A Robot's Bill of Rights?
As the pace of technology advances and machines get smarter, should robots be granted legal rights? Some countries are already laying the groundwork.
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people." - NRA slogan
Whether or not you agree with the NRA's argument against gun control, it is worth noting that it relies on a common-sense legal principle that the tools of mankind's creation do not perpetrate crimes. After all, objects such as guns hold no legal standing. Yet as the pace of technology advances, and machines get smarter, should they?
In the past, humans have principally been concerned with the threat of harm that machines represent toward our species, as well as the legal liabilities that are growing more evident with the use of robots in military operations. And yet, in recent years there has also been increasing concern over the harm that humans might inflict on machines or robotic toys.
As Wired notes, "YouTube is full of videos of idiots dousing Elmo with gas, setting him on fire, and laughing as his red fur turns to charcoal and he writhes in a painful dance." In high-tech South Korea, where the government plans to put a robot in every home by 2020, officials have considered codes of conduct for the human interaction with robots. In England, a Department of Trade and Industry study in 2007 suggested that in 20 to 50 years robots could be granted rights, although the report was roundly criticized.
As robots have yet to be developed as intelligent and autonomous entities, the conventional wisdom is it may be a bit premature to grant them equal protection under the law.
Yet so-called "robo-rights" advocates point out that animal rights groups of the 19th century were similarly ridiculed for their support of laws protecting animals. And if we can foresee robots reaching a stage of animal-like intelligence in the near future, the lack of legal protection for robots would undermine animal cruelty statutes.
A group called The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots boasts this website, which features a faq section complete with the answers to common queries. Way up top is the question of whether the group is serious.
Are they? The answer reads:
"The ASPCR is, and will continue to be, exactly as serious as robots are sentient."
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Younger Americans support expanding the Supreme Court and serious political reforms, says new poll.
- Americans under 40 largely favor major political reforms, finds a new survey.
- The poll revealed that most would want to expand the Supreme Court, impose terms limits, and make it easier to vote.
- Millennials are more liberal and reform-centered than Generation Z.
A 2020 study published in the journal of Psychological Science explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- In 2019, researchers at Stanford Engineering analyzed the spread of fake news as if it were a strain of Ebola. They adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once to better understand how fake news spreads and gains traction.
- A new study published in 2020 explores the idea that fake news can actually help you remember real facts better.
- "These findings demonstrate one situation in which misinformation reminders can diminish the negative effects of fake-news exposure in the short term," researchers on the project explained.
Previous studies on misinformation have already paved the way to a better understanding<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU1NzQ4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjE2Mjg1Nn0.hs_xHktN1KXUDVoWpHIVBI2sMJy6aRK6tvBVFkqmYjk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C800%2C0%2C823&height=700" id="fc135" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="246bb1920c0f40ccb15e123914de1ab1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fake news concept of misinformation and fake news in the media" />
How does misinformation spread?
Credit: Visual Generation on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is the "continued-influence" effect?</strong></p><p>A challenge in using corrections effectively is that repeating the misinformation can have negative consequences. Research on this effect (referred to as "continued-influence") has shown that information presented as factual that is later deemed false can still contaminate memory and reasoning. The persistence of the continued-influence effect has led researchers to generally recommend avoiding repeating misinformation. </p><p>"Repetition increases familiarity and believability of misinformation," <a href="https://engineering.stanford.edu/magazine/article/how-fake-news-spreads-real-virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the study explains</a>.</p><p><strong>What is the "familiarity-backfire" effect?</strong></p><p>Studies of this effect have shown that increasing misinformation familiarity through extra exposure to it leads to misattributions of fluency when the context of said information cannot be recalled. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797620952797#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2017 study</a> examined this effect in myth correction. Subjects rated beliefs in facts and myths of unclear veracity. Then, the facts were affirmed and myths corrected and subjects again made belief ratings. The results suggested a role for familiarity but the myth beliefs remained below pre-manipulation levels. </p>