Robot rights

From the "the distinction between social science and science fiction may not be all that great" department:

Robots could demand legal rights.

Courtesy of the BBC (of course).

The UK's chief science advisor commented that ""We're not in the business of predicting the future, but we do need to explore the broadest range of different possibilities to help ensure government is prepared in the long-term and considers issues across the spectrum in its planning." Where have I heard something like that before? Oh yes, here:

“All they’re [science fiction authors] trying to do is tell you what they’re like, and what you’re like—what’s going on—what the weather is now, today, this moment, the rain, the sunlight, look! Open your eyes: listen, listen.” (from Ursula LeGuin's Introduction to her marvelous novel The Left Hand of Darkness)

In both cases, we have imaginative extrapolation for the sake of shedding some light on the present -- and perhaps helping us prepare to face the future by revealing possibilities and potentialities that we weren't aware of before.

Food for thought.

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