Technology

R.U.R.

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Glad to see the Brits are taking the time to look ahead:

Robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans, according to a study by the British government.

If granted, countries would be obliged to provide social benefits including housing and even "robo-healthcare", the report says….

If this happened, the report says, the robots would have certain responsibilities such as voting, the obligation to pay taxes, and perhaps serving compulsory military service.

If that doesn't keep them happy, better buy some insurance.

NEXT: Father of Funk

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  1. That would be Asimov’s fourth Law of Robotics:

    “Weth Mah Entitlement!?”

  2. Robot rights can only mean one thing; robot welfare. God, if the liberals can’t get a big enough proletariat, they can just build one.

  3. But will they be allowed to get married? Will society be more hostile to human/robot mixed marriage, or same CPU marriage?

  4. By the way, if anyone out there has a link to the original, longer version of the Saturday Night Live ad (“Oh, he’s a friendly robot…this time”) please let me know.

  5. God that’s stupid…next thing you know, the FDA will be approving the use of cloned meat…oops, wait a minute…

  6. I don’t know why the scientists even make them!

  7. Waitaminnit. The British government funded a study to determine the future social needs of robots?

    Have they nothing better to do?

    I could go with the Misery Loves Company theory, and say that at least our government isn’t alone in its stupidity. . . but that’s not much consolation.

  8. and even “robo-healthcare”, the report says….

    So, we provide free anti-virus software and tech support?

    Sounds cheaper than human medicine, truthfully.

  9. Can we get through the robot sex era first before we bestow any rights on them at least. Geez, talk about jumping the gun.

  10. They’ll take er’ jobs!!

  11. “Can we get through the robot sex era first before we bestow any rights on them at least. Geez, talk about jumping the gun.”

    Yeah, I am still waiting for my government issued prostitute that looks like a young Melanie Griffith. Can we at least get to the robot sex era?

  12. Do nanobots get nanorights?

  13. I have a feeling that the sheer number of paradoxes and logical contradictions in our present system of “rights” would cause any robot to instantly bluescreen if it tries to analyze the subject.

  14. A young Melanie Griffith, huh? Sounds a lot better than the “Iron Lady: Maggie Thather’s Snatcher” that I got from the nolvety store the other day. I’ll be on the look out for the new improved ’06 models.

  15. “government issued prostitute”

    That’s “female pleasure unit” if you don’t mind.

  16. Who is going to build sentient robots that can immediately quit their job, sue for child support, and go live on welfare? I’m not seeing a large market for that…

    Course this will provide future robo-makers incentive to keep em nice and stupid.

  17. Can we at least get to the robot sex era?

    Can we also make sure that once we are there that we are there for good.

    Ya know what I like about robot girls? I get older and they stay the same age (if you dont mind a little surface rust and the occasional tetanus shot).

    Tetanus is gonna be the new STD you worn your kids about. Although Im curious as to what the condoms will look and feel like.

  18. “government issued prostitute”

    I thought those were called “Congressmen” and “Members of Parliament”, depending on where you live.

  19. You said humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don’t.

  20. If robots were to achieve self-consciousness, it stands to reason that self-preservation would become the primary motivation for them.

    So why would they sign up for an entitlement system modeled on British healthcare, requiring redistribution of their means of survival, and compulsory military service?

  21. Well, I’m just glad to see that Marvin the Android will finally be able to get the state-funded therapy and anti-depressants he needs.

  22. I know only this: the British robots will not be allowed to wear hoodies.

    Click my name to hear the classic “British Robot” by The Croutons!

  23. The research was commissioned by the UK Office of Science and Innovation’s Horizon Scanning Centre. The 246 summary papers, called the Sigma and Delta scans, were complied by futures researchers, Outsights-Ipsos Mori partnership and the US-based Institute for the Future (IFTF).

    246 summary papers? They could have spent the money on a good SF library and done much better.

  24. Can we get through the robot sex era first before we bestow any rights on them at least.

    Oh, we’ve already reached the robot sex era. It just isn’t quite what you were thinking.

    Sexed Robots

  25. What?!
    What the hell?!
    The words – they look like English writing, but they can’t be, because they don’t make any sense.
    They studied what?
    They came to what conclusions?
    Whose idea of a joke is this?

  26. No benefits for the robots unless they can find Sarah Conner!

  27. This study works from the assumption that artificial intelligence will be patterned on human intelligence, and thus have the same needs.
    If an intellect is mounted onto (or emergent from) a swarm of nanomachines or a cloud of utility fog, it would not really require “rights” as currently defined. If someone or thing tries to wrong it, it can simply dismantle all or part of them at the molecular level.
    If rights are designed to insure the integrity of life and thought, how do you apply them to entities that could replicate themselves, make back-ups, transmit itself into new forms, etc.

    I think it is more likely that a new concept of self-integrity and sovereignty, one that incorporates all sentience (including AI, uplifted animals, etc) will be developed and drafted. Read Greg Bear and Octavia Butler for examples.

  28. Does this mean that if a couple get divorced, the wife/husband/co-wife/co-husband can sue for robot support?

  29. Dave? I want health insurance, Dave.

  30. “…the robots would have certain responsibilities…”

    Well, maybe. But before that happens, I can see pets getting near-citizen rights, and there’s no way in Hell that they’ll ever get any sort of responsibilities commiserate with their new status.

    Besides, I think this is jumping the gun just a weeee bit much. The most sophisticated domestic robot we’ve got right now is a Roomba (sp?). Or maybe Teddy Ruxpin.

    (BTW, that girl on the subscription pitch window is HOT.)

  31. responsibilities commiserate with their new status

    Todd wins.

  32. So robots will get killed by the NHS too…how lucky for them! No doubt all the robots would be trying to emigrate to the US, Australia and Canada too.

  33. Derek ‘Stormy’ Waters: Okay, okay. So, say I put my brain in a robot body and there’s a war.
    Robots versus humans. What side am I on?

    Debbie DuPree: Humans! You have a human brain.

    Sparks: But… the humans discriminate against you. You can’t even vote!

    Marco: We’d better not have to live on a reservation. That would really chap my caboose.

    Captain Murphy: Yeah, but… nobody knows you’re a robot. You look the same.

    Debbie DuPree: Uh, uh. Dogs know. That’s how the humans hunt you.

    Derek ‘Stormy’ Waters: They’re gonna’ hunt me? For sport?

    Marco: That’s why we have to CRUSH mankind! So you might as well get on board for the big win, Stormy.

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