[RE]CONSIDER / ISSUE 199 / Profile: Alexandra Drennan

Once a true artificial intelligence has been created, the issue of citizenship is going to come up. If we acknowledge that the A.I. has all the abilities of a human brain, should it not be considered a citizen? Is it not, in the legal sense of the word, a person, and thus a potential citizen?

But where do you draw the line, some people will object. Will the great apes become citizens? Elephants? Whales? The more intelligent parrot species? It's crazy, they will say. I would remind these people that we live in a society in which a corporation, as abstract an entity as one could imagine, is considered a person. So it's not like there is no precedent for a nonhuman being a person. At least an artificial intelligence is an actual thinking being, not just a business arrangement.

But perhaps we do need to question the definition of personhood. Increasing amounts of evidence regarding the intelligence of elephants or the existence of culture among whales, for example, could be a sign that we need to answer some difficult questions.

Who better to debate these questions with than the young genius who revolutionized the f$§%&$§ &