Human rights? Always worth fighting for. Animal rights? We’re far too cruel to the creatures we share this planet with, but some limits are needed. Robot rights? The debate has just begun and it will be a long and confusing one, as evidenced by a new discussion led by a machine ethics researcher who believes that reverse cyborgs – robots that are given human parts such as brains – deserve at least partial human rights as well. How many human parts does it take for a robot to become a person? Which parts? What about the vice versa? Will the brave new world be a litigious one as well?
These questions are prompted by, as many discussions about future technology often are, sex. Specifically, the sex robots or sexbots that in 2018 became the center of attention in Vancouver, Canada and Houston, Texas, where an organization called KinkySdolls wanted to open (and was already taking appointments for) sex robot brothels like the one it operates in Toronto. These “dolls” – both female and male — allegedly provide a realistic sexual experience and are said to contain the artificial intelligence needed to respond to cues and recognize both their client’s needs and what would be considered abusive behavior of the dolls were human. How could these sexbots be made even more realistic? Why not add real human parts – possibly grown in a lab or even right on the cyborg itself?