One of 270 forward-looking papers sponsored by Sir David King, the UK government’s chief scientist, specifically looks at the value and rights robots could have in the year 2056. One paper covering robot rights was written by a management consultancy with assistance from an opinion research organization.
"If we make conscious robots they would want to have rights and they probably should," said Henrik Christensen, director of the Centre of Robotics and Intelligent Machines at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Although the rights of robots and the emergence of thinking machines has been the subject of quite few books and movies in recent times, one of the most immersive has been the work of Dr. Isaac Asimov -- who wrote of a society where robots were fully integrated and essential in the everyday lives of people and the planet.
In Asimov's books, there were three laws of robotics that governed machine life. The three rules were: robots could not injure humans, they must obey orders and they protect their own existence -- in that specific order.
Currently, robots and machines are now classified as inanimate objects without rights or duties. But with the emergence recently of artificial intelligence software that continues to increase in complexity -- and they have been known to mimic parts of human consciousness -- the report argues that there may be calls for the rights of human beings to be given to these machines.