AI & Law: Gleaning AI Legal Rights Per Animal Rights

Lance Eliot
6 min readMay 12, 2022
Some assert that we can leverage animal rights to determine AI legal rights

by Dr. Lance B. Eliot

For a free podcast of this article, visit this link or find our AI & Law podcast series on Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, plus on other audio services. For the latest trends about AI & Law, visit our website

Key briefing points about this article:

  • There is an ongoing debate about whether AI ought to have legal rights
  • Some say this is wholly premature since there isn’t any sentient AI as yet
  • Others believe we ought to get a handle on this now and not wait
  • Rather than focusing on the applicability of human rights, another avenue is animal rights
  • Animal legal rights are unsettled, boding for added confusion when being reapplied to AI


There is a legal question that I’m going to spring on you. It is a question that you might find of keen interest. On the other hand, you might believe that the question is absurd and that anyone that seriously entertains the question ought to have their head examined.

Just wanted to make sure that you know what you are about to get into.

Should AI have legal rights?

If so, should those legal rights be akin to human rights?

Notice that I sneakily squeezed in a second question on you. I opted to tie the already outstretched vexation about AI legal rights to the equally thorny question of whether AI rights might potentially be somehow relatable to intrinsic human rights. That’s assuredly okay to make that logical connection since it is the altogether next-in-sequence consideration.

You see, first of all, anyone that insists that AI ought to not have any legal rights is pretty much done with this whole train of thought and can move onward to some other pressing legal matter. They can seemingly wipe their hands of the whole kit and kaboodle.

Meanwhile, for those that are leaning in the direction of indeed imbuing AI with legal rights, or at least have a willingness to discuss the conundrum, there is an almost immediate knee-jerk reaction over what those legal rights would…



Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.