Scientific advancements are inevitable and are, so far, seeming to continue with endless possibilities. The unprecedented inventions that scientists are creating, experimenting, and building are things people in the past years could never have even imagined of utilizing in their daily lives: including devices that integrate artificial intelligence of the present day and the ones that will exist tomorrow. But as robots in our current society grow and develop at a prominent rate, the extent of their supposedly far-reaching abilities is becoming a debatable subject.
Currently in Europe – with more than 150 experts in ethics, law, medical science, artificial intelligence, and robots saying, “Creating a legal status of electronic ‘person’ would be ideological and nonsensical and non-pragmatic,” – legislators are starting to consider granting robots the more advanced and higher status on the “capability” class rights and human responsibilities. This touches on a person’s individualism but also how their independence as one person weaves into and creates a society that ultimately depends on each other in order to function or, more or less, thrive. Now, thriving, growing vigorously, flourishing describe the living.
The one thing that robots are not and arguable cannot be.
An argument for some, declare that the damage inflicted upon the robots and the aftermath following the damages could be solved by the independent efforts of the robots themselves if they are to be given their own legal statuses. This is primarily because of artificial intelligence’s continual advancement in contemporary society; leading to minimal instances for them to be hacked and rendered malfunctioning. Essentially, this implementation would save us money and time; two of the most important elements for humanity. The sole purpose for giving robots human rights and other legal statuses is to make the quotidian livelihood of the ordinary person more hospitable.
On the other hand, however, others refute by saying that the reason why artificial intelligence even exists in this very moment is to supplement and foster physical safety and self assurance for human beings. Under this logic, neither are they to be considered as equals, nor be positioned on a domineering status above us.
In an interview with a student from La Canada High, Jacob gives his opinion: “Although I’m someone that is interested in science, I’m actually concerned if the science part that is supposed to help humans is turning into something that brings itself to eye level of the people that are making changes happen.”
An entertainment based activity that entails robotic development and its potential perils is science fiction movies. With regards to this issue, the public opinion is deeply polarized as well. A certain number of individuals claim that the sci-fi movies about robots taking over mankind appear to be far-fetched and extreme, giving the general impression that such a phenomenon would be impossible to occur in reality. Nonetheless, another faction of people refute that contention, saying that every far-fetched idea starts with small steps: the baby steps towards that direction. Giving robots their own legal statuses could have detrimental effects.
In short, it is a commonplace fact that robots were created to serve human beings through the code that humans make: to follow orders and help improve the society that is slowly becoming heavily dependent on scientific aid such as artificial intelligence. Yet, this perfectly progressive story switches drastically – 180 degrees – when there is a possibility that robots will replace human workers ro perhaps rule over humans, or maybe even be humans. The debate is continuing and robots are not ceasing to develop: how will you respond?
Jenny Kim, Grade 9
La Canada High School