Emerging Technologies

This AI has officially been granted residence

People walk past signboards of restaurants at Tokyo's business district October 17, 2014. Nearly half of Japanese firms think the government should start defending the yen at this month's dollar high of 110, a Reuters survey shows, underscoring the threat that rising fuel and other import costs pose to a fragile economy. Picture taken October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

A chatbot based in Tokyo, Japan has just been granted residency and is designed to help navigate the city Image: REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Patrick Caughill
Associate Editor, Futurism
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Emerging Technologies?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Japan is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Japan

Digital Pinocchio

Tokyo, Japan may have just become the first city to officially grant residence to an artificial intelligence (AI). The intelligence’s name is Shibuya Mirai and exists only as a chatbot on the popular Line messaging app. Mirai, which translates to ‘future’ from Japanese, joins Hanson Robotic’s “Sophia” as pioneering AI gaining statuses previously reserved for living, biological entities. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted Sophia citizenship last month.

The Shibuya Ward of Tokyo released a statement through Microsoft saying, “His hobbies are taking pictures and observing people. And he loves talking with people… Please talk to him about anything.” The goal of Mirai is said to be to familiarize some of the 224,000 citizens of the district with the local government and give them an avenue to share opinions with officials.

Mirai is programmed to be a seven-year-old boy and can have text conversations with users and even “make light-hearted alterations to selfies he is sent,” according to Agence France Presse.

Image: Futurism

Artificial Intelligence and Robot Rights

This trend of recognizing artificially intelligent entities as citizens, residents, or other similar distinctions leads to the larger conversation of what rights, if any, should be afforded to synthetic entities. Developments in AI are rapidly moving forward, yet many popular discussions of robot rights remain in the abstract.

And while we may be far from having artificial intelligence that possesses human-level consciousness, the legal and ethical frameworks should be in place well before that level of sophistication is possible.

Science-fiction writers have been wrestling with this hard question for decades. Movies like Chris Columbus’s treatment of Isaac Asimov’s The Bicentennial Man and Steven Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence have explored the idea of granting human distinctions to artificial beings. The television show Westworld tackles the broad spectrum of robot rights, in an intense, visceral sense, including topics such as violence, murder, and sexual assault on artificially intelligent beings.

As Futurism previously reported, in the real world, Estonia seems to be pioneering discussion in this area. In a mix between high-tech and mythology, Estonia proposes that any discussion of robot rights should begin with a test inspired by Kratts, an inanimate object brought to life with magic to perform tasks for the owner. The proposed Kratt Law will allow the law to determine the level of sophistication of an AI, which, in turn, will help determine what legal protections or obligations should be placed on the AI.

As Marten Kaevats, the national digital advisor for the government office of Estonia, told Futurism, “It all started out from the self-driving car taskforce. We quite soon discovered that these liability, integrity, and accountability issues are not specific to self-driving cars; they’re general AI questions.”

Already, then, around the world, the rapid growth of technology is causing lawmakers to wrestle with some truly fantastic questions. It is of the utmost importance to address these issues head-on so we can properly be prepared for the future, as many ideas that were previously relegated to the realm of science-fiction are rapidly entering reality.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Emerging TechnologiesFourth Industrial Revolution
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Is cellular agriculture the next big leapfrog for East Africa?

Didier Toubia

June 17, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum