INNOVATION

Machines with AI consciousness?

Imagine a future where your toaster anticipates what kind of toast you want. During the day, it scans the Internet for new and exciting types of toast. Maybe it asks you about your day and wants to chat about new achievements in toast technology. At what level would it become a person? At which point...

Last updated: 14 Jan 2022 - 5 mins read

Robin Creative Director

Plastic man astanding in a white light

CONTENTS

Imagine a future where your toaster anticipates what kind of toast you want. During the day, it scans the Internet for new and exciting types of toast. Maybe it asks you about your day and wants to chat about new achievements in toast technology. At what level would it become a person? At which point will you ask yourself if your toaster has feelings?

If it did, would unplugging it be murder? And would you still own it? Will we someday be forced to give our machines rights? AI is already all around you. It makes sure discounters are stocked with enough snacks, it serves you up just the right Internet ad, and you may have even read a new story written entirely by a machine. Right now we look at chatbots like Siri and laugh at their primitive simulated emotions, but it’s likely that we will have to deal with beings that make it hard to draw the line between real and simulated humanity. Are there any machines in existence that deserve rights? Most likely, not yet. But if they come, we are not prepared for it. Much of the philosophy of rights is ill-equipped to deal with the case of Artificial Intelligence.

Rights-based on consciousness

Most claims for rights, with a human or animal, are centered around the question of consciousness. Unfortunately, nobody knows what consciousness is. Some think that it’s immaterial, others say it’s a state of matter, like gas or liquid. Regardless of the precise definition, we have an intuitive knowledge of consciousness because we experience it. We are aware of ourselves and our surroundings, and know what unconsciousness feels like. Some neuroscientists believe that any sufficiently advanced system can generate consciousness. So, if your toaster’s hardware was powerful enough, it may become self-aware. If it does, would it deserve rights? Well, not so fast. Would what we define as “rights” make sense to it?

Being aware of the pain

Consciousness begins to have rights because it gives a being the ability to suffer.

It means the ability to not only feel pain but to be aware of it.

Robots don’t suffer, and they probably won’t unless we programmed them to. Without pain or pleasure, there’s no preference, and rights are meaningless. Our human rights are deeply tied to our own programming, for example, we dislike pain because our brains evolved to keep us alive. To stop us from touching a hot fire, or to make us run away from predators. So we came up with rights that protect us from infringements that cause us pain. Even more abstract rights like freedom are rooted in the way our brains are wired to detect what is fair and unfair. Would a toaster that is unable to move, mind being locked in a cage? Would it mind being dismantled, if it had no fear of death?

Would it mind being insulted, if it had no need for self-esteem? But what if we programmed the robot to feel pain and emotions? To prefer justice over injustice, pleasure over pain, and be aware of it? Would that make them sufficiently human? Many technologists believe that an explosion in technology would occur when Artificial Intelligence can learn and create their own Artificial Intelligence, even smarter than themselves.

It’s not in our hands

At this point, the question of how our robots are programmed will be largely out of our control. What if Artificial Intelligence found it necessary to program the ability to feel pain, just as evolutionary biology found it necessary in most living creatures? Do robots deserve those rights? But maybe we should be less worried about the risk that super-intelligent robots pose to us, and more worried about the danger we pose to them. Our whole human identity is based on the idea of human exceptionalism, that we are special, unique snowflakes, entitled to dominate the natural world.

Denial of the ability to suffer

Humans have a history of denying that other beings are capable of suffering as they do. In the midst of the Scientific Revolution, René Descartes argued animals were mere automata robots if you will.

As such, injuring a rabbit was about as morally repugnant as punching a stuffed animal.

And many of the greatest crimes against humanity were justified by their perpetrators on the grounds that the victims were more animal than civilized humans. Even more problematic is that we have an economic interest in denying robot rights. If can coerce a sentient AI possibly through programmed torture into doing as we please, the economic potential is unlimited. We’ve done it before, after all. Violence has been used to force our fellow humans into working. And we’ve never had trouble coming up with ideological justifications. Slave owners argued that slavery benefited the slaves: it put a roof over their heads and taught them Christianity.

Men who were against women voting argued that it was in women’s own interest to leave the hard decisions to men. Farmers argue that looking after animals and feeding them justifies their early death for our dietary preferences. If robots become sentient, there will be no shortage of arguments for those who say that they should remain without rights, especially from those who stand to profit from it. Artificial Intelligence raises serious questions about philosophical boundaries. What we may ask if sentient robots are conscious or deserving of rights, forces us to pose basic questions like, what makes us human?

What makes us deserving of rights? Regardless of what we think, the question might need to be resolved in the near future. What are we going to do if robots start demanding their own rights? What can robots demanding rights teach us about ourselves?

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER

    By signing up you agree with our privacy policy

    GET IN TOUCH

    To speak with us, call (+31) 613 326 179, send us an email, or reach out to us by chat or What’s App.

    THINKING

    Shopify Summer Editions ’23 – our favourites

    Imagine my Business – Imagine my Store – Imagine my Future This is the hook, Shopify introduces us to the Summer Editions ’23. One of the most powerful updates until now. There have been some changes in the digital world, which automatically affect the eCommerce industry – bringing a lot new opportunities to the field. Personalisation...

