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Robot Rights and other Predictions

Posted 20 Dec 2006 at 23:35 UTC by steve Share This

It's the time of year when futurists start making their predictions. As always, some sound more likely than others. The UK Financial Times has a few for us: Tourism will drive a revitalisation of manned spaceflight. Complete worldwide wireless broadband coverage by 2015. Within 20-50 years, intelligent machines will call for "human" rights, which will be balanced by placing citizen responsibilities such as voting and paying tax on robots. Once these robots have basic rights, they may even demand "robo-healthcare". The fusion of nanotechnology and biology will lead to living solar collectors and liquid crystal displays (no word yet on whether living LCD panels will get to vote). Believe it or not these predictions come from "270 rigorously researched papers commissioned by the [UK] government". For more "expert" predictions of the future see the companion article, Vision of life in the middle of the century. Best quote from the article: "Although the future is not predictable, government can't just sit back and wait for it to happen". If you want to see some of the reports themselves, they can be found on the Sigma Scan and Delta Scan websites.

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