Equal rights

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Edont Knoff, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    These thoughts were triggered by the "Degrees of misogyny" thread, and I wondered if the concept of equal rights must be expanded with technological advancements ...

    Will/should we give cloned persons equal rights too?

    Or half robots (cyborgs)? Androids? Sentient AIs/robots?

    Cloned persons might come in reach soon. We better have answers before. Sentient AIs will likely take a bit longer, but it's be good to have answers at that point as well. Then, sentient biological synthetic beings, synthethic biological-technical composite beings etc ...

    It is a can of worms that soon will be open.
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Why would a cloned person have rights any different than an original? We don't base rights on a person's DNA.
    Once the cloned cell has a complete set of DNA, it divides, grows and grows up a product of its environment, the same as any other person. (Stories about fully-grown clones are fantasy. Clones develop from single cells, like the rest of us)

    There is no overlap between two persons whose DNA was identical at fertilization - eg. identical twins.

    Cyborgs are still persons. The mind is the seat of personage.

    AIs - now that's going to be interesting. Hopefully, we will take a page out of Roddenberry's book, and agree that anything identifiable as sentient (however that identification might be achieved) is considered to have basic sentient rights.

    Though I guess we should start with baby steps - dolphins and chimps are still property.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is intellectual property.

    It's similar to the question of privatizing the Universe: "Meet Bacillus titania!" or "Meet Bacillus titania™, a property of Bechtel®!"

    With the clone: "Meet John Smith!" or "Meet John Smith™, the newest member of Kamino Group®, LLC!"

    Historically, the juristic tradition, at least in the U.S., is to consider assertions of rights from the ownership perspective. That is, the important thing is to remember who will lose their societal privileges in order that another might be generously granted otherwise inalienable rights. This would presuppose the cloned John Smith to be intellectual and physical property of the organization that created him.
    Jeeves and PhysBang like this.
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Of course. They are people.
    The most important criterion to use in deciding whether to give someone/something rights is their ability to ask for those rights.
  8. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I suppose if a corp. can own the genetic material of mice, it's not much of a leap to own the genetic material of anything else.

    That would place the onus on the clone's advocates to draw the 'property' line at: sentient creatures who are complex enough to understand what rights are, should be entitled to them. (as billvon said)
    That would not be a world in which I would want to live.
  10. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    Good point. Just a pity that e.g. slavery was common for several thousand years even that the slaves were (theroretially) able to demand better rights. Similar for women in patriarchal cultures. So the respect for other beings, even if they can express their wish for rights, has not always been there; rather it is a fairly new thing.

    Many books and movies show a rather dystopian future though, that synthetic beings can be/will be owned like slaves, and even that they have the ability to express dislike with the fact that aren't allowed to be free, they are treated second class citizens at best.

    But synthetic, sentient beings don't seem too close yet, so the only real question is about clones. There I see a problem that someone orders a "maker" to produce the clone, and the maker will require payment. So the initial step is a sort of purchase, and with a purchase, many people also think ownership of the purchased "good".
  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    The ethical, emotional and legal problems presented by clones will revolve not only around who produces them, but also why they are produced.
    I suspect the issue of far too many people already will not be a consideration. And, really, it won't be serious consideration, because it's too expensive to do in quantities that affect the general population. They, will, however, each have a big ecological footprint.
    If a rich narcissist special orders a mini-me, to raise as their child, they will certainly demand both the rights and privileges that would accrue to a natural offspring.
    If, on the other hand, they have a clone made for each natural child as a source of spare parts, they would regard that clone as property. I suppose such clones could have the frontal cortex removed at an early stage of gestation. Not sure how they would be raised to provide quality limbs and organs.

    The problem of artificial intelligences, in whatever form, are quite different. They are only being made as slaves; begin and end as property. I very much doubt Andrew will be granted human status, even on his 200th birthday.
    On the up-side, AI won't ask for its rights; it will simply take whatever action is required to secure whatever status it wants.
  12. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

    Spinning the idea further, it came to my mind that sufficiently advanced technology could make synthethic and sentient beings, which like to be a property of someone, and feel uneasy if free. Following orders would be a pleasure for them, they are made so this actually is the way they feel. This is a twisted thing, and makes the discussion even more complex. But luckily this is a purely theoretical question currently.

    Clones as a source of spare parts is a nasty ethical problem. I see no good solution to that one, since the goals are too contradicting - respect of the individual and its right of physical integrity, which is a common human right, and the goal to damage exactly this integrity of the clone in order to help another person.

    In human-human donations the will of the donor is the thing that counts. For clones, made just for this purpose, ouch.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Clones are just twins. Iirc artificial insemination etc - test tube babies - produces higher rates of identical as well as fraternal twinning - nobody seems to think this creates particularly difficult ethical dilemmas regarding the adult people involved.
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Adult clones are not an ethical problem. Problems are presented by the means and purpose of making them in the first place, and whether they are raised as autonomous human beings. I don't see any purpose in doing that, except 1. for scientists to prove that they can and 2. vain rock-stars who have drug-addled their reproductive cells. These two would make a very small group of people, a very limited fad.

    Ethical problems would arise in the commercial production of clones. But then, the same issues are already with us regarding young women from third-world countries.
  15. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Many people confuse equal rights with equal results. Equal rights means we all use the same sets of rules. If we all use the same set of rules nobody has more rights or less rights. Like in sports, all players will play by the same set of rules, but not all players will bat 300.

    Equal results is different and would imply we change the rules for different people, to give some people handicaps; hiring quotas, and some people extra advantages; hiring quotas, so everyone bats 300. The push in school for everyone to be a winner is not based on equal rights, since the rules cannot be the same for all, and still achieve a uniform result. Humans are diversified in terms of skills and abilities with equal rights naturally forming diversified results.

    Criminals don't play by the same set of rules as honest people. They give themselves more rights, such as the right to mug and steal. These extra rights allow them to achieve better results, than if they play by the rules and have equal rights with everyone else.

    If we cloned people, as long as they use the same set rules as everyone else, they have equal rights. This is not to say that they, by being cloned and coming second/later, will not have the same set of experiences as the original, so there may not be equal results. They may have more or less results.

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