Will Robots Ever Have Rights?

Indramat REMAN and Indramat Repair

People generally agree that humans have rights. Everyone should be treated with a certain level of respect and decency. Some people believe that animals also have rights. They believe that you shouldn’t be cruel to animals whether that animal is wild, domesticated, or livestock. Those animals are entitled to a certain level of treatment in the same way as people. Once you get into the realm of robot rights, however, the supporters start to thin out a bit. You don’t have people championing a 40-hour work week for robotic arms, and no one holds picket signs that read, “Free the Roomba”.

Today’s robots aren’t free-thinking, sentient beings. They are made of metals and alloys and servos and hydraulics, and they simply do what they are programmed to do. That robotic arm that’s part of your motion control system thinks and feels as much as a stump does. Should a tree stump have rights? No. Should today’s robots have rights? Probably not.

Robots currently don’t have rights, and probably don’t need them, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever have rights. Will artificially intelligent robots ever get to the point where they need to have rights?

When you think of the mindless robots that make our cars or clean our floors, it’s hard to imagine a need for robot rights. As amazing as industrial motion control systems are, they’re just machines without thoughts or feelings. It’s a different matter when you bring AI into the mix, however. Artificial intelligence is getting more sophisticated every day. Currently AI can “make decisions” based on data through complex algorithms, but that’s about it. This semblance of intelligence doesn’t even merit the need for rights. It’s possible, though, that we could one day see artificially intelligent robots capable of understanding thoughts and feelings affect human behavior, or even self-aware AI.

These two types of AI don’t exist at the moment. If one day these types of AI do exist, however, we would have to reconsider whether or not robots should have rights.

Your Indramat motion control system may not have rights, but you should still take care of it! Call us today for repair, maintenance, evaluation, or any of your Inramat service needs.