Hebrews 5:12-14 (KJV) "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
Humans aren’t the only people in society – at least according to the law. In the U.S., corporations have been given rights of free speech and religion. Some natural features also have person-like rights. But both of those required changes to the legal system. A new argument has laid a path for artificial intelligence systems to be recognized as people too – without any legislation, court rulings or other revisions to existing law.
Giving AIs rights similar to humans involves a technical lawyerly maneuver. It starts with one person setting up two limited liability companies and turning over control of each company to a separate autonomous or artificially intelligent system. Then the person would add each company as a member of the other LLC. In the last step, the person would withdraw from both LLCs, leaving each LLC – a corporate entity with legal personhood – governed only by the other’s AI system.
An interview with Sophia, a robot citizen of Saudi Arabia.
In certain places, some people might have fewer rights than nonintelligent software and robots. In countries that limit citizens’ rights to free speech, free religious practice and expression of sexuality, corporations – potentially including AI-run companies – could have more rights. That would be an enormous indignity.
Granting voting rights to systems that can copy themselves would render humans’ votes meaningless. Even without taking that significant step, though, the possibility of AI-controlled corporations with basic human rights poses serious dangers. No current laws would prevent a malevolent AI from operating a corporation that worked to subjugate or exterminate humanity through legal means and political influence. Computer-controlled companies could turn out to be less responsive to public opinion or protests than human-run firms are.
Two other aspects of corporations make people even more vulnerable to AI systems with human legal rights: They don’t die, and they can give unlimited amounts of money to political candidates and groups.
Politicians financially backed by algorithmic entities would be able to take on legislative bodies, impeach presidents and help to get figureheads appointed to the Supreme Court. Those human figureheads could be used to expand corporate rights or even establish new rights specific to artificial intelligence systems – expanding the threats to humanity even more.
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