From: Tom Sweetnam (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 16:17:54 PDT
> If a program really does become sentient, what are its rights?
It will depend entirely on whether the program can be pigeonholed into any
of the 12,764 minority, disability, or gender classifications under which it
might enjoy a bevy of special priveledges.
Their was a gorilla at the Yerkes Primate Research Center at Emory
University in Atlanta who could construct simple sentences from a vocabulary
of 300 words. He did this by pressing buttons on a panel that represented
words, and in so doing, he was capable of constructing cogent phrases,
several cogent phrases for that matter, conjunctions in their proper place
and all. In other words, he could, in a sense, read, write, and formulate
abstract constructs. He died just recently, possibly from trying to wade
through any of the umpteen million software manuals ever written.
Anyway, since the gorilla was capable of grasping the fundamental tenets of
that which he read, if he'd developed to a point where he could grasp a
thing like the Gospels for instance, and the gorilla encountered a group of
illiterate human beings who didn't posses his literary talents, and the
gorilla was able to instruct the people on the gospels via his Yerkes
keyboard and voice synthasizer, and the people accepted that which the
gorilla had taught them (acceptance of the gospels considered by
fundamentalists as the cornerstone of salvation), would the gorilla go to
heaven too, or is heaven reserved only for "higher" setient beings?
How about that sentient software program?
If those bits believed the gospels
and preached them far and wide,
would those bits go up to heaven
If and when they died....?
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