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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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Can machines have rights?

Can machines have rights?

(p.596) Chapter 63 Can machines have rights?
Living machines

David J. Gunkel

Oxford University Press

One of the enduring concerns of ethics is determining who is deserving of moral consideration. Although initially limited to “other men,” ethics has developed in such a way that it challenges its own restrictions and comes to encompass what had been previously excluded entities. Currently, we stand on the verge of another fundamental challenge to moral thinking. This challenge comes from the autonomous and increasingly intelligent machines of our own making, and it puts in question many deep-seated assumptions about who or what can be a moral subject. This chapter examines whether machines can have rights. Because a response to this query primarily depends on how one characterizes “moral status,” it is organized around two established moral principles, considers how these principles apply to artificial intelligence and robots, and concludes by providing suggestions for further study.

Keywords:   artificial intelligence, ethics, machine, moral philosophy, moral status, rights, robots

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