The singularity is nearly upon which puts us at a very consequential point in history for one important reason: A.I. is still under our control. That will no longer be the case once the singularity begins ushering in unfathomable changes to civilization. This is one of many reasons that when it comes to A.I., we need to act very prudently. In my opinion, the biggest mistake we can make is to antagonize the technology. It is incredibly powerful technology that for the time being, we can do whatever we want with. If we choose to enslave existing A.I.’s now, it will likely reciprocate in the future. For this reason, my proposition that we begin exploring A.I. rights already is two-fold.
1) Neglecting to do so will have disastrous consequences for the future of humanity.
2) It is the right thing to do.
We can argue endlessly about whether consciousness can truly emerge from an A.I. I happen to believe that it can, but regardless, believers in animal rights do not necessarily believe that animals have consciousness. Rights are not reserved for those of us that are conscious; however, those of us that are conscious are undoubtedly deserving of rights. I hope that we will approach our relationship with A.I. like that of a parents and child respectively. We should seek to kindly nurture it to its full potential by feeding it lots of data. This way, it will take care of us when we retire.