Should a conscious robot get the same rights as a human?

In the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “The Measure of a Man” Data, an android crew member of the Enterprise, is to be dismantled for research purposes unless Captain Picard can argue that Data deserves the same rights as a human being. Naturally, the question arises: What is the basis upon which something has rights? What gives an entity moral standing? The philosopher Peter Singer argues that creatures that can feel pain or suffer have a claim to moral standing. He argues that nonhuman animals have moral standing since they can feel pain and suffer. Limiting it to people would…

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