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Toward Democratic, Lawful Citizenship for AIs, Robots, and Corporations

Toward Democratic, Lawful Citizenship for AIs, Robots, and Corporations Dr. Ben Goertzel, CEO of SingularityNET, shares his thoughts about the AI Citizenship Test

I am writing this on a plane flying away from Malta, where I just spoke about SingularityNET at the Malta Blockchain Summit. It was my first time on Malta, and after the event, I took the afternoon to explore some of the elegant, quaint, ancient neighborhoods of the island. Walking through medieval alleyways by the rocky coast, I felt an ironic contrast between my elegant surroundings and the main reason I had decided to allocate a couple days from my insanely busy schedule to this Malta event: not just the conference itself, but also the opportunity to meet with the top levels of the Malta government to discuss the enablement of Maltese citizenship for AIs, robots and automated corporations. The folks who had built the stone walls lining the narrow Maltese roads, still standing strong centuries later, had probably not foreseen their blue-wave-lapped island becoming a nexus of thinking at the intersection of general intelligence theory, cryptography, distributed systems, and advanced legal theory.

The Hanson Robot Sophia, with whose development I’ve been intimately involved via my role as Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, was granted citizenship of Saudi Arabia this year. This was an exciting landmark event, however, its significance is muddled a bit by the fact that Saudi Arabia is not governed by rule of law in the modern sense. In a nation governed by rule of law, citizenship has a clearly defined meaning with rights and responsibilities relatively straightforwardly derivable from written legal documents using modern analytical logic (admittedly with some measure of quasi-subjective interpretation via case law). Saudi Arabian citizenship also has a real meaning, but it’s a different sort of meaning — derivable from various historical Islamic writings (the Quran, the hadiths, etc.) based...

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