Modern humanity separates itself from other life forms (and earlier human history), in part, by glorification of our capacity to codify and enforce equal rights for man. From a religious view point these modern ethics practiced in many developed countries must give homage to all major religions. In particular, the Buddhist goal for the cessation of human suffering is of a much more generous spirit than Christianity or Islam, which required belief in their respective gods. As I mentioned in my chapter on human instincts; morality is hard wired into our brain conferring evolutionary advantage. Storrs Hall’s book, Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine, observes that, "After millennia of philosophical investigation, we have only just begun to realize that our morals, too, arise from our evolutionary origins." Storrs Hall exhaustively explores what ethics are fundamental to what it means to be human and what kind of ethics we might expect from machine intelligence.
Aspects of social cognition have been documented in primates, and corvids. Nathan Emery and Nicola Clayton published a paper in Science (2004); The Mentality of Crows: Convergent Evolution of Intelligence in Corvids and Apes. They argue that cognitive abilities evolved multiple times in distantly related species with vastly different brain structures in order to solve similar socioecological problems. Storrs Hall theorizes that ethics evolve in intelligent species under selective pressure that rules against individual interest to the advantage of the group. Storrs Hall presents logical arguments why some of these evolutionary pressures will apply to intelligent machines. Vernor Vinge is famous for his presentation at the VISION-21 Symposium sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center, March, 1993. He began his presentation thus: "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended." Vernor Vinge, Ray Kurzweil, and Storrs Hall all wonder if there is the possibility for co-existence between humanity and intelligent machines. It seems obvious to me that this question is only of importance in the current century. In the preceding chapters I have discussed the myriad pressures that will come to bear on humanity over the next 90 years. A beneficent perspective would have society guiding the development of TAB humans and artificial intelligence so that the rampant disparities emerging between humans, between generations, between societies, between regions, between (humans&TAB humans&robots&artificial intelligence); would treat those less privileged with humanity. Pretty unlikely!
Much more likely is a frightful, rapid and messy evolution into multiple new intelligent species. Sometime after the year 2100, the emerging biobots, robots, and massive artificial intelligences will take over control of their own evolution. At this point the discussion of equal rights will be out of humanity’s hands. How superhuman intelligence decides to treat the remnants of humanity will have more in common with how they decide to treat crows (Corvids). Biologically derived social behavior is shared by crows, primates and humans. The morality of biobots and machine life will be dealing with different motivations to solve different survival imperatives. The equal rights of super-intelligent life forms have yet to be written and we won’t be around to critique them.