• Question: Will we ever have to allow robots rights? For example, if our coffee machine became self-aware, would unplugging him be considered murder? Also, would using robots in resource collection (e.g. Mining for resources) Would we have to pay them, otherwise, could it be considered slavery?

    Asked by GutterGutterGutter to Deborah on 23 Jun 2017.
    • Photo: Deborah Aitken

      Deborah Aitken answered on 23 Jun 2017:

      Given that there are lots of rules about the treatment of animals (even ones that aren’t self aware like insects) there would have to be rules if robots were self aware yes. The robots would need to exist in conditions that were appropriate so while paying them might not be the way forwards, they would need somewhere to live etc. However, I suspect that if giving a machine self-awareness were possible then it would be strictly regulated to only things which needed to be self-aware to avoid learning that your only purpose is to pass the butter.