from the world's big
Will robots have rights in the future?
Perhaps sooner than we think, we'll need to examine the moral standing of intelligent machines.
PETER SINGER: If we become capable of developing artificial general intelligence at such a high level that we're convinced we have actually created a conscious being, a being who can not only sort of express desires or wants but actually feels something inside, has experiences, is capable of feeling joy or sorrow or misery. If we get to that point and I certainly don't think we're there yet but we may get there one day. Then there will be a lot of ethical issues because then we will have created beings like us. And the question has to be raised so do they then have rights like us. And I would say well, why not. If they really are conscious and if they're also able to think, understand themselves. If they're self-aware in the way we are then I think we ought to give as much concern and weight to their interests and their wants as we would give to any one of us.
I've argued that throughout history we have expanded the circle of moral concern from initially it just being our own tribe to a nation race and now all human beings. And I've been arguing for expanding beyond just human beings to all sentient creatures, all beings capable of feeling pain, enjoying their life, feeling miserable. And that obviously includes many nonhuman animals. If we get to create robots that are also capable of feeling pain then that will be somewhere else that we have to push the circle of moral concern backwards because I certainly think we would have to include them in our moral concern once we've actually created beings with capacities, desires, wants, enjoyments, miseries that are similar to ours.
Exactly where we would place robots would depend on what capacities we believe they have. I can imagine that we might create robots that are limited to the intelligence level of nonhuman animals, perhaps not the smartest nonhuman animals either. They could still perform routine tasks for us. They could fetch things for us on voice command. That's not very hard to imagine. But I don't think that that would be a sentient being necessarily. And so if it was just a robot that we understood how exactly that worked it's not very far from what we have now. I don't think it would be entitled to any rights or moral status. But if it was at a higher level than that, if we were convinced that it was a conscious being then the kind of moral status it would have would depend on exactly what level of consciousness and what level of awareness. Is it more like a pig, for example. Well, then it should have the same rights as a pig which, by the way, I think we are violating every day on a massive scale by the way we treat pigs in factory farms. So I'm not saying such a robot should be treated like pigs are being treated in our society today.
On the contrary. It should be treated with respect for their desires and awareness and their capacities to feel pain and their social nature. All of those things that we ought to take into account when we are responsible for the lives of pigs. Also, we would have to take into account when we're responsible for the lives of robots at a similar level. But if we created robots who were at our level then I think we would have to give them really the same rights that we have. There would be no justification for saying ah yes, but we're a biological creature and you're a robot. I don't think that has anything to do with the moral status of a being.
- If eventually we develop artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to experience emotions like joy and suffering, should we grant it moral rights just as any other sentient being?
- Theoretical philosopher Peter Singer predicts the ethical issues that could ensue as we expand the circle of moral concern to include these machines.
- A free download of the 10th anniversary edition of The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty is available here.
The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty: 10th Anniversary ed. Edition
- AIs should have the same ethical protections as animals | Aeon Ideas ›
- We have greater moral obligations to robots than to humans - Big ... ›
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.