Personhood [Background]

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Bill G. said: I spent time thinking about what a personhood examination would look like in this world. For example, what is personhood really measuring? The ability to integrate into a society and the responsibilities that go with that, on both sides. The analogy I had was a flock of birds. Fly with us, and we'll help you find food, shelter you from predators and each other, and so on. Sometimes you have to follow the flock, sometimes you'll lead it. It also suggested that there's a continuum or scale. "Fully-human" on one end, "incomprehensible" on the other, with specific tests ("do you experience human-like emotions?", "do you recognize emotions even if you don't experience them?", and so on) pegging you somewhere on that scale. That doesn't necessarily affect the rights granted you, but is something that (for example) would be presented as evidence if you found yourself in court. This is also one of Leo's lasting shames, because he was afraid enough of AEGIS taking his friends away, and ignorant enough of law, that he never really got their rights nailed down properly. When AEGIS agreed to work with him, he sort of assumed all this would be handled. So now he's intent on doing it properly - and not just for Pneuma, but Otto, and Ghost Girl too if she's not already covered and wants legal recognition. and: *** Dave H. said: I'm pretty sure, when this came up in-game a few days ago (Menagerie time), Jason either offered his (the QF's) assistance or shot a note to Barbara to look into legal situation. Leo's not alone in trying to tackle this. I don't know that we've established that there even are "personhood" examinations. In a world visiting meta-aliens (or even just aliens), there must be some legal framework established for their autonomy. Has a machine intelligence gone through that previously? Are Pneuma and Otto (and now Numina) so extraordinary that the question of their personhood is unprecedented in the US or world legal system? (This might also be something where different countries have gone different routes, too.)
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So here's my assumptions. The world has had supers, aliens, super aliens, alien robots, whatever, going back long enough that this question has probably come up already - "if Robbie the Robot is involved in a crime or civil matter, what rights does Robbie have?" There's enough of a range of possible Robbies that a one-size-fits-all solution may not work. If the Iron Giant is a peaceful fellow on a good day, but pointing a gun at him turns him into a weapon of mass destruction automatically, the law needs to be aware of that and take it into consideration. People have tried to game the system before - e.g. build a bunch of Robbies that seem human and could take the legal blame, but are really soulless automata that'll commit a crime on behalf of some mastermind. A consequence of 1 is that there's probably a test that some court established, and that has been through judicial process enough to work most of the time. A consequence of 2 and 3 is that any new "class" of Robbie would need examination and certification. Does that make sense?
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We-the-players also know that Rook's legal team thought they were in good shape here, because you don't ordinarily abduct persons from an airport unless the reward outweighs the considerable risk.
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Edited 1515086130
Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Bill G. said: We-the-players also know that Rook's legal team thought they were in good shape here, because you don't ordinarily abduct persons from an airport unless the reward outweighs the considerable risk. Welllllll, not to pull the curtain aside too much, but Rook had some bad intel on what Pneuma and Otto constituted in terms of tech. They wanted the V.I. (not A.I.) assisted transformer/combiner tech, and that's what they thought they were grabbing. They assumed it was based on Rossum's tech, but more advanced.  Rossum confirmed that, but  He's a dismissive asshole who  Didn't care if it was accurate and  Just wanted Rook to pull one of Leo's bots into his range of influence for a little bit. At some point (actually, there were already getting close to this point) they would have realized what Pneuma constituted, and then there would have been a scramble to either do damage control or make the whole problem vanish and claim ignorance. "It wasn't kidnapping, it was corporate espionage" isn't much of a defense, I realize, especially when there's a 50/50 chance their response to "Oh shit this is a person" is "destroy the evidence."
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
ANYWAY, the point of all that wasn't to reveal a bunch of hidden info, it was this: You don't need to assume there's a huge roadblock to getting their personhoods recognized, based on Rook's actions. There CAN be a huge roadblock, if you think that's cool and interesting. There can be a smaller, more personal drama one, surrounding those canned personhood tests. There can be not much at all, but more drama about retribution against/by Rook. I'm open to all these options.
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That's fair :) for me, the ultimate story here is "we need protection from adults, and sometimes that has to come from other adults". If that's interesting, we make whatever assumptions support it.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
Bill G. said: for me, the ultimate story here is "we need protection from adults, and sometimes that has to come from other adults". If that's interesting, we make whatever assumptions support it. Yeah, I'm on board with that theme. :)
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If there won't be resistance, then, I will write up a story that drops into our timeline at the next moment of downtime, since I have some specific ideas.
People have tried to game the system before - e.g. build a bunch of Robbies that seem human and could take the legal blame, but are really soulless automata that'll commit a crime on behalf of some mastermind. This may be a subset of a broader question that has doubtless been litigated in this world before: assigning responsibility / blame / consent for actions. In a world where mind control (or even just actions driven by memory manipulation) is known and possible, the defense of "The Devil [Telepath / Alien / Elder God / Witch / Intelligent Narcotic / Angel / Author That Nobody Else Knows About But Whom I Can See Through This Fourth Wall] made me do it" is always on the table. So, too, for Robbie to be considered an independent agent (or, if so considered, demonstrate that Rossum left a back door), there would need to be a process to demonstrate that (code dump and review, whatever). 
Bill G. said: If there won't be resistance, then, I will write up a story that drops into our timeline at the next moment of downtime, since I have some specific ideas. Resistance is futile not going to come from me in this case . Go for it!
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Mike
Pro
*** Dave H. said: In a world where mind control (or even just actions driven by memory manipulation) is known and possible, the defense of "The Devil [Telepath / Alien / Elder God / Witch / Intelligent Narcotic / Angel / Author That Nobody Else Knows About But Whom I Can See Through This Fourth Wall] made me do it" is always on the table. There is a wonderful story from Astro City (I think it might be Astro City: The Dark Age , but I can't remember the exact issue) where a lawyer gets his client off for a crime due to similar circumstances.  Causes quite a bit of uproar.  Very much worth a read.  Really, most of Astro City is.
Mike said: There is a wonderful story from Astro City (I think it might be Astro City: The Dark Age , but I can't remember the exact issue) where a lawyer gets his client off for a crime due to similar circumstances.  Causes quite a bit of uproar.  Very much worth a read.  Really, most of Astro City is. Yes! I was thinking of that story. :-) (I think it was actually an "Evil Twin" defense, but the question of mind control from an unknown source was also raised. Or maybe I'm conflating two tales.)