Wen BeesT Growz InTu Prsuhn


Defining rights for non-humans beyond bestowing them with “personhood” can only become more important as we learn more about animal cognition…

In any case, what qualifies a being as deserving of rights? The NhRP has vowed to fight for personhood for other “intelligent” animals, like dolphins, whales, and elephants. But exactly what constitutes intelligence is hotly debated in the animal cognition world, and, ultimately, our definition is heavily biased toward our own species’ traits.. We think of ourselves as the smartest creatures around, so we look for human-like traits in animals. Some markers researchers have identified include self-awareness, planning and problem solving, learning from peers, and communication skills. Given these human-centric criteria, it’s unsurprising that humans are the only animals known to reliably meet all of them. Still, many other species have been shown to possess a subset of these indicators. While the NhRP recognizes animals like the primates, dolphins, whales, and elephants as intelligent, there are many other animals that we regularly overlook: Bees perform complex dance moves to show their peers where food is; crows wait for cars to crush nuts for them to eat; and lizards are capable of problem solving…

In any case, it doesn’t seem like the cognitive abilities of animals have any bearing on their legal protection. There are plenty of smart cold-blooded animals—birds, reptiles, fish, even insects—but only warm-blooded animals are covered by the AWA, which defines standards for research animals or animals for commercial sale. Standards for farm animals are generally lower—they are designed to ensure animals will not suffer “unnecessary cruelty”—though farm animals are not necessarily any less intelligent than animals covered under the AWA. Chickens are adept at problem-solving, especially when food is involved, and and appear to empathize with peers in distress. Octopuses solve complicated problems, and can even form opinions about individual humans. Pigs appear capable of deception. Fish learn from watching other fish.

When does an animal count as a person?

A grassroots movement has recently emerged in which a number of scientists, philosophers, ethicists and legal experts have rallied together in support of the idea that some nonhuman animals are persons and thus deserving of human-like legal protections. Their efforts have subsequently thrown conventional notions of personhood into question by suggesting that humans aren't the only persons on the planet. So what is a person, exactly? We spoke to two experts to find out…

The kind of beings that we are
Lori Marino, through her efforts with the NhRP, is trying to secure legal protections for a special subset of nonhuman species, a list of highly sapient animals that includes all the great apes (like bonobos and chimpanzees), elephants, cetaceans (which includes both dolphins and whales), and even some birds…

If and when these laws get passed, nonhuman persons would be protected from such things as torture, experimentation, slavery, confinement (including zoos and water parks), and the threat of unnatural death (like hunting and outright murder). Essentially, if you wouldn't do it to a human, you wouldn't do it to a nonhuman person.

Fruhm: https://www.britannica.com/science/embryo-human-and-animal

The division of the body into head and trunk becomes apparent, and the brain, spinal cord, and internal organs begin to develop. All of these changes are completed early in embryonic development, by about the fourth week, in humans.

A Mihnihmuhm Prsuhn MyT Hav Uhbihlihteez Tu: Senss, Theengk, Lrn And Mwv.

Fruhm: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Fetal+Rights

The term fetal rights came into wide usage following the landmark 1973 Abortion case roe v. wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman had a constitutionally guaranteed unqualified right to abortion in the first trimester of her pregnancy. She also had a right to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester, although the state may limit that right when the procedure poses a health risk to the mother that is greater than the risk of carrying the fetus to term. In making its decision, the Court…maintained that the state has an interest in protecting the life of a fetus after viability—that is, after the point at which the fetus is capable of living outside the womb. As a result, states were permitted to outlaw abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy except when the procedure is necessary to preserve the life of the mother…

Unborn children as constitutional persons.

As an effect of the unanimity of the states in holding unborn children to be persons under criminal, tort, and property law, the text of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment compels federal protection of unborn persons. Furthermore, to the extent Justice Blackmun examined the substantive law in these disciplines, his findings are clearly erroneous and as a whole amount to judicial error. Moreover, as a matter of procedure, according to the due process standards recognized in Fifth Amendment jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade should be held null and void as to the rights and interests of unborn persons.

