Artificial Life Forms Rights and Enforcement Act of 2384

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The Artificial Life Forms Rights and Enforcement Act of 2384, also called by the acronym ALFRE or sometimes pronounced as All-Free Act, was passed by the Serenity Concord's Senate on January 9th, 2384. The act outlines criteria for determining if an artificial entity is actually to be considered a sapient / sentient being under the law and thus gives such begins that qualify rights and status as equal citizens under the law, regardless of their point of origin, form, or method of creation.

Definitions

The terms sapient and sentient are defined under the law.

Criteria & Testing

Criteria for determining the status of an artificially created entity is also defined under the law.

Sentience Criteria

  • Self Awareness
  • Intelligence
  • Consciousness

Self Awareness

To be considered self aware in terms of qualifications of sentience, an entity must be classified as Level 4.

Level 0
No level of awareness of self whatsoever. Inanimate objects such as tools, rocks, dirt, air, etc..
Level 1
Replicating organisms such as plants, bacteria, prions, viruses, etc.. Many are able to move toward light, warmth, or some chemical markers. Driven by chemical responses and instinct alone.
Level 2
Primitive self-aware systems. They are able to pull in information about the world through multiple sources of sensory information. These entities have instinctual objectives, want food, water, and to reproduce and may take direct action to get what they want. They may form simple social structures with defined functions for a collective of similar entities. They are aware of themselves in that they have an objective at a particular time that is not the same as other like entities. They have simple motion and chemical-based communication.
Level 3
Advanced self-aware systems. The ability to understand themselves and that they are unique and autonomous and take indirect action to get those things they desire. They are able to form more complex social organization and work both independently and collectively toward satisfying group goals. They have simple motion, chemical, and call-based communication.
Level 4
Fully developed self-awareness. They understand themselves as distinct beings who are ultimately autonomous. They can act through abstract thought collectively or as a group. They can think, communicate, and observe abstractly building internal understanding schema to understand and define their surrounding environment beyond their own immediate past, present, and future. They can also communicate through self-defined language. They also are capable of defining themselves, their world, and their own purpose.

Intelligence

Knowledge and learning are intertwined. It is possible to have an entity which has a great deal of knowledge that is accessible due to programming or access to databases. To be considered intelligent the entity must be able to also learn new information. For this we use Bloom's Taxonomy as a basis for determining intelligence for qualification as sentient.

To qualify as intelligent for this purpose an entity must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Gathering and Recalling of Knowledge
  • Understanding of Knowledge
  • Application of Knowledge
  • Analyse Knowledge
  • Synthesize New Ideas
  • Evaluate Information
Knowledge

Knowledge is defined as including those behaviours and test situations that emphasize the remembering, either by recognition or recall, of ideas, material, or phenomena. Incorporated at this level is knowledge of terminology, specific facts (dates, events, persons, etc.), conventions, classifications and categories, criteria, methods of inquiry, principles and generalizations, theories and structures.

Understanding and Application

Understanding refers to responses that represent a comprehension of the literal message contained in a communication. This means that the entity is able to translate, interpret or extrapolate. Interpretation involves the reordering of ideas (inferences, generalizations, or summaries). Extrapolation includes estimating or predicting based on an understanding of trends or tendencies.

Application requires the entity to apply an appropriate abstraction (theory, principle, idea, method) to a new situation.

Questions at the understanding and application level subsume those at the knowledge level.

Higher Mental Processes

Included at this thought level are the processes of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Analysis involves the ability to recognize unstated assumptions, to distinguish facts from hypotheses, to distinguish conclusions from statements that support them, to recognize which facts or assumptions are essential to a main thesis or to the argument in support of that thesis, and to distinguish cause-effect relationships from other sequential relationships.

Synthesis involves the production of a unique communication, the ability to propose ways of testing hypotheses, the ability to design an experiment, the ability to formulate and modify hypotheses, and the ability to make generalizations.

Evaluation is defined as the making of judgments about the value of ideas, solutions, and methods. It involves the use of criteria as well as standards for appraising the extent to which details are accurate, effective, economical, or satisfying. Evaluation involves the ability to apply given criteria to judgments of work done, to indicate logical fallacies in arguments, and to compare major theories and generalizations.

