Tagged With personhood theory

The five year long struggle to free a pair of captive chimps in the state of New York has finally come to an end. Yesterday, New York's highest court denied an appeal by the Nonhuman Rights Project, but the judges were clearly unsatisfied with their own ruling, pointing out deficiencies in the legal system's ability to deal with this "difficult ethical dilemma."

Yesterday, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a petition on behalf of three elephants being kept at a Connecticut zoo. The suit demands that the court recognise these animals as "legal persons" and release them to sanctuary, but given that the same legal team failed to secure similar personhood rights for chimps in New York, it isn't immediately clear how successful the new effort will be.

Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviours are not just harmful to robots -- they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we're better than the characters on the screen, and that when the time comes, we'll do the right thing, and treat our intelligent machines with a little more dignity and respect.