Journal of Futures Studies

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident, That All Robots Are Created Equal

Abstract

In February 2017, the European Union Parliament voted in favor of a report destined to create a legal framework around artificial intelligence. One of the report’s most controversial proposals is the suggestion to grant electronic personality to robots, thereby making them legal agents. Some commentators have stated that this amounts to giving robots the ability to possess human rights. In this paper, I will argue that the EU’s decision is not only sound, but warranted. I will discuss the possibility of conferring human rights through legal personality by using corporations and animals as case studies. Further, I will look at the human rights theories that could make this a prospect. Finally, I will address why human rights for robots are an inevitability that we need to ready ourselves for due to evolving social, political and economic realities. I will end by noting the importance of discussing robotic rights in view of future scenarios that could rock the foundation of human right theory.

Keywords: Robots, Artificial intelligence, Artilects, Human rights, Legal personality.

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Journal of Futures Studies

Tamkang University, Tamsui Campus
Taipei, Taiwan 251
Tel: 886 2-2621-5656 ext. 3001
Fax: 886 2-2629-6440

ISSN 1027-6084