One of a collection of forward thinking research papers organised by Sir David King, the UK government's chief scientist, has suggested that once sentient robots have been created they will have to be given the same rights as humans.
The paper looked at Britain in 2056 and suggested that fully sentient robots would be commonplace by that time. It was written by UK management consultancy Outsights and pollsters Ipsos Mori.
It postulates that if true artificial intelligence is achieved the creation should be accorded the same rights and responsibilities as humans. These would include voting, paying tax and performing military duties.
"If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them including income support, housing and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time," the paper says.
The effects would be largely beneficial in terms of productivity but could cause problems with energy and waste, according to the scientists.
UK research calls for robot rights
By Iain Thomson on Dec 22, 2006 9:48AM