The idea that some animals should be designated legal persons — and not just property — is starting to gain some serious traction. Already today, India has, at least in principle, named dolphins as persons and banned their inclusion into aquatic theme parks. The IEET's Rights of the Nonhuman Persons program — a program that I founded and currently chair — seeks to do much more. We'd like to see not just dolphins, but whales, elephants, and all great apes given the same consideration — and not just in principle; the only way to truly protect highly sapient animals from such things as undue confinement and experimentation is to grant them the status that they truly deserve, which is that of the person.
But we're not only interested in animal welfare — we're also looking ahead to the future when artificial intelligenceandrobotswill need to be granted personhood status as well lest they be abused, exploited, and left unaccountable.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about using supercomputers to simulate the human brain. But as scientists get progressively closer to achieving.
To that end, we've organized thePersonhood Beyond the Humanconference, which will be held at Yale University from December 6-8. We're bringing together a number of leading experts to discuss the prospect.
Also speaking will be marine biologistLori Marino, scifi authorDavid Brin, attorney-entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt, bioethicist Linda MacDonald Glenn, IEET executive director James Hughes, robot ethicist Wendell Wallach,and many, many more. Including me.
You can register for the conference here. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you'd like to schedule an interview.