Much is being written about AI and Robots, their capabilities, how they are improving week by week and the potential benefits that they will have in our human lives, will they? I believe they will.
However, there are some key aspects, that seem to be underseen with all the fanfare around the initial glow of the ground-breaking milestone attributed to a Robot (intelligent or not) being given the right of citizenship in Saude Arabia.
All have to be put into context, being Saudi Arabia a country where yearly innovation investments exceed practically have of the PIB of Spain, it creates a scenario of magnitude that few can fathom (I certainly cannot but I can only imagine) where projects life Sophia can only bring greater scope to the future plans of the country.
Now, what is it that involves being a citizen? Some detail rights and responsibilities like these. In summary, and to the common people rights to vote, to marry, to expression, to a certain level of decision, and some other activities that we can do every day and that have become a routine. And responsibilities, like paying taxes, respect to others, working and giving back to the community.
Well, that all seems nice and fine, but what if a robot wants to vote, to marry, or what if a robot wants to run for president, or to have children?
Who is the owner of these robots? who built them? If we “BUY” a robot to help us at home, are we going back to running slavery? Are we responsible for their behavior? Where does ethics stand in this new scenario?
Now, if Robots can be citizens, and a citizen works and pays taxes, can a Robot be a CEO of a company? or even better, can a Robot run for President? If there are projects to have a Robot in each home, if all Robots vote for a fellow Robot to become president, can there be a Robot Party? Can we be ruled by Robots? If the manufacturer of Robots wants to doctor a country’s election… can they influence Robot personality to do so? If in the future (I am not sure how far in time will that be), Robots marry and raise children, how will these children´s personality be? Human-Robotic? Hybrid thinking? Frustrated kids for not coping with Robomom expectations? Capacity? Memory? Feelings?
When will the real hybridization between human and robot be a reality? Not only from a functionality (bionics) standpoint but also from a sensorial perception.
This debate is much much larger than anticipated and less funny than people asking Sophia if she will destroy humankind. The scope brings dimensions that may change the way we have understood life for the past centuries.