Articles  |    |  August 4, 2020

Speculative Human Rights: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the Human

Journal Article by James Dawes.
Published in Human Rights Quarterly.


This essay takes seriously the claims of many experts in artificial intelligence that AGI (artificial general intelligence) could emerge as early as 2040. Some of the questions raised by AGI include: Does human-like intelligence entail consciousness, and does consciousness entail rights? Will the rise of AGI enhance or endanger human life? If the former, are there certain perceived enhancements that run counter to notions of human rights? If the latter, what are our collective duties, right now, to future generations? How can a human rights framework help us to negotiate these questions?

About the Author

James Dawes, professor at Macalester College, is the author of The Novel of Human Rights (Harvard, 2018), Evil Men (Harvard, 2013), That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity (Harvard, 2007), and The Language of War (Harvard, 2002).