On 5-6 March 2018 Singularity University is organizing a conference in Prague, Czech Republic that will cover topics of artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, neuroscience, genetics, ethics, etc. The conference shall bring together people from various fields, especially executives, innovators, entrepreneurs or policy makers. More information can be found on websites of SingularityU Czech Summit.
After Sophia, the first robot that was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, another artificial entity was granted rights traditionally reserved for humans. A Japanese chatbot Shibuya Mirai was granted official residency in the Shibuya Ward in Tokyo. This chatbot is a simulation of a seven-year old boy. According to the press, “he” is enrolled in a real-life local registry and the purpose of this action wass to promote discussion with local residents on how to run local government in the district. The name can be translated as the Future of Shibuya.
Again, such as with Sophia, granting an artificial entity some kind of legal status is in this case rather symbolic. However, it might have unforeseen legal consequences. For instance, residents of Japan are guaranteed fundamental human rights as well as obliged to pay national and local taxes. As Shibuya Mirai is supposed to be a child with no income, he probably will not be obliged to pay any taxes. However, if he is supposed to have the fundamental right to life, could someone object to switching him off?
The Washington Post and other media have published information that Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a female-like robot equipped with advanced artificial intelligence. Her name is Sophia and she proclaims that she recognizes “human values such as wisdom, kindness and compassion”. This act not only stirs up controversies due to the approach of Saudi Arabia to women rights but it also raises many practical questions regarding the rights this robot has. Can she own property? Will she earn money and be able to open a bank account? Does she have the right to privacy? Could she possibly marry someone? The list of questions can be endless…
Especially interesting issue is whether this robot will get a passport and could travel. How should other states react as they do not recognize any other subjects than humans as citizens?
The original article from the Washington post is available here.
More information about Sophia can be found on the website of Hanson Robotics here.
Artificial intelligence is getting stronger and so are the people. Elon Musk has recently launched a nanobiotechnology company named Neuralink with the aim to create a brain-computer interface that would enable human brains to utilize advancements and computational powers of AI. This brain-computer interface should have a form of a so called “neural lace”; a flexible electronic mesh that would be physically interconnected with a brain and actively influence neural functioning. A prototype of such device has already been constructed (Syringe-injectable electronics). In the first phase of this project Neuralink will explore possibilities of brain-computer interfaces in alleviating brain-related diseases such as epilepsy, depression or Parkinson’s disease. Only later on the company plans to focus on enhancement of human mental capabilities with help of merging it with AI.
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On 27 January 2017 the European Parliament issued a report with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics. Full text in English here.