First of all the so-called meat to metal ratio has nothing to do with being human. Even today we are starting to approach quite high level of technology in prosthetic science. We can only guess at where we’ll end in 20 years.
I believe that the core of “Being Human” could be summed in one word: Imagination. And the ability of thinking out of the box. Without touching the subject of aliens imagination is the one thing that separates us from the rest of animal kind. As it’s something that to my understanding cannot be learned it would be a great test to see if Fred actually is more than the sum of his parts.
Here’s a question to VikaTae: would Fred have a great big “I’m A Robot Sign” stamped in his forehead?
CASE A: Fred, dressed in an indistinguishable “meat-suit” and his above-average intelligence, moves to some quiet suburb. Because of his new job you see. Soon this stranger with a sunny attitude and some wierd ideas becomes accepted around as the weird but OK guy that lives in the Jetsons old house.
CASE B: Half-way trough his operation to become more Human-like, Fred lives near the facilities that will finalize his transformation. As the operation changes Fred’s appearance so does the attitudes of his previously good-willed human co-workers. Soon Fred has turned from skilled factory worker to that metal thing that thinks that he’s as good as us. At the end the company is forced to relocate Fred to protect him.
It has been sided on some of the other posts but to simplify: Shape defines/adjusts Function. Should Fred be more alike case A; his physical appearance be matching humans of that time and place, I think Fred’s ‘robot roots’ would become more like a quirk than a defining factor. Like the fact that one of your neighbors happens to come from India.
However should Fred be more like case B, looking human-like but still carrying his robotness as a defining factor, I think that most people,myself included, would fast start thinking of him being something akin to my coffee maker wanting full human rights.
However strictly speaking. No, I don’t think Fred should have human rights. Why: Firstly I still have a large number of human-borne people that I have a problem of being called human (mainly because they seem to thrive of being called a-holes and lunatics). Secondly I’d re-iterate *beauval*s question: Would he even want human rights? Especially to an outsider many of our so-called rights could and would seem to be quite constrictive. And thirdly what are these human rights we’re giving? Before giving these rights to someone who doesn’t seem to inherently possess them I think an acceptably neutral body of experts should decide on the so-called “core rule-book”. At least to my experience the core of being human tends to vary depending on the circle of one’s friends and living area.
Giving Fred some sort of ‘person rights’ as mentioned by OmegaDoom, of those I have no problem with.
I find that a lot of the comments here remind me of my history lessons when we were discussing the Americas ending of slavery. And as such I think that we should, figuratively speaking, return to this problem with Fred’s great great great grandchildren. As time goes by and people get accustomed to the intelligent robots around, I think that the problem of giving human rights to robots would have a completely different undertone.