DimWit Politics

The Identity Politics of Robots

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The Identity Politics of Robots

The Identity Politics of Robots
April 17
16:05 2018

The most recent indication of political dementia has to do with robots. You know, those amazing machines we humans created as major labor and life-saving devices.

There is a proposal floating around the European Union Parliament that robots should be granted legal personhood. No, this is not a rehash of a sci-fi movie plot. I am still having a hard time getting my head around those efforts to give legal standing to dogs and trees, and now this.

The theory is that a robot would have legal rights and responsibilities. Robots, according to the proponents of the idea, would have to get their own liability insurance in case they hurt someone. I suppose this means that they could be sued – maybe even file suits. Would they be required to have bank accounts in their own name?

Just consider sexual partnering between humans and robots with human rights? On second thought, let’s not consider it and just move on.

Some argue that if corporations can be considered legal “persons” – and they can – why not robots? Hmmmm. Maybe because a corporation is a collective made up of lots of real persons of the Homo sapien variety and robots are made up of nuts, bolts and circuitry.

All this poses the question: What is a robot? The obvious robots-as-people would be those bipedal manufactured machines that resemble Star Wars’ C3po – that shiny brass man-gadget that has the comportment of a British gentleman’s gentleman. But, what about that do-it-itself little vacuum cleaner? Or those disembodied arms that weld together car frames? And for that matter, what about self-driving cars?

Ever since mankind invented insurance, we humans have been held responsible for the machines we invent, own and operate. We may call it “car insurance,” but slam your 9-year-old Ford into your neighbor’s brand new Maserati and the ugly financial stuff gets handled through YOUR insurance company – not your car’s.

Whenever there is a really bad idea, you can expect that a politician or a lawyer will be behind it. The fact that most politicians are lawyers here as well as in the EU, one gets the scent of skunk-ery. This all has the air of more litigation about it. How will these modern day tin men fit into the politically correct world of identity politics? Personhood suggests rights. Will robots be able to sue those humans who forget to plug them in at night or rip out their motherboard in a fit of frustrated rage? Will they have the right to vote? Gads! The last thing we need is yet another voting bloc to further balkanize America.

Until we arrive at Elon Musk’s dreaded brave new world in which Artificial Intelligence creates machines that take over from we flesh and blood types (as pre-saged in old sci-fi movies), the robot world cannot assume or be granted anything close to legal personhood. Nor can dogs and trees – as wonderful as they are.

On the other hand, in this era of self-identity, can a human declare himself or herself to be a robot? We shall leave that question for another day. My mind is too transfixed on the thought of “Okay Google” starting to give ME orders.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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1 Comment

  1. debbie
    debbie April 18, 13:37

    What a dumb idea,,yea,probably stupid lawyers thought it up.

    Reply to this comment

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