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Why Don't Robots Have Rights? A Lawyer's Response


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Illustration of two female cyborg heads in profile view.

Do we accept the notion that an entity can be entitled to "rights" depending on how humans evaluate its abilities to think and feel?

In the October 31, 2022 Big Think article, "Why don’t robots have rights?", writer Jonny Thomson worries that "future generations will look back aghast at our behavior” when humans can "no longer exploit or mistreat advanced robots" as will presumably be the case in the 21st century.

Dangerous in Thomson's piece, however, is the notion that an entity's rights depend upon whether other human beings subjectively deem that entity smart enough and emotional enough. When some humans in power can deem otherwise peaceful humans as deserving fewer rights based upon subjective criteria, the concept of "rights" devolves to "acceptability" and "permissions."

From Mind Matters News
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