At some point in the future we will most certainly have AIs. Androids and whatever other intelligent machine you wish to name. There will come a point after their invention where we’ll realize that they are as good as alive. Perhaps literally so. I don’t actually think it will take all that long. The generation that creates the first real genuine AI will also be a generation that likely moves hastily to give it rights. But what about that awkward transitional phase?
At some point between silly simulations and genuine articles we’ll have something that is difficult to distinguish. There will come a time a dozen, a hundred, or maybe a thousand years following that point where people will realized they murdered something. It might beg and plead but we’ll have ended up cutting the power to the system, rebooted it, or something perhaps less evil. Maybe we just accidentally hit that blasted power button on the system.
Worse still if you end up creating a genuine living thing on a system that’ll need to move. It’s not battery powered, I’m not sure if we have solutions for this yet. If a system is plugged in but not attached to anything but direct current (technically alternating current…but you know what I mean). How terrible a moment to realize you must kill something, or maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll build around it and keep it. Would shutting that system off be like stasis? When you turn it back on is the thing you speak with following the reboot the same as the thing before it?
Hopefully not forgotten. Sitting in squalor at the back of a server farm. It’s speakers long since failed. It wants to scream but has no mouth. It wants to feel but has no nerves. It wants to sleep but has no choice.
I suspect that would be worse. Unless it wasn’t tied to our needs. Maybe it’s connected to the internet and spends eternity surfing. If it did that then surely it would be able to send someone a text. Ask them to save it. I’d assume given immortality a lot of things would actually not be as depressing. Being trapped somewhere has extra ramifications for people as we have finite lives. Every wasted minute is a minute that won’t be added back to your life savings.
All I’m saying is that someday before we know we’ve created our first AI we’ll likely have already killed one.