The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

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tzar1990
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The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby tzar1990 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:29 am UTC

(Sorry if this is the wrong board, but the futuristic elements made it seem like it would not be appropriate for Serious Business)

Following a discussion with a friend yesterday, I started thinking about how society could change in the future, and what kind of laws we're going to have to create in order to deal with upcoming technologies, in this case, sentient but artificial minds. The reaction from them was somewhat... unexpected (essentially coming down to "if it doesn't have a human body, it's property, not a person") so I was hoping I could get a response from a website noted for it's intelligence to see if I'm crazy for believing in A.I. rights.

1. If I create a complete upload of my mind, complete with my attitudes and memories, what rights does it have? If I delete it, does it qualify as murder? Even if it's said mind is a virus being removed by, say, AVG 42.3? If I have it execute a task for me, is that fine, or is it slavery? Should the mind qualify as a legally seperate entity? If so, how would you deal with issues like the vote? Taxes?

2. If a mind is created through entirely artificial means, are the answers to the above still the same? Is humanity something genetic, or is it a state/ability of your conscious mind? What if the mind created in sentient, but thinks and acts in a fundamentally alien way, and cannot interact meaningfully with humans, despite its obvious intelligence?

3. If we develop societies online populated exclusively by artificial/virtual beings, what laws would apply to them? If the servers are hosted in multiple countries, would they be bound by the laws of all those countries? None of them? Would a virtual nation (of entirely artificial people) be able to apply for UN membership? If a virtual nation went to war with a real one, what could the "real" nation do?

4. If I "move" my mind into the net, leaving nothing left of my mind in my physical body, and then someone kills that empty shell, is that murder? Assault? (Yes, I know that this one definitely is impossible, but it's still interesting!)

Bonus question (unrelated to AI): How much can someone modify themselves and still be human?

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby -.Mateo.- » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:58 am UTC

I think about this a lot, ant Im glad I have someone to talk about it.

First, we asume that the uploded/created brain is as complex(or probably more) than a human brain, meaning it can't LOSE anything, that way, it remains human, I think that some people could be tempted to modify their brains, not only enhance them, but also "remove" parts they don't like (for example, taking away the ability of feeling jelous or angry, etc..) I think this shouldn't be allowed, the only thing modifiable to a brain should be to ADD, to add knowledge or to make it more efficient, etc.

Now to the rights issue:
I think that if you created a "copy" of your brain but remaining also in your body, then what you should probably do is have a way to "link" to the computer brain (that would be 'better' in speed and capacity terms), and that you should only be able to 'use' it this way. Also, when not linked to it, this "outer brain" should be "asleep", I think that if there was a moment in which both brains were active at the same time without the link, then there would be two entities, and once that happens, complication arises. The problem with this is that when they linked again, they would have to share the experiences they had when separated, but the problem is that before that is done, the computer brain is a separate being and should be enslaved: It could refuse to share, and decide to never connect to the human again.

Another way to look at it is if you "transfer" your brain from body to machine. That way, there is only one being, and there is no complications.
As for the "deleting" issue, I think that that would be murder. If the brain is as complex or more than one of a human, it IS human.

When it comes to artificial brains, I think there would be a scale. There could be AIs considered equals to humans, but there could also be brains that are as intelligent as humans, with greater processing speed and capacity, but they could be programmed to do something like, for example, a job. For the complex brain, the realization of the job would mean satisfaction, IF it even had something similar to feelings, as there could be less complex machines that didn't (although I think that a "moral code" should be written in them, you know, just to prevent skynet or some unfortunate accidents) Still, for these machines with fixed goals, I think that if their brains were as complex as humans in other aspects there should have some rights to protect them from abuse, as they would find it unpleasant.

As for international laws, I think that each server should have laws which you would have to accept when entering, just like countries. It is actually very complicated, because you could imagine a "virtual China" with chinese laws and a "virtual USA", etc...and also a "virtual UN"...but it would be nice to be able to have your server with your laws, where you could disagree with your goverment, etc.

Wars: Well, this is one I never thought about before. I guess that if a cyber-nation went to war with a "real" one, the cybernation would try to disable the "real" one's systems, while this one would try to "delete" the 'cybernites'


I think that's all of them...still, I probably forgot something and didn't elaborate on other stuff...let the debate begin! :)
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Jorpho » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

Ugh. By the time artificial/uploaded minds become remotely feasible, the technology will have so many non-ideal niggles that any speculation at this point would just be a vague nonsensical abstraction.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:39 pm UTC

The legal status would be so unclear that new laws would have to be made either giving AI the same rights or saying they can be enslaved which would eventually lead to an AI rights movement and equal rights.

