As a US presidential candidate and US citizen, I want protection from this kind of thing from the US Constitution. Unfortunately, it's not coming—not because the constitution is an unworthy document, but because it was written with quill pens by patriots whose ideas of weapons in 1787 was a musket or a sword. Technology is outpacing the law, and few people are aware at how vulnerable this phenomenon is leaving citizens.The Second Amendment reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.The key word there is "arms."The landmark 2008 Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, which helped define the term "arms," established that an individual has the right to own a firearm for lawful reasons, including self-defense in one's residence.But this doesn't clear up whether a person can have an on-demand armed drone army in their garage at home. In the near future, that little word "arms" is going to become even more controversial than it has been. Just think of the Iron Man suit, something the military is already developing. Is that a type of weapon, if you wore it and walked into a bank? What about a driverless car transporting dynamite on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge? How about a smartphone that puts out physically hurtful sound waves—something that scientists are working on?
In 20 years, weapons will likely exist that we haven't even thought of yet
All these issues add up to why I'm endorsing a newly written Transhumanist Bill of Rights that aims to add language to the US Bill of Rights. But my futurist document doesn't help other parts of the US Constitution out much, since the Constitution also tackles ideas way beyond personhood and personal rights—and instead focuses on how a country out to be run.Back to the terrorist and the $30,000 drone army in his garage. In a quickly changing environment, the safety of citizens and its people rest with sound policy that prepares them for conflict and catastrophe before they happen—or to avoid it entirely. While I believe in the right to bear some arms (and have been to war zones as a journalist where people didn't have guns and were being crushed by occupying forces), some lone person attacking the downtown of a major city with a drone army is too much for me.The Second Amendment was put in place to protect a free state and its people, and to give individuals that power to do so. Now in a world where it's possible within 25 years a 3D printer will be able to help mostly print a dirty bomb that can take out a whole city, I wonder if the amendment can hold out.In fact, I'm guessing that entire new wording and interpretations will have to be drawn up to address the issues. It'll certainly have to address that personal drones, robots, and cyberterror are the future of arms, and not guns.America is changing. It's not because people, their desire for freedom, or their morals are much different than 200+ years ago, but because technology is changing the rules and maybe even the entire game. We better rewrite our policies and laws soon