Let's Make Robots!

Inhuman rights

I read this this morning:when a robot comes knocking on the door It's not the first time this has come up. Remember the viral video a few years back of the mouth-breathers who doused a chicken-dance Elmo in lighter fluid, turned him on and lit him up? I was as amused as anyone at first-being an Iowan, the chicken dance Is to me the symbol of everything that goes wrong at weddings. But shortly it hit me-there was something psychotic about the way those guys were getting into it.

We also have a local congressman (I won't name him but he shares his moniker with a best-selling horror writer) who recently refused to vote for federal legislation banning dog fighting or taking children across state lines to watch dog or cock fights. He then made things worse by going on TV and sayings that he was just refusing to protect animals better than humans. By the time Colbert got ahold of the footage, he made everyone in his district look like a hillbilly Michael Vick. Which isn't too far from the truth, but he is after all representing the whole state to an extent.

Legally, the thing to worry about when someone is torturing cats in the neighborhood is the principal of escalation. John Douglas, author of the "Crime Classification Manual" and head of the FBI's "profiling" efforts for years makes the repeated point that serial killers are"...bed-wetters, fire-starters and animal torturers..." For years before they take their first human life. It only gets worse if you don't nip it in the bud. Today it's the dog, tomorrow it's you.

For me, what it comes down to is this: robots (and for that matter animals) should not be protected from cruelty because it's bad for them-it should be because cruelty is bad for the person being cruel. The more we exhibit the trait the worse we will become to one another, and more importantly, the worse we will become inside. I don't foresee a future where a robot built to go into burning buildings or defuse bombs will be protected against having to do those jobs, but perhaps machines made for battle bot purposes will be banned from having programming of certain types. In any case, if someone is out there creating something just so they have something to be mean to, perhaps we have some real soul searching-as well as defining laws to allow essentially preventative prosecution-to do.