If we succeed in building a very sophisticated android that seems to act like a human, at least on the surface, should the android have the same legal and social rights as we do? Why or why not?

Sophisticated androids should not have the same legal and social rights as humans. Androids lack the ability to formulate original thoughts or feel human emotions. They function based only on codes and algorithms that have been created and inserted into the machines by human developers. Any attempt by the android to manipulate therefore comes from human inputs. The legal system cannot depend on machines to understand nuanced concepts of right or wrong or hold machines liable when they do not.

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If we succeed in building a very sophisticated android that seems to act much like a human, at least on the surface, the android should not have the same legal and social rights as humans have because the android lacks the essence, soul, or je ne sais quoi that makes...

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If we succeed in building a very sophisticated android that seems to act much like a human, at least on the surface, the android should not have the same legal and social rights as humans have because the android lacks the essence, soul, or je ne sais quoi that makes humans human. The android "learns" to emulate human thinking through artificial intelligence, but lacks the ability to formulate original thoughts or to feel human emotions such as love or hurt.

The android also lacks an innate sense of justice and only learns black and white concepts. The legal system therefore cannot depend on high functioning machines to feel emotional attachment to concepts of right or wrong. The machines can only discern what the cut-and-dried legal outlines around issues are and cannot understand nuance. Androids cannot be held accountable for any infringement on the law or derive protection from the legal system because at the end of the day, it is human beings who are controlling the android. Androids are not HAL from A Space Odyssey; HAL does not exist.

In Europe, legislators are grappling with and debating issues around artificial intelligence and smart machines that touch upon some sensitive related issues that help shed light on this question. The European Union proposed artificial intelligence regulation in April prohibiting the use of artificial intelligence in some situations and imposing substantial regulation on those considered high-risk users.

Among the bans included in the EU proposals are those around manipulative or exploitative artificial intelligence systems. The proposed legislation seeks to address what experts note are "dark patterns" that some industry experts believe are designed to deceive consumers and induce them to divulge sensitive personal information that could be used by the people who have developed the artificial intelligence system and included these so-called dark patterns. However, an important distinction to be made, vis-à-vis the question about legal rights, is the machine is not the equivalent of the human developers that produced it. The potential dark pattern element of artificial intelligence is a function of the coder's (in other words, a human being) algorithms and not an innate desire to deceive on the part of the machine.

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