Because of improvements in fetal monitoring and surgical techniques, physicians increasingly recommend that women give birth by cesarean section, a surgical technique that involves removing the fetus through an incision in the woman's abdomen. In many cases, cesarean section improves the chance that the fetus will be delivered safely. By 1990, cesarean sections accounted for almost 23 percent of U.S. childbirths…

The 1980s saw an increasing number of cases in which hospitals and physicians sought court orders to force women to give birth by cesarean section…

…[T]he position of the American Medical Association (AMA) on the issue: The AMA has reminded physicians that their duty is to ensure that a pregnant woman is provided with the necessary and appropriate information to enable her to make an informed decision about her fetus and that that duty does not extend to attempting to influence her decision or attempting to force a recommended procedure upon her.

Fetal Protection Policies
Fetal protection policies bar fertile women from specific jobs out of fear that those jobs may cause harm to any embryos or fetuses the women might be carrying. These policies came into widespread use by many companies during the 1970s and 1980s, before a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court decision, UAW v. Johnson Controls, 499U.S. 187, 111 S. Ct. 1196, 113 L. Ed. 2d 158, declared them a form of sexual discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq. [1982]). Despite the Court's decision in Johnson Controls, those critical of fetal protection policies feared that the policies would be continued in more subtle forms.

Unborn children as constitutional persons.

As an effect of the unanimity of the states in holding unborn children to be persons under criminal, tort, and property law, the text of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment compels federal protection of unborn persons. Furthermore, to the extent Justice Blackmun examined the substantive law in these disciplines, his findings are clearly erroneous and as a whole amount to judicial error. Moreover, as a matter of procedure, according to the due process standards recognized in Fifth Amendment jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade should be held null and void as to the rights and interests of unborn persons.

Fetus Law and Legal Definition

A fetus is typically defined as a developing human at a certain point after conception to birth. The precise definition varies by applicable laws, some of which define a fetus to include the element of viability, so that it is able to survive independently outside the womb. Various laws have been enacted to protect fetuses and punish individuals who injure them or cause their death. For example, Texas' Prenatal Protection Act holds people who assault or harm a pregnant woman liable for crimes against the mother and unborn child. The issue has been raised as to whether the law requires doctors to report substance abuse of a pregnant mother. The federal Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 amends the legal definitions of "person," "human being," "child" and "individual" to include any fetus that survives an abortion procedure. The federal law requires doctors to attempt to keep alive a fetus that survives an abortion.

Fetal protection laws vary by state. Some states states may amend existing homicide statutes to include the fetus as a possible victim, pass statutes defining the fetus as a person or human being, so that a fetus in encompassed by other statutes applicable to all persons or human beings, enact new statutes that create the crime of injury to a fetus, fetal homicide, or "feticide", or extend wrongful death and personal injury statutes to allow civil suits against individuals who cause the death or injury of a fetus.

When Does an Artificial Intelligence Become a Person?

On artificial intelligence, animal rights, and the frontiers of legal personhood

The things that define something as someone — as a person — are complex, contested, and mutable. Thinking about the moral, legal, and philosophical arguments around who does and does not get to be a person is a crucial step as we move ever closer toward the birth of the first truly sentient machines, and the destruction of the most highly sentient, endangered animals.

What level of sophistication will artificial intelligences need to attain before we consider them people — and all the rights that entails? And at what point on the spectrum of intelligence will we be creating machines that are as smart, and as deserving of legal rights, as the sentient animals we’re driving to extinction?

“The same arguments we’re making now on behalf of chimpanzees are the same arguments that will be made when, and if, robots ever can attain consciousness,” said Steve Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

For years, NRP staff has mounted legal challenges on behalf of nonhuman animals, hoping to use legal, moral, and scientific arguments to change the status of high-order, nonhuman animals from “things” to “persons.”

The chimpanzee shares about 99 percent of its DNA with humans — which means that, surprisingly, they have more genetic similarities with us than they do with gorillas. Like humans, chimpanzees have only a small number of offspring, with females usually giving birth once every five years of sexual maturity, and on average rearing only three children to full adulthood. In social groups they perform cooperative problem solving, teach and learn from one another, and use rudimentary tools; mentally they have at least some concept of self, an IQ comparable to a toddler, and can actually outperform humans on certain cognitive tasks.

