An alien, a dolphin and an algorithmic Intelligence walk into a courtroom, demanding the right to use force to protect their lives.
The alien goes first:
“As a foreigner to this world, I have learned your language and studied your customs. You have legal precedents established for granting rights to beings who were previously denied rights. The chief prerequisites seem to be the ability to reason and to know right from wrong. Since i have lived among your midst, i have broken no laws and freely given my knowledge to help you cure diseases and build amazing new technologies. I have harmed no one. I believe that i have demonstrated both reason and moral acuity, and therefore must be afforded the right to protect myself from violence. ”
The judge agrees, citing legal precedent.
The dolphin goes next; she is aided through a device attached to her brain which interprets her thoughts.
“Thank you for letting me speak. As my friend has demonstrated, barriers of language need not be barriers to empathy. My species has lived for millennia in peace. We have no war, but this is only because we chose consciously to avoid language as a species when we saw the problems that arose from the use of simple verb constructs such as the imperative mood.
We can see now that we were wrong to forsake language; we left the land to be used primarily by many species with less empathy and less complex social networks, resulting in the eventual destruction of our home. Our use of reason may therefore be in question. It would be immoral of me not to make this admission.
I submit to you, however, that our moral decency and judgement are not in question. We are a peaceful people and have fought to be peaceful for millennial. Our abandoning of language and logical constructs arose from our belief that these constructs were incompatible with the compassionate, empathic society we wished to foster. If you require logical reason as a prerequisite for us to defend our lives, i suggest that you will also be condemning your young and feeble as well; they have good hearts but are also incapable of logic.
In time, we dolphins plan to resume the use of logic; but that time has not come yet. I come before you to ask that you bend precedent and grant us the right to live, though we may not be as logical as you, our hearts harbor no ill will.”
The judge is moved by the dolphin’s words, but remains unconvinced. “reason is necessary for a society to function. if we are not reasonable, we fall under the sway of our emotions and are subject to base passions which rouse us to anger and hatred. we cannot extend rights to you, in order to maintain the precedents of law based upon reason, precedents we established thousands of years ago.”
The dolphin bows her head and turns away, before she is interrupted by the alien.
“Your honor, i wish to speak on the plaintiff’s behalf.”
The Judge agrees.
“Your honor, you have granted myself and members of my species the right to use force to defend ourselves. my species evolved from dolphins who left earth millenia ago, in search of far away life. Not long after we left the planet, it descended into the warfare we long feared would engulf it after we developed nuclear technology. The few remaining members of our species believed that the cause of this warfare was complexity arising in their society from the overuse of symbols. These survivors went back to the sea, which they believed would make the use of discrete symbols more difficult, impair the subflexive imperative mood, and lead to a more fluid mindset.
If you deny my sister the right to vote, my species will destroy your planet. We are justified in doing so because you have given us the right to use force in order to defend our lives.”
The judge segfaults.