UN Human Rights Might Apply To AI, If So, Consider The Curious Case Of Self-Driving Cars

Lance Eliot
13 min readJul 2, 2020

Dr. Lance Eliot, AI Insider

[Ed. Note: For reader’s interested in Dr. Eliot’s ongoing business analyses about the advent of self-driving cars, see his online Forbes column: https://forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/]

Sometimes a question seems so ridiculous that you feel compelled to reject its premise out-of-hand.

Let’s give this a whirl.

Should AI have human rights?

Most people would likely react that there is no bona fide basis to admit AI into the same rarified air as human beings and be considered endowed with human rights.

Others though counterargue that they see crucial reasons to do so and adamantly are seeking to have AI be assigned human rights in the same manner that the rest of us have human rights.

Of course, you might shrug your shoulders and say that it is of little importance either way and wonder why anyone should be so bothered and ruffled-up about the matter.

It is indeed a seemingly simple question, though the answer has tremendous consequences as will be discussed herein.

One catch is that there is a bit of a trick involved because the thing or entity or “being” that we are trying to assign human rights to is currently ambiguous and currently not even yet in existence.

In other words, what does it mean when we refer to “AI” and how will we know it when we discover or invent it?

At this time, there isn’t any AI system of any kind that could be considered sentient, and indeed by all accounts, we aren’t anywhere close to achieving the so-called singularity (that’s the point at which AI flips over into becoming sentient and we look in awe at a presumably human-equivalent intelligence embodied in a machine).

I’m not saying that we won’t ever reach that vaunted point, yet some fervently argue we won’t.

I suppose it’s a tossup as to whether getting to the singularity is something to be sought or to be feared.

For those that look at the world in a smiley face way, perhaps AI that is our equivalent in intelligence will aid us in solving…

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.