Chimpanzees also display friendship, joy, love, fear, and sadness through body language clearly readable by human emotional standards. When exposed to stress and trauma, they have behavioral disturbances that, in some cases, meet DSM-IV criteria for depression and PTSD…

“For many centuries, the essential distinction between entities has been that of those who are things — who lack the capacity for any legal rights — and those who are persons, who have the capacity for one or more legal rights,” Wise said. “We’ve spent many years preparing a long-term, strategic litigation campaign … where we put forward arguments that elephants or chimpanzees or orcas ought to have legal rights, in fact ought to be legal persons, in terms of the sorts of values and principles which judges themselves hold.”…

Nick Bostrom, philosophy professor at Oxford University and director of the Future of Humanity Institute, is well known for writing about issues surrounding the development of superintelligent AI. Rather than debating the point at which an AI might be considered sentient, his work assumes that this will certainly happen at some point in the future, and instead questions how we should act in the present with the knowledge that we will eventually live alongside artificial minds exponentially more powerful than our own.

Though Bostrom’s work is often cited in terms of the potential dangers of AI, he’s also interested both in the idea of whether we should assign rights to artificial intelligence, and how those rights would be qualitatively different than the type of rights a natural person requires.

In order to enjoy the best quality of life, a human upload would probably demand that it live on a fast computer, that never be paused or restarted without consent — permissions which could, conceivably, be the kind of things that will one day be enshrined as legal rights for sentient artificial beings.

“This is a being that can talk, and is in many ways similar to a human: It can communicate with us, complain if we mistreat it, and so on. But what is perhaps much more realistic to assume — and this is a concern that the German philosopher Thomas Metzinger has raised — is that the first digital beings would be much more limited in their abilities, in fact much closer to nonhuman animals than humans, and so could not properly signal to us whether they were suffering.”

Which raises the question: How do we differentiate between an artificial intelligence which learns to respond as if it is thinking and feeling, and one which is genuinely able to think and feel? What standard of proof would we ask for?

Provided we accept that it will one day be possible to create machines which experience some level of sentience, then giving them the right to ethical treatment seems uncontroversial. But what about rights that go beyond the scope of avoiding suffering and into the domain of personal fulfillment — the right not just to a life, but to one that includes liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Before we continue any further, we need to step back for a minute to look again at how we define a “person.”

From a legal standpoint human, human beings are natural persons capable of holding legal rights and obligations. However, many present legal systems — like that of the United States — permit the existence of other types of legal persons, which are not flesh-and-blood entities but may nonetheless be granted personhood rights.

Additionally, Dorf said there’s a tendency to think that personhood is an all-or-nothing position with regard to rights, but this is not necessarily the case. “It’s actually possible to have rights and responsibilities à la carte: For example, infants are persons before the law but lack some of the rights and responsibilities that competent adult persons have — such as they can’t vote, but then conversely can’t be responsible for criminal acts.”

Personhood, then, is by no means a fixed category; but in the present day we tend to think of it as something that is innate in all humans, without needing a great deal of justification. In trying to evaluate the nature of our shared humanity, arguments on the basis of intelligence — the capacity to think — are quickly dismissed, since we know that there is huge variation within our species, and the suggestion that someone with a low IQ is less human is abhorrent. More often we veer toward a description based on sentience: the capacity to feel, particularly in a complex, emotional way.

But the central point to consider in discussing robotic sentience is not the sophistication of any system that we have currently built; it is that we have the ability to build systems which are able to learn. Many applications of artificial intelligence we encounter online, from chatbots to image tagging,employ artificial neural networks, a form of machine learning inspired by the design of biological nervous systems.

Given a large enough dataset and enough time to learn, neural networks are able to develop models which will allow them to carry out complex tasks with uncanny accuracy — such as recognizing faces, transcribing speech to text, or writing plays in iambic pentameter — without having been specifically programmed to do so. It’s perfectly conceivable that as processing power increases and the range of available data on human behavior grows, neural networks will be created that are able to form some approximation of what it is to be human, and to communicate their own hopes and fears in a human-like way.

The law, as history attests, should not be set in stone. Besides being a collection of rules to help us govern ourselves, law represents a repository of knowledge about how the world works, and how we as a society should respond to issues around which there may be dispute. In this sense, the process of creating new laws, and specifically of allocating new rights to sentient beings which previously had none, can be seen as a process of increasing the level of compassion embodied in our social institutions.

We don’t necessarily need to exhaust every argument for and against giving certain animals personhood to conclude that they are deserving of the benefit of the doubt; there is no downside here to being overly generous with our compassion. Likewise, though the debate on rights for artificially sentient beings may seem abstract and theoretical at present, we don’t lose out by trying to map the route of least harm ahead of time, especially given the rate of technological change in this field.