David J. Gunkel (Northern Illinois University) has posted “Should Robots Have Standing? From Robot Rights to Robot Rites” (Frontiers of Artificial Intelligence and Applications, IOS Press forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
“Robot” designates something that does not quite fit the standard way of organizing beings into the mutually exclusive categories of “person” or “thing.” The figure of the robot interrupts this fundamental organizing schema, resisting efforts at both reification and personification. Consequently, what is seen reflected in the face or faceplate of the robot is the fact that the existing moral and legal ontology—the way that we make sense of and organize our world—is already broken or at least straining against its own limitations. What is needed in response to this problem is a significantly reformulated moral and legal ontology that can scale to the unique challenges of the 21st century and beyond.