Can ‘robots’ acquire human rights?

This issue is explored extensively in certain Sci-Fi movies – and immediately many will have clicked on some other link, ruled by System 1 thinking. Those blessed with an innate or acquired portion of System 2 thinking may stay on a bit longer. Sci-Fi is only a stage upon which we can explore issues that we’re not allowed to debate. Huh? Allowed? Yes – in England for example young children, especially those grown up 30 years or so ago, were told that they should not engage in discussions about religion and politics with their friends, family or acquaintances. So later in life, they act this out, by avoiding real life debate on these things – believing attitudinally that ‘it is not allowed’.

Indeed many of the issues explored in Sci-Fi are about religion and politics. Other issues are ethics, morality and law – but this is not a complete list. Those who watch Sci-Fi and see ‘just Sci-Fi’ represent the small-minded and narrow-minded of this world. Oooooo…ooooh.. how arrogant – you know – this is England, ‘You can’t go around making statements like that– people are gonna take you out’. Like ama shaking in fear – not! That’s how it goes over here. You dare not criticise or make an sweeping statements about stupid people. Instead you have to join in that cultural camaraderie of fools, show sympathy and empathy, and be supportive and ooooh so tolerant.

Why are you still here? For your ‘sins’ look at this – or you can leave now.

In this clip (left) the issues explored are not actually ‘what is a robot’, but the very nature of what defines us as ‘human’. Those who see ‘just Sci-Fi’ – are likened by me to swine trampling on pearls as if it were their own excrement.

 

Battlestar Galactica (BSG) – video below and left – has actually explored our humanity far deeper than most people know. The cylons (not cyclons or clyons) – were machines who had come to mimic every aspect of humanity. Yes – they love, have sex and even achieved sexual reproduction. Some of them are even prettier looking than mere humans. Oh dear, well that makes it instant rubbish – don’t it? Why are you still here?

BSG has gone further and deeper into exploring issues of ethics, law, mysticism and the darker sides of human nature from the so-called ‘toaster’ perspective. You’d have to watch the film to grasp that.

BSG 2004, is a very very deep series. You can’t get into it until you understand the characters. A major distraction is Tricia Helfer – which causes most men and even NUP_111711_1382women to think it’s sex-fi – as they are blinded by their own biases.

Helfer plays a most important double and even quadruple role in BSG. Simple minds will be strained by all this. In part of this scene she is a cylon who is tortured. In the film itself we see how rape is used as a method of torture, not just by humans but by their cylon creations too. ‘In their image’ – comes to mind.

As cylons come to be recognised as very similar – though superior in some ways – to the humans, ‘rights’ come into focus. They are at times categorised as machines or toasters. Those who know little of the categorisation of ‘negroes’ as ‘animals’ by most involved at the time with the slave trade (yes the one that most of Europe was involved in), will fail to see the relevance of this.

Today prohibition of Slavery is an international Human Right – and only one of two absolute Human Rights. BSG explores these rights. And of course the whole issue about creating robots is to make them do things that we don’t particularly like doing, or getting them to do it better. Of course, BSG goes further to explore what happens when robots begin to have the capacity to have sex and emotions – yes – you read that correctly.  ( Sure – you know that they never will achieve those things, as much as my late grandfather could never have conceived of a computer in the hand or faster than sound travel. ) Slave masters and mistresses were well pleased to have sex with the ‘animals’ as we know. Not much complaints there – innit. This theme is played out in BSG in similar and different ways. Am I saying that humans will have sex with robots one day? – someone is about to ask. Yes – you just had to ask it. Well, my answer is ‘yes’.

Sci-Fi – a lot of it – has an often common theme at its heart: the exploration of what happens when robots gain sentience. It’s a crisis approaching, and it’s time all of us with sufficient intellect start thinking about it. However, it’s not likely that more than about 1% of humanity at the moment will be interested. The rest of us are far too busy foraging for food or engaged in other ‘primary process issues’ [important term to Google].

And finally – I’m not interested in your fav Sci-Fi, what’s better, and what you think is crap. Why? I’m not a Sci-Fi fan! You don’t get it – I’m only interested in the depths of the issues played out in Sci-Fi; not Sci-Fi itself.

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