Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Machines, Animals and People

Scientists can foresee a time when machines may become so human they will have rights and even be able to vote, according to this article that appeared in the Daily Mail. THIS ARTICLE from the Telegraph suggests that in 10 years robots will not only be able to have emotions, but will also be able to provide companionship.

But while machines are becoming more human, people are being considered less human. I say this from the observation that increasingly human beings are being thought about and treated on a par with the beasts. An Australian zoo has recently launched a human project, where people will be caged in the zoo to emphasise that we are on the same level as the animals, as shown in this picture. (Read more about the human zoo project HERE.) I am reminded of some observations I made in my earlier post 'Man or Beast?'

One of the world's leading 'experts' in ethics is a man named Peter Singer. You can read about him HERE and visit his website HERE. In his article 'Taking Life' (which is available HERE) he argues that babies are not people until they develop characteristics such as rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness. Yet he also believes that Great Apes are people. In fact, he is a founding member of the Great Ape Project, which seeks to persuade the United Nations to adopt a Declaration on Great Apes awarding personhood to great-apes. So apes would have more rights than babies if Mr. Singer gets his way.

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