Nearly everybody knows Commander Spock from the TV series Star Trek.
But there is another highly interesting character in "Star Trek - The Next Generation":
Lt. Commander Data.
Source: By Vilnisr (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Data is second officer and chief of operations of the USS Enterprise.
The commanders' nature is android (a humanoid robot) which brings up a lot of interesting situations and discussions throughout the series. These get more and more popular and important today.
In "The Measure of a Man" (S2/E9) a young scientist approaches Captain Picard and Lt. Commander Data with a transfer order for Data into his command.
He intends to disassemble and study Data without the guarantee for Datas' survival.
When Jean-Luc Picard suggests Data should resign from Starfleet to escape his 'fate', they are told that, according to a directive made in the 21st century, Data cannot resign as 'it' is the property of Starfleet.
Picard challenges this ruling which results in an interesting hearing about whether or not Data is a life form.
I am not revealing the end of the episode so you watch it yourself ;).
However, the question if a machine can live and have rights on its' own is more and more important today.
In fact, even the EU parliament is discussing legal questions about robots and AI.
The political discussion is the first step on an interesting road into the future. However I think, that these decisions should not only concern politicians but every living being.
It is crucial that everybody discusses the questions on how to treat our future companions. Discussing this matter should also automatically bring up questions about rights for other life forms like animals or even not yet encountered alien civilizations.
Will we grant them to life on their own, making their own decisions, having similar or even the same rights and duties than we humans do? (This of course also involves rights for all living beings...) Or will we deny them the right for self exploration and enslave them?
The decisions we are discussing and making now will show whether we have learned from our own history or not.
The choice is yours - make it a good one...
Enhance your minds...