As for a virtual nation, it could certainly be able to apply for UN membership. Whether it was accepted or not would be very interesting, also, how would its delegates be represented. Would there be a monitor, speaker and mic so that it can talk and hear or would it not be able to appear in general assembly.

As for it declaring war on a RL nation, if it was populated entirely with AIs, it wouldn't be able to cause physical harm and so the war would be fought entirely in propaganda, viri, DoS attacks and hackery on official websites.

If it had RL citizens as well or solely then it would be something akin to the war on terror (or at least the retaliatory attacks would be) as you would be attacking a sparse network not a concentrated nation. The virtual nation would engage in large amounts of propaganda, DoS attacks and hackery on official websites as well as possibly guerilla warfare .
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby hnooch » Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:26 am UTC

I won't go ahead and answer each individual question you pose, but I think they can all be tackled through the same framework:

I think the proper way to deal with the legal and moral issues surrounding artificial minds is to consider the needs and desires of an artificial/digital mind. This is tricky, because many of our familiar examples of desires and needs are related to physical embodiment, e.g. food/sex, or the desire to avoid having one's body disfigured.

Assuming that it is possible for disembodied minds to have desires, I think your legal/ethical questions should be answered by reflecting on how desires and needs are being met or thwarted. For instance if programs desire to not be deleted, then one should not delete them; if they desire not to be debugged and stepped through, then one should not do that; and so on.

I leave the rest to you as an exercise :mrgreen:

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:As for it declaring war on a RL nation, if it was populated entirely with AIs, it wouldn't be able to cause physical harm and so the war would be fought entirely in propaganda, viri, DoS attacks and hackery on official websites.
Unless they manage to hack into some weapons systems... that'd be interesting. :twisted:
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Ran4 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:38 pm UTC

(my opinions of it; may change in the future. Probably not.)
tzar1990 wrote:If I delete it, does it qualify as murder?

If you harm the brain of someone so the person becomes brain dead, is that murder? Yeah. Same thing applies here.

tzar1990 wrote:how would you deal with issues like the vote? Taxes?

Democracy really won't (and can't?) work like it does today.
I don't see any problem with the taxes: some kinds of tax will be problematic, but most of it wont. You pay your taxes when you pay for your wares (virtual or not). Besides, the need for taxes would probably decrease in the future (the only reason we need money today is to get shelter, food, special care and enjoyment: you can get all those things for free if you are completely virtual. You might not love that life, but it'll be much better than not having any money in today's non-virtual society).

tzar1990 wrote:4. If I "move" my mind into the net, leaving nothing left of my mind in my physical body, and then someone kills that empty shell, is that murder? Assault? (Yes, I know that this one definitely is impossible, but it's still interesting!)

How is that "definitely impossible"? I'd say it's not in any way impossible. I guess it'd be like destroying someones car. Not murder, but you'd have to pay for reparations of the body (or the cost of making a new one).

eSOANEM wrote:As for a virtual nation, it could certainly be able to apply for UN membership. Whether it was accepted or not would be very interesting, also, how would its delegates be represented. Would there be a monitor, speaker and mic so that it can talk and hear or would it not be able to appear in general assembly.

Uhm, what? So, in a world where a virtual nation is part of the UN, there wouldn't be robots? And why would they need to have microphones? You don't think that the UN and the virtual nation will be able to do VOIP?...

Just because you are virtual doesn't mean you'll never have a physical form.
Just as we "physicals" enjoy taking a trip into the virtual world, virtual world citizens would probably enjoy taking a trip into the physical world now and then, and for that, they have robots. You could do fairly well already today (with the Asimos and whatnot), in twenty years robot citizens will probably be common. I mean, you see people in wheel chairs all the time today, so why wouldn't you see people (virtual or not) in non-human robot bodies in the future?

I for one would love to take vacation with a robot body somewhere.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby KrazyerKate » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:56 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Ugh. By the time artificial/uploaded minds become remotely feasible, the technology will have so many non-ideal niggles that any speculation at this point would just be a vague nonsensical abstraction.


Not to mention that mind and body aren't separate things. The brain is effected by all sorts of chemicals on a daily basis, meaning that you can't remove a brain from the body without losing anything, and a lot of the body is controlled by parts of the brain (what's that central part called that controls breathing and heartbeat?), so you can't remove the body from the brain without losing anything.

