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At What Point Should We Give Robots Rights, And Which Rights? (Essay Sample)


You will write a 2,200-2,600 word argumentative paper on one of the topics we cover in class. The articles that are being used as sources are listed on the syllabus that is uploaded stating from the Topic 5 until the last topic.


Robot Rights
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Robot Rights
The topic of giving robots rights has been an issue of considerable debate. Much of this debate is based on whether robots can have a conscience. The conscience is the part of the mind that tells people, whether their actions are wrong or right. It is difficult for robots to display such traits. Floreano and Keller (2010) explain that robots are not part of the evolution process, and are created to ease the burden of humans. This notion is evident in several parts of the world, for instance, in India, robots have replaced the country’s sewer workers who die each year from the inhumane working conditions (Callahan, 2017). Unlike human beings, robots are computational systems that can be backed up and duplicated into new hardware. Humans are irreplaceable individuals with a finite lifespan. However, robots are not unique and are easily replaceable. Even though robots might reach a level of cognitive abilities, such as consciousness and self-awareness, there might be issues over whether they should have similar rights as humans. Although robots should be given rights, an important consideration, therefore, would be the context in which the robots are given the rights. The primary purpose of their creation is to help human beings in any means possible. Based on the example of India, the sewerage cleaning job goes against the rights of human beings, but instead, robots have been chosen as the best replacement. Using robots, in this case, might not be considered immoral. Therefore, the context in which robots are given rights is most important. Against this backdrop, this essay will discuss the rights that robots should be provided and at what point robots should be given these rights.
Why Robots Should Have Rights
Humans have attributed moral accountability to robots by giving them emotions. According to Arbib and Fellous (2004), robots have been created with emotions to help with human interaction. The robots have been given emotional expressions and bodily postures to better imitate human interactions. However, the feelings are only simulations. Building robots with emotional attributes might lead humans to take them accountable for their actions. A study by Ackerman (2010) confirms this by analyzing how humans react to a robot’s judgment. Based on the research, the robot was designed to be socially interactive as a means of confirming to the subjects that it was able to form social relationships. However, the robot judged the subjects' choices to determine whether they would win the final prize. Thirty percent of individuals believed that the robot had emotions while fifty percent thought that it had a conscious (Ackerman, 2010). The act of a robot being able to make judgments that affect humans or take actions that might negatively influence human beings is reason enough to give them rights. A robot might malfunction and cause great harm to individuals.
An example would be a malfunction when the robot is driving and accidentally runs over a human. By acknowledging that robots can have emotional and moral attributes, then it would be essential to give them the rights to ensure that they are morally harmonized with humanity. To minimize the possibilities of robot malfunctioning, they should be given the right to be designed with a degree of being trustworthy. This would mean that they should be designed to be socially compatible, cognitively compatible, and technologically fit-for-purpose. Robots should also be given the right to be protected from an ethical system and legal systems. This right also protects the robot from being deployed without having been adequately tested and confirmed to meet professional safety and ethical standards. According to Murphy and Woods (2009), robot...

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