Can a Robot Vote?

This task force gives students the responsibility of deciding whether or not robots should have the right to vote.

Task Force: Can a Robot Vote?

Congratulations!

The Supreme Court has decided to give you the decision to decide whether or not an amendment should be added to the constitution. This amendment would give robots the ability to vote in various elections throughout the year, including the presidential election. We ask you to come up with a decision about whether or not robots should be allowed to vote and then specifically defend your stance.

Why Are We Doing This?:

The most advanced robot in the world, Sophia the Robot, has gained rising attention in recent years. She has the ability to function like a human in many ways, and continues to learn how to mimic human behavior from her experiences. She has even been granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia! However, there might be ways in which robots will never be able to mimic certain human thoughts and ideas (such as ethics and morality). Taking these factors into consideration, we ask you to come to a decision about whether or not these kinds of robots should be allowed to vote in the future as technology continues to advance. 

Steps:

  1. Try to come to a decision about whether or not robots should be allowed to vote in various elections throughout the year. Brainstorm disadvantages and advantages of whatever decision you reach. 
    1. Would not allowing them to vote would infringe on their rights if certain countries allow them to have citizenship?
    2. Do you think robots will be able to learn more about morality and ethics in the future? Why or why not? 
    3. Are those factors important in allowing robots to vote? 
    4. Do all humans make decisions influenced by morality and ethics?
  2. Think through the possible objections about your decision that someone could have and how you would answer them.
  3. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your decision is the ideal approach for the question of whether or not robots should be allowed to vote!

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • There can be some gray area in your decision-making. Perhaps your group is okay with certain types of robot voting. Maybe this means robots can vote about certain things, but not others.
  • You can potentially brainstorm ideas to let robots have a say in other affairs in society.
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your reasons are more important.
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