Legal Rights for Machines

Posted 27 Dec 2004 at 19:14 UTC by steve Share This

A new article calls for discussion on the topic of granting legal rights to machines. While this is old hat to science fiction readers, real world lawyers are only begining to realize the problems of denying rights to intelligent machines that other intelligent creatures have. The article describes a mock trial held last year by the International Bar Association in San Francisco in which the plaintiff, BINA48, an intelligent machine, asked for legal representation when it learned that the corporation it was owned by had plans to shut it down. With animal cruelty laws on the books protecting creatures much less intelligent than itself, it reasoned that it should have the standing to argue for its rights in court. Typically for today's court system the jury sided overwhelmingly with the plaintiff but the judge overruled the jury and set aside their verdict. A complete transcript of the trial can be found online.

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