Feeds

Thinktank kicks off robotic civil rights debate

Must be Christmas

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A wide-ranging government-sponsored futurology effort has fingered a campaign for robots' rights as a policy headache for 2056.

The conclusion comes from one of 270 papers commissioned by the Office of Science and Technology's Foresight Centre in a bid to anticipate the major social and technological trends of the next 50 years.

The heavyweight philosophical missive behind robots' rights is brought to you by Outsights, a management consultancy, and Ipsos MORI, the opinion poll organisation, the Financial Times reports. According to the authors: "If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them, including income support, housing, and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time."

According to the report, would-be machine citizens shouldn't require a robotic Emmeline Pankhurst - they'll be given the vote. However, with rights come responsibilities, so the roboplebs will also be subject to Franklin's certainty principle: death and taxes, in the form of military service and income levies.

Explaining the research process, Outsights' Richard O Brien said: "In developing the scans, we have started by referencing leading authoritative sources of evidence on existing trends, but have also drawn on a range of alternative material." The "alternative material" in question includes journals, interviews with "leading thinkers" [you know who you are, Captain] and blogs.

The "Horizon Scan" is the brainchild of Sir David King, the government's chief scientific advisor. He said: "The scans look at what new issues may arise and what events may surprise us - and the possible implications for us individually and collectively."

Other, perhaps more prescient puzzlers covered by Foresight include energy policy, environmental meltdown, demographic change, and stem cell research. The exercise has already made an impact on policy making; the Health and Safety Executive has used its findings to support its cash claim for next year's Comprehensive Spending Review. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.