Humans are Predisposed to Grant Rights to Human-like Robots

6th September, 2022.      //   Technology  // 

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 The more we interact with digital humans and humanoid robots, the more we see them as living beings with consciousness and personality. This raises dangers we need to address before fully integrating human-like technology in society. A Danish philosopher warns us about the biggest risks in a new book.

As humanoid robots move into society on a large scale, many of us will tend to believe they deserve to be treated morally and to some degree be granted rights similar to human rights.

This issue is the focus of a new philosophy book from University Press of Southern Denmark about our robotic present and future. The book’s title is Killing Sophia – Consciousness, Empathy and Reason in the Age of Intelligent Robots, and it was written by the Danish philosopher and tech debater Thomas Telving.

“Perceiving humanoids and digital humans as sentient beings is a natural reaction for us, because of our innate ability to empathize. It’s almost like kittens instinctually chasing their own tails; we can´t really help it. The problem is that our empathy doesn’t know what is sentient and what merely appears sentient. Because of this we will start treating human-like technology morally and eventually grant rights to robots. I warn about it because in the end it is likely to entail sacrificing real human beings on behalf what is basically stone-dead electronic devices,” said Thomas Telving.

Engaging Philosophy and Fascinating Popular Science

Killing Sophia – Consciousness, Empathy and Reason in the Age of Intelligent Robots is engaging philosophy and fascinating popular science. The author is neutral on the subject, but the reader is urged to take a stand. She or he is involved in vivid thought experiments and is presented with the latest experimental research in human-robot interaction. Research that does not always provide clear answers, but which we nevertheless must relate to.

“Human-like technology will affect the future for all of us in ways few can imagine. Knowing the hard dilemmas it poses and discussing them should not be limited to a narrow circle of academics. I tried to write a book that is both fun and dramatic so that people can engage and take a personal stand. Even if some of the dilemmas I present seem both strange and difficult,” said Thomas Telving.

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