Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

Anonymous vs ISIS: Vigilante justice in the War against Terrorism

These Robots Come to the Rescue after a Disaster

La science-fiction a-t-elle perdu foi en avenir?

“Prior art” is just a fancy term for “too slow lawyering up”  (Short story)

APM, Nanotech and a Solution to Middle-Eastern Stability

How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream

ieet books

The Brain: The Story of You
David Eagleman


instamatic on 'A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS' (Nov 24, 2015)

spud100 on 'A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS' (Nov 24, 2015)

ekendal on 'Ectogenesis Offers Multiple Unique Benefits' (Nov 24, 2015)

instamatic on 'A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS' (Nov 23, 2015)

Lucifer777 on 'Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation' (Nov 23, 2015)

spud100 on 'A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS' (Nov 23, 2015)

instamatic on 'A Multifaceted Strategy to Defeat ISIS' (Nov 23, 2015)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Why it matters that you realize you’re in a computer simulation
Nov 14, 2015
(66050) Hits
(14) Comments

The Future Business of Body Shops
Nov 15, 2015
(7693) Hits
(0) Comments

Crypto Enlightenment: A Social Theory of Blockchains
Nov 1, 2015
(6941) Hits
(0) Comments

The Incoherence and Unsurvivability of Non-Anarchist Transhumanism
Oct 29, 2015
(6274) Hits
(4) Comments

IEET > Security > Cyber > SciTech > Rights > Personhood > Vision > Futurism

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (6043) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg

Does Not Compute: IEET Readers Unsure About Robot Rights

Posted: Jan 28, 2011

Asked when, if ever, a robot would deserve ‘human’ rights, respondents to a recently concluded poll of our readers showed dissatisfaction with the range of answers we offered. Almost 22% gave their own answers, and another 10% said they weren’t sure.

The #1 answer chosen, by just over 37% of respondents, was “Never, robots aren’t humans.” Among the choices we provided, the second most popular, with just 21%, was “When it passes the Turing Test.” Only about 7% said “When it possesses an uploaded personality,” and less that 3% said “When it can make a copy of itself.”

When, if ever, will a robot deserve “human” rights?

poll results

In creating polls for our readers, we always try to anticipate the most likely responses to the question posed and include them among the choices offered. Usually that works pretty well.

This time, though, nearly one in three of those who responded either gave us an answer that was not among those we listed, or they said they weren’t sure. That means the question we chose was not specific enough, or that we left out one or more of the most obvious answers.

Here are some of the “Other” answers given:

when it creates a facebook account
when it has to wear bad wigs
When it can feel pain and emotions.
when it suffers
Somewhere between Passing the Turning test and Possessing a personality.
when they are fully sentient biological robots
when it has a human brain
When it is a person
when it is conscious, and has a personality
Now why not be proactive and make sure that we are ethical
Giving robots “human” rights is a little bigoted, don’t you think
When it achieves sentience.
Will deserve superhuman rights
Based upon constitution personhood
when they can demonstrate compassion and mercy
When its character is not merely uploaded, but embodies unique experiences.
after rights have been granted all organic higher forms; humans, animals
When it asks for them
When you cannot linguistically differentiate a person from a computer
When it displays classic sentience, including the Turing (but not only)
when it feels emotions
When we have a better definition of sentience
Define human rights in a way that all humans will agree with you
Never, but they will qualify for robot rights
when it starts asking why it was created (self awareness)
when it understands what rights are and requests them for itself… just like us
When it becomes conscious
When we come to view them as peers because of the contribution they make
only if the robot is a human-hybrid.
When it can get drunk and pass out at the bar
Only if some human-robot equivalence were found.
when they become sentient
When it genuinely asks for them.
When they are capable of expressing suffering.
On “cogito ergo sum”, self-awareness
Only if my mind is inside the robot
When it reaches a sufficiently complex level of abstract learning.
when it is capable of the human behavioural code.
whe it can “feel” pain un a cognitive way, being able to stees himself
there will be robot’s rights
When they organize and demand their rights, like ever other group in the past.
only after all humans are GUARANTEED clean air, water, food, shelter, etc..
When they prove to have a conscience, and human emotions
I think there are a number of factors that are too complex to factor into a poll
when it can suffer
When it becomes self-aware.
If Robots are given emotions
Experience Pain
Would probably have to be case by case looking at many factors.
When they’re people
When they can empathically experience human mental states.
When it has a self aware personality to the degree humans have it.
When they can do the exact same things as us
As a Peter Singer utilitarian, I’d say when you can see that it suffers.
The Turing test is a good start, but I think it is too limited.
If it can act like a human it deserves human rights
when it can have a will to self-determination
never because transhumanists are antihuman criminals
When it shows that it can reflect upon and choose its plan of life.
When animals have rights first!!
When it possesses a personality similar to an upload.
No robot ever did anything to be treated as badly as we treat fellow humans.

Thank you for your participation!

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (6044) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Geopolitics in the 21st Century

Previous entry: How can a mindclone be an exact copy of a person’s mind?


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @