Giving citizenship to bots

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The crypto friendly island of Malta wants to give civil liberties to bots and other forms of artificial intelligence. Some experts say this is a profoundly bad idea.

Six years ago, when Amazon started talking about using delivery drones, many people thought they must be joking. Far from it—drones are now very much a reality: in April, Google offshoot, Wing Aviation, won certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration to begin commercial drone deliveries. If you live in Blacksburg, Virginia, drones could be landing on your porch by the end of the year.

In a similar vein, it’s tempting to scoff at Malta’s plans, announced in November, to give citizenship to bots. Voting rights, healthcare, civil liberties—everything is on the table. In fact, states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia have already granted robots citizens rights.

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