Published date: Friday, 10 November 2017

When do robots get rights?

That’s one of the questions Dr Ron Chrisley, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex addressed at Mindshare Huddle.

Interviewed by Jack Edmonds, LoopMe’s Head of Agency Sales, Ron’s experience with Artificial Intelligence mean that he was perfectly placed to educate us about the impact AI is set to have on our society.


There is no general AI

At present, general AI doesn’t exist. General AI is the idea that a machine can successfully perform any task that a human being can, whereas narrow AI is focused on just one task.

Even the likes of Google DeepMind – as sophisticated as it is – are still forms of narrow AI.


Defining consciousness is problematic

Garfield said that consciousness is the period between naps. But as Ron pointed out, we should probably have a better definition than that.

Current approaches don’t go far enough, such as ones which define consciousness based on behaviour. Ron critiqued this by pointing out that currently chatbots can mimic the ways in which humans talk, but these are far from being conscious, even if users aren’t aware that they’re talking to a robot.

However, there won’t be the need to treat AI as human or conscious for the foreseeable future.


Robots won’t take over the world

The core ethical question should not be whether there be a robot takeover. This isn’t something we should consider for the next 50-100 years.

However, discussing robot rights is likely to become more prominent. Ron also welcomed governments and private companies looking into the ethical implications, as this will ensure that AI is not being scapegoated for actions that humans are responsible for.

He added that everyone should be involved in discussing what counts as an ethical deployment of AI, and that it shouldn’t be left to one trade body, company or government to make this decision.


Education is needed

Much of the concern about AI is due to misinformation. Jack used a stat that 52% of people get their knowledge of AI from TV and films, so it’s not surprising that many have a less than positive idea about the impact that AI has in society.


AI will transform our lives

While there is a lot of negativity around AI (mainly due to a lack of education), Ron was keen to stress the great impact that AI can have. Developments in technology will transform (and are transforming) our lives, from tech, health care and even in advertising.


The sky is the limit.


Thanks to all who came along! Learn more about LoopMe at