monkey-trial-cartoonSeveral hundreds of years ago, during the war between Britain and France, a dead monkey was washed up at the shores of Great Britain. Because of the collective paranoia and social insanity Britain was suffering from during those days, the entire village, and its administration, all the way to the King’s court, decided they’d trial the monkey for treason and espionage! The monkey, regardless of the fact of that it was dead, was put to trial, and convicted of High Treason, and sentenced to hanging.

Regardless of how insane the above story sounds like for the uninitiated, our legal system faces similar challenges in the near future. Simply due to the fact that our computers becomes more and more “intelligent”, and the lines between what you are responsible for in person, and what must be contributed to somebody else, with a higher amount of understanding, becomes very difficult to see clearly.

The natural consequence of better and more advanced Artificial Intelligence, is simply that our computers must be given rights at some point in our near future, as sentient beings, in addition to intrinsic value. While they also must be given obligations, they must fulfill, to be considered responsible citizens.

In a future not so far away from now, our court system is destined to handling a trial, where a man convicted of a crime please innocence, blaming the computer, or the World Wide Web collectively. The question is when, and what crimes will be tried? And more interestingly, how do we convict and sentence a computer? And where do we draw the lines between what the computer did, and what individuals “feeding” the computer did? Where does the computer really stop, and you start? When your entire life is on Facebook, where do you stop, and the World Wide Web start? Even if the computer is found guilty, who do we blame? Every single person on the planet, for being a “part” of the computer? Or the silicon composing the computer?

If you think this sounds far fetched, feel free to see the video below, and realize that Derren Brown probably has around 150 in IQ. Then imagine what a sentience with access to all information on the planet, with an IQ of one billion can do …

Hence; “It wasn’t me, the computer did it!”