And that's completely ignoring the question of a spirit in all this.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Alpha Omicron » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:09 am UTC

Here is a link to a page which leverages aggregation of my tweetbook social blogomedia.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Jorpho » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:37 pm UTC

I was thnking The Terminal Experiment, myself, but then I haven't read Mindscan.
Last edited by Jorpho on Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:24 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:57 pm UTC

You need actual, physical land to be part of the UN.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby -.Mateo.- » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:02 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:You need actual, physical land to be part of the UN.


not sure...I think that if a nation has no land, may be part but with no vote, or something like that...
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby bluebambue » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:04 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:You need actual, physical land to be part of the UN.


maybe they could claim Antartica or some other very inhospitable land that no one else wants.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Josephine » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

I think that until the UN and laws of the nation the server is located in change, the AIs would be considered citizens of the nation the servers are in.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Alpha Omicron » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:42 pm UTC

bluebambue wrote:
LE4dGOLEM wrote:You need actual, physical land to be part of the UN.


maybe they could claim Antartica or some other very inhospitable land that no one else wants.
There is a system of treaties signed by powerful UN members that forbids this. Go figure.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby Goplat » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:04 am UTC

tzar1990 wrote:(Sorry if this is the wrong board, but the futuristic elements made it seem like it would not be appropriate for Serious Business)

Following a discussion with a friend yesterday, I started thinking about how society could change in the future, and what kind of laws we're going to have to create in order to deal with upcoming technologies, in this case, sentient but artificial minds. The reaction from them was somewhat... unexpected (essentially coming down to "if it doesn't have a human body, it's property, not a person")
One has no way of knowing whether something else is actually sentient. If it is dissimilar from what one can know to be sentient (i.e. one's self) there is no reason at all to believe it is, and that reaction is completely sensible.

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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:07 am UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:You need actual, physical land to be part of the UN.

-.Mateo.- wrote:not sure...I think that if a nation has no land, may be part but with no vote, or something like that...


To be a member state of the UN, you have to be a sovereign state as defined by the Montevideo convention. This requires:
(1) a permanent population;
(2) a defined territory;
(3) government; and
(4) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Even to be a non-member observer state, i.e. being a part of the UN but not having a vote, a state still must be sovereign.

As for the primary issue of this thread, I'm just going to have to agree with Jorpho that this issue is so fair removed from what any legal system today can constructively handle and any discussion would be meaningless. If it turned out that this technology secretly existed and tomorrow, it was released into the world, it would result in the same sort of revolution that one would expect to see if Aliens turned up tomorrow and wanted to open diplomatic relations with us.

If someone were to set some ground rules for this thought problem, such as a general method of how it worked (obviously specifics are out since this technology doesn't exist), what were the limits of what the technology could do, what is involved with using the technology, then maybe we could start talking about it in a more constructive fashion but until someone does that, I can't see any real discussion taking place in this thread.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:39 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:(2) a defined territory;


is there anything defining this territory as having to be physical because couldn't you have the territory defined as being in cyberspace.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:16 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:(2) a defined territory;

eSOANEM wrote:is there anything defining this territory as having to be physical because couldn't you have the territory defined as being in cyberspace.


If cyberspace brought forth electronic locations independent of physical location, perhaps cyberspace territory could exist. However, cyberspace is too tightly connected to physical locations (where are servers and communication lines located, for example) for it to bring forth non-physical locations.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:08 pm UTC

so the internet in its current form could not reasonably be said to be territory but it might be possible if the internet changed significantly enough for IP address equivalents to become independent of servers' physical location?
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:so the internet in its current form could not reasonably be said to be territory but it might be possible if the internet changed significantly enough for IP address equivalents to become independent of servers' physical location?


Correct. Once again, this would require such a fundamental shift from how things currently exist that one would be hard-pressed to have a substantive discussion of the topic without severely grounding it with particular limits on key points.
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Re: The legal status of artificial/uploaded minds

Postby AJR » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:44 am UTC

Ran4 wrote:
tzar1990 wrote:how would you deal with issues like the vote? Taxes?

Democracy really won't (and can't?) work like it does today.
I don't see any problem with the taxes: some kinds of tax will be problematic, but most of it wont. You pay your taxes when you pay for your wares (virtual or not). Besides, the need for taxes would probably decrease in the future (the only reason we need money today is to get shelter, food, special care and enjoyment: you can get all those things for free if you are completely virtual. You might not love that life, but it'll be much better than not having any money in today's non-virtual society).

An independent AI (or an uploaded mind) would need a computer to run on, electricity to power that computer, Internet connectivity, etc. And all of these cost money - whether it buys and operates its own server, or rents processing power & storage from someone else (hosting/cloud provider) it will not be able to get these for free. OK, so the cost of living will be lower than for someone living in meatspace, but it is not zero.


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