AI-Robots 'With Feelings' Could be Granted Human Rights, Scientists Believe

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The growing trend to humanise cyborgs and sex robots prompted developers to grant them with the ability to say "no" to disrespectful and aggressive sexual partners a few months ago.

The legal status of AI-androids able to move and speak has been a major bone of contention between robotics developers, academics, lawmakers, and ethicists over the past few years.

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The EU parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs was the first to propose classifying sophisticated autonomous robots as "electronic persons" in May 2016 that may have "specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause, and applying electronic personality to cases where robots make smart autonomous decisions or otherwise interact with third parties independently".

Since the draft report's publication, there's been much discussion on the issues related to the liability of robots.

Speaking with Daily Star Online, Dr Oliver Bendel, professor of information systems at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, said that there's no need to grant "electronic persons" with moral rights or any personal status due to a lack of philosophical or ethical grounds.

"You only have such rights if you can feel or suffer, if you have a consciousness or a will to live. If one day robots can feel or suffer, if they have a consciousness or a will to live, they must be granted rights. But I don't see any way to get there at the moment. One could at best develop 'reverse cyborgs', i.e. let brain and nerve cells grow on technical structures or in a robot. Such reverse or inverted cyborgs might at some point feel something", he said.

Dr Jordi Vallverdú, computing philosopher and scientist, in turn, said that it was not "so important" to give robots human rights for now.

"Under the current cultural western evolution, which has recognised rights to all kinds of men and women, it is feasible and normal to affirm that the robots will be someday into the agenda".

Slightly over a year ago, an AI-robot named Sophia became the first cyborg in the world to be granted with citizenship, from Saudi Arabia.

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