. There are plenty of things that the vast majority of the world would agree on, if there was any suitable body that could act at that level.
If I am a chimp and I want to cooperate with you, I must know you personally: What kind of chimp are you? Are you a nice chimp? Are you an evil chimp? How can I cooperate with you if I don’t know you?
The more certain the science becomes, the less concern we find it.
The amount of sharing we’d need to do to genuinely solve the world’s biggest problems is still politically impossible. So if we want to see more sharing, our task is to broaden the realms of the politically possible, one step at a time.
Maybe we’re approaching a point where we can actually harness this knowledge, make radical progress in how we treat one another, and become a species worthy of the title Homo sapiens.
People are capable of exceeding expectations in ways that computers cannot.
I don’t believe human society is ready yet for citizen robots. To grant a robot citizenship is a declaration of trust in a technology that I believe is not yet trustworthy. It brings social and ethical concerns that we as humans are not yet ready to manage.
We have many challenges that we need to overcome before we can truly trust these systems. For example, we don’t yet have reliable mechanisms to assure us that these intelligent systems will always behave ethically and in accordance with our moral values, or to protect us against them taking a wrong action with catastrophic consequences.
The computer has not yet been invented that can invent another computer. Present-day computers do not possess creativity.
Today, the Internet enables sharing to take place at breakneck speeds. Sharing is at the heart of what makes us social. Unfortunately what we actually do every day conflicts with what we know we should do.
We need to find the right motivations for people to change their behavior.
Why because we humans now live in dual world. We are constructed a second layer of make-believe reality.
Up to now Non-conscious humanoids did not exist, of course.
It could be augured that Sophia up to a point has comparable awareness because of its program’s.
No spark of awareness inside.
The central tragedy of modern life.
One-on-one, humans are embarrassingly similar to chimpanzees, probable the reason why consciousness hasn’t been explained:
it’s that humans aren’t up to the job, consciousness is just brain states.
The human mind is incapable of comprehending is itself, but robots will.
And Just in case you think this is all a joke:
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ‘BOY’ SHIBUYA MIRAI HAS JUST BECOME WORLD’S FIRST AI BOT TO BE GRANTED RESIDENCY IN TOKYO.
As with all things in this world of ours money is probably the most successful fiction ever invented by humans.
Even thought we have an emerging ‘global public’, largely thanks to the internet. Money and profit will determining the outcome.
Take Estonia of instance.
- Estonia’s economic ministry is considering granting AI and robots a legal status
- This would make them ‘robot agents’ and not merely someone’s property
- The legislation could help determine responsibility when AI-controlled machinery is involved in an accident
The status would sit somewhere between having a ‘separate legal personality’, like a corporation, and being an object that is someone else’s ‘personal property’.
Despite the behavior of those world leaders who yearn for the old days (hello, Mr Putin. Mr Trump. Mrs May.)the nation state idea isn’t as powerful as it was, but it’s still the organizing dynamic in international relations, and it’s still all about the national interest.
Scratch my back and I will scratch yours is waning.
Of course, these questions need to be addressed with all new technologies.’ If we don’t have the legal and ethical frameworks in place we can all kiss our rear-buts goodbye.
It is of utmost important to address these issues head-on and not put it on the long figure like climate change.
I can only hope the United nations has the balls to stand up and condemn this cultural vandalism.
The principle of sharing is ubiquitous in society so let Ireland be the first nation to set up a Tax Haven for Robots.
Of course, it does nothing to solve the underlying injustices.
Spot the Robot if you can.
What race is the robot?
Do they get to decide by the skin they put on?
Is it white?
I’m pretty sure it is not black.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.