As the general public become better read (or better Youtubed…), and religion declines, you can expect a greater number of people to start accepting that humans do not have any divine rights over non-humans. In the last 50 years we have, as a species, learned to love nonhumans more and more – some examples:
- free range chickens
- save the whale
- save old-growth forests
- concern over extinctions
- dogs migrating from the kennel to the bedroom
- assigning “love” to devices like iPhones and corporate branding
There’s a definite trend – and it will become quite interesting when nonhumans become more prolific, because we will need to decide just how much we care about their well-being and the their “rights”.
So this December Yale will be hosting a conference – Personhood Beyond the Human.
The conference will be co-sponsored by the Nonhuman Rights Project and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies in collaboration with the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.
Looking at the list of speakers, it seems most of the focus will be on animal rights (regular welfare and intelligent animals gaining extra rights), but also there will be discussions regarding the rights of androids and other forms of artificial intelligence – plus transhumans.
Now would be a good time to get started on legal definitions and ethical treatment. If a person in a permanent vegetative state has rights, what about the mouse that is injected in the brain with human stem cells?