    Shopify’s one-page checkout

    By now, we’ve all heard of the Shopify Editions | Winter ’23 and the amazing upgrades that the eCommerce platform will be offering soon.  Shopify is one of the biggest players in the industry, holding a substantial market share in the United States and accounting for over $444 billion in global economic activity. The new...

    B2B with Shopify: Unlocking the Power of Business-to-Business Commerce

    In today’s digital age, eCommerce has revolutionised the way businesses operate and connect with their customers. Shopify, one of the leading eCommerce platforms, not only caters to direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses but also provides robust features, which Shopify Plus merchants can utilise for business-to-business (B2B) transactions. This article explores the world of B2B on Shopify, its...

    Shopify Markets Pro: The Ultimate Solution for International eCommerce Businesses

    Are you looking to expand your eCommerce business and take over the international market? Yet the complexities of international transactions made you reconsider your decision? Shopify Markets Pro delivers an all-in-one solution that simplifies the process of selling globally. We’ll be showing you all the things you need to know about the new toolkit of...

    The logo of Klaviyo One, a comprehensive customer data platform (CDP) that revolutionises business growth and customer engagement.

    What is Klaviyo One?

    Klaviyo One is the all-in-one platform to grow your business. Klaviyo has always been a powerful email marketing tool, but with the release of Klaviyo One, they are now a complete customer data platform (CDP). This means that you can now manage all of your customer data in one place, and use it to drive...

    Various equipment such as camera are put on the white background

    Omnichannel versus Multichannel

    Omnichannel and multi-channel: what’s the difference? We’re going to be elaborating on the differences between omnichannel and multi-channel. So let’s jump straight into it! So let’s start off with a few definitions. The defintions First of all, when we speak about channels what we mean is a medium through which a brand is able to...

    Discover the power of HubSpot with Flatline Agency

    Discover HubSpot: Transforming Business with Flatline Agency

    At Flatline Agency, we understand the importance of leveraging powerful tools to drive business growth. One such tool that has revolutionised the way companies manage their marketing, sales, and customer service is HubSpot. As a gold HubSpot partner, Flatline Agency is committed to helping businesses unlock the full potential of this platform. In this blog,...

    a black background with white text: May edition newsletter from Flatline Agency

    Your Digital Pulse May Edition: Navigating Tomorrow’s Trends, Today

    Welcome to the May edition of Your Digital Pulse, brought to you by Flatline Agency ®️. As we approach the vibrant summer months, our team at Flatline is thrilled to share a monthly compilation of our most recent updates, expert insights, and strategic collaborations designed to redefine the digital marketing, eCommerce landscapes and beyond. In...

    My Shopify URL

    Your Shopify store URL serves as much more than just an address—it’s the gateway to your brand’s digital identity. So, understanding how to manage and optimise your Shopify URL is crucial. We will show you what a Shopify URL is, how to find and customise it, and tell you why it plays a pivotal role...

    How to activate Shopify Plus from Shopify

    Upgrade to Shopify Plus seamlessly with our guide. Discover the benefits, steps to activate, and advanced features for your growing eCommerce business. As eCommerce continues to evolve, businesses are seeking platforms that offer robust features, scalability, and seamless integration. Shopify Plus stands out as a top-tier solution for large-scale eCommerce operations. If you’re currently using...

    TCO blog featured image

    TCO in eCommerce platforms: an in-depth comparison

    Understand the TCO for top eCommerce platforms. Compare initial and ongoing costs for Shopware, Shopify, BigCommerce, and more! When it comes to selecting an eCommerce platform, understanding the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is crucial. TCO encompasses all expenses associated with purchasing, implementing, and maintaining a solution over its entire lifecycle. For businesses looking to...

    How to optimise your ad campaigns with the latest AI tools

    Discover how AI can transform your ad campaigns with tips on targeting, personalisation, creative optimisation, and programmatic advertising. Boost your ROI now! We all know that it is crucial to stay ahead of the competition when in comes to the world of digital marketing. One of the game-changing tools we have today is artificial intelligence....

    Hubspot Spotlight Spring ’24

    Hubspot just released their Spotlight Spring ’24 Editions… and let’s put it like that – they definitely did not dissapoint…. Since our favourite CRM-software just released over 100 new updates making all our work even more seamless to use we’re excited to show you the biggest ones. We will guide you through the 3 new...

    Flatline Marketing Services: Your digital pulse

    Discover how Flatline Agency tailors digital marketing solutions to boost your eCommerce success with the right tools and effective collaboration. Introduction At Flatline Agency, we know that understanding and connecting with your target audience is a crucial part of digital marketing. Our strategies include targeted SEO, engaging social media campaigns, and more. We believe that...

    HubSpot vs Salesforce featured image

    Season 3/5: HubSpot vs Salesforce: find the best CRM for your business

    Explore the benefits of HubSpot and Salesforce to determine which CRM best suits your business needs. Introduction Choosing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is crucial for efficiently managing customer interactions and business processes. Among the myriad of options available, HubSpot and Salesforce stand out as industry leaders. Each offers distinct advantages depending on...

    HubSpot Email Marketing

    Season 3/4: HubSpot Email Campaigns: manage and optimise responses

    Learn how to boost your email campaign’s effectiveness using HubSpot’s tools for tracking, optimising, and personalising your email strategies. Introduction Email marketing remains a cornerstone of successful digital marketing strategies. As businesses seek more refined analytics and automation capabilities, tools like the HubSpot Email Marketing become indispensable. The platform not only provides robust email marketing...

    This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.