Monday, 31 October 2016
"'You're not a person!...Not even in fact, let alone the law!'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 208)
My understanding has been that Muddlehead is a consciousness-level "computer." True or false? In any case, either he is or he is not. If he is not, then Chee is arguing with no one. If he is conscious, then he is a person in fact and should be in law. In that case, whether he can own property is purely a matter of the laws governing property in any given society.
Asimov's Robot stories fail to address this issue. The robots are self-conscious and intelligent, yet are property and can legally be destroyed. It is not good enough that the question about their rights is never even addressed.