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Reviewed by ANDRE BEAUMONT
14 January 2017
So American corporations can have personhood and now the European Parliament wants robots to have personhood, too.
It all sounds like a winding back of the clock to the days of a Boris Johnson despatch from Brussels.
So here's a thought.
Companies, trusts, charities, governments are all, with a small bit of effort, exempt from inheritance tax and capital gains tax so why not human beings who want to compete on the same basis?
Or are we now going to add robots to the list of those exempt?
Let us all not mistake the philosophical standpoint I am coming from - all non-sentient beings are, prima facie, inferior to sentient ones - and that is the first principle of statecraft.
So the second flows easily enough - the state is inferior to the individual (and that from a non-hierarchicist).
So you get the drift. The little green bug that is discovered on Mars is inferior to the robot that digs it up and the bots that send it, let's not even bother about their AI.
The third principle is don't dismiss it. Every institution is going to come under scrutiny in the next decade to justify its purpose and many will fail - and they will all be non-sentient. Those that have something to do with sentience - like marriage - probably will not.
Just because we haven't inherited anything does not mean that other generations should not and have to start again. Inheritance tax starting at the current levels will destroy the cohesiveness of millions of middle class and working class family.
Redistribution, if that is what political tribes desire, will not happen in an effective sense except by the transfer from the non-sentient to the sentient.
Investment capital cannot find an adequate return in production of goods but families are the best venture capitalists.
A reason why there is so much resistance to this transfer of emphasis back to the individual is that people transfer the empire-building instincts within them, which they know will not find realisation within themselves, to external non-sentient entities like the corporation and the state.
There is a way out - become a cyborg.