Robots will have civil rights by 2045, claims creator of 'I will destroy humans' android

Dr David Hanson says robots will be able to vote by 2045 – the same year some predict the singularity will take place

Anthony Cuthbertson
Friday 25 May 2018 11:12 BST
Sophia, an artificially intelligent (AI) humanoid robot, was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia in 2017
Sophia, an artificially intelligent (AI) humanoid robot, was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia in 2017

A leading roboticist who developed an advanced humanoid robot has predicted that artificially intelligent androids will be given civil rights within 30 years.

Dr David Hanson, whose Sophia robot once said it wanted to “destroy humans”, made the predictions in a research paper titled ‘Entering the Age of Living Intelligence Systems and Android Society’.

Advances with artificial intelligence will mean computers will be able to match the general intelligence of a one-year-old human by 2029, and will require the same rights as humans by 2045, the paper – published ahead of the release of the new PlayStation 4 game Detroit: Become Human – claims.

This is the same year that noted futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that the technological singularity will take place – the point in time when artificial intelligence will surpass that of human intelligence, leading to an an “intelligence explosion” that could ultimately result in human extinction.

“As people’s demands for more generally intelligent machines push the complexity of AI forward, there will come a tipping point where robots will awaken and insist on their rights to exist, to live free, and to evolve to their full potential,” Dr Hanson’s paper states.

“We will be forced to decide whether we can accept a greater, more inclusive vision of what it means to be human.”

According to Dr Hanson, advanced robots will have the right to marry, own land and vote in general elections by 2045.

Dr Hanson’s Sophia robot has already officially been granted one aspect of civil rights, that of citizenship. In 2017, Saudi Arabia bestowed citizenship on Sophia as part of the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative.

“I am very honoured and proud of this unique distinction,” Sophia told the audience at the time. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognised with citizenship.”

Increased automation is presenting many countries around the world with new regulatory issues

During a previous demonstration of Sophia’s abilities in March 2016, Dr Hanson asked the robot: “Do you want to destroy humans? Please say no.”

Sophia responded. “OK. I will destroy humans.”

Dr Hanson’s latest paper, which marks the launch of a new computer game in which androids attempt to establish their own rights in society, concludes: “We must respect the possible positive and negative consequences in order to rise to the occasion, lest we go into the future unprepared, and risk sacrificing our humanity for the sake of convenience.

“We should use every tool we have to consider and steer the outcomes way from dangers, and towards the benefit of humanity and life in general."

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