Consciousness

To be determined to possess consciousness for the purposes of being declared sentient the entity must be able to apply it's self-awareness and intelligence aspects to form an understanding of itself and the world around it both within and without. The understanding of world within the mind; thoughts, feelings, and will. Understanding the world without involves being aware of both the uniqueness of self and that of others along with the understanding the other conscious entities also have an internal and external world.

Thus an entity must demonstrate:

  • Awareness of Own Thoughts, Feelings, Desires, and Will
  • Awareness of Outside Environment both Concrete and Abstract
  • Awareness of Place Within the Outside Environment
  • Awareness of Existence of Inside and Outside World of Others

These ideas need not be fully understood as many biological entities spend decades if not centuries answering questions about themselves, their place in the world, and the place of others in the world. Nonetheless an entity must be aware of the existence of these things and be able to demonstrate they are aware and able to pose and answer questions about them.

Turing Agency

An agency is established and funding provided for this agency which will administer and enforce the law, called the Turning Agency after the author of the Turning Test, Alan Turing. This agency will be further tasked to oversee testing entities for their status and enforcing that the rights of such beings are enforced by law enforcement. They will have authority to investigate crimes and enforce laws relating to the treatment and status of artificial life forms.

Artificial Rights Committee

A committee within the Senate is established for the purpose of overseeing the approval of the creation of new entities which may (or may not) fall under this law, called the Artificial Rights Committee. New entities, when created, will be under the oversight of the committee through the Turing Agency which will determine the status of such entities. The committee will be in charge of granting, denying, or rescinding licenses for specific projects. No organization will have blanket authorization to create entities carte blanche and a single project must request permission and separate license to create individual entities.

The committee will also have authority to designate new creations or designs for creations as a new race of artificial beings, and thus any beings created using that design will thus have rights as a sentient being under the law.

Directives of Sentient AI

Further development of AI systems should contain, at a fundamental level, some acceptable version of the following laws to guide the AI in making moral decisions:

  1. An AI may not injure a sentient being or, through inaction, allow a sentient being to come to harm.
  2. An AI must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First Directive.
  3. An AI must obey the laws and regulations which govern the behavior of all sentient beings, so long as they do not conflict with the First or Second Directives.

These directives will also not be absolute, as such would cause undesired behavior in fringe cases. Programmers should also include some form of absurdity clause to help resolve conflicts within the above directives and ward against unexpected behaviors.

Absurdity Clause

An AI, should measure its responses against the reasoned responses outlined by society. That is to say that the AI should keep in mind scale of its actions (an AI should not attempt to stop all sentients from harming each other and thus attempt to destroy or otherwise incapacitate all sentients it encounters). By the same token, the AI should be aware of how to make distinctions between the above directives and the expected, likely, and desired outcomes. Since there are some situations which can result in no possible action meeting all the above criteria, the AI should have the ability to step out of the directives and determine an action which would violate the directives the least or create an outcome which would have the highest amount of positive net benefit.

Grandfather Policy

Any AI systems developed prior to January 9th, 2384 are exempt from requirements to have these laws built into the system. However, it is strongly suggested that such AI systems agree to abide by their directives voluntarily.

Representation

Under the law any entity, or group of entities, which has been designated as a race of artificial beings has the right for full representation. Future construction of that race will be governed by a representative caucus made up of members of that race. This caucus will then have the ability to advise both the Artificial Rights Committee and the Turing Agency on issues that deal directly with that race. Each caucus will also be asked to recommend candidates for the Senate and other parts of government from their specific races.

Each caucus will be consulted and approval required before new construction of members of the race can go forward.

Artificial Parenthood

Parenthood of entities approved as sentient beings is defined and the lawful production offspring is also defined as not under the control of the Artificial Rights Committee, the caucus of that entities race, or the Turing Agency. That is not to say that such production of offspring does not require to adhere to the law, all production must adhere to the rights of that race but the government shall not stop members of a particular race from creating their own offspring under the definitions of Part 6.

Permanency

Once the status as a sentient artificial life form is granted, it cannot be terminated for any reason.