29 March 2007

Non-Human Rights?

According to the BBC, an international movement is apparently gathering pace to give apes the same rights as humans. This follows the news earlier this month that South Korea is developing an ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa. The draft of a similar set of guidelines being drawn up by the European Robotics Research Network and to be released next month begins, "In the 21st Century humanity will coexist with the first alien intelligence we have ever come into contact with - robots."

Is science really equipped to deal with questions of morality? I thought not.


I, Robot
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
EVENING UPDATE: You can find the details at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, whose report starts, "Beginning a movement that may propel Spain as a leader in animal welfare, the Balearic Parliament has recently announced its approval of a resolution to grant legal rights to great apes."


Margaret said...

I thought the only right we really have is "the right to become children of God" (John 1:12) - and that is only an option for humans, who have been made in the image of God.

Manuel said...

We don't give rights to some humans, for instance embryos and unborn children, and keep debating taking them away from others, such as the elderly and mentally ill, yet we're going to give them to apes? Someone needs to get a sense of perspective and priority!

Alex said...

We now have the Animal Welfare Act in Wales, requiring us to protect our pets from pain, suffering, injury, and disease. How does that square with Parliament's opposition to euthanasia - or is it another step towards it?

TL said...

Yesterday's Times reported that Japan is also getting in on the act: The robots are running riot! Quick, bring out the red tape