The moral status and rights of artificial intelligence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As AIs acquire greater capacities, the issue of whether AIs would acquire greater moral status becomes salient. This chapter sketches a theory of moral status and considers what kind of moral status an AI could have. Among other things, the chapter argues that AIs that are alive, conscious, or sentient, or those that can feel pain, have desires, and have rational or moral agency should have the same kind of moral status as entities that have the same kind of intrinsic properties. It also proposes that a sufficient condition for an AI to have human-level moral status and be a rightsholder is when an AI has the physical basis for moral agency. This chapter also considers what kind of rights a rightsholding AI could have and how AIs could have greater than human-level moral status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEthics of Artificial Intelligence
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780190905033
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • AI moral status
  • Consciousness
  • Human-level moral status
  • Moral agency
  • Rational agency
  • Rightsholders
  • Robot rights
  • Sentience
  • Superintelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'The moral status and rights of artificial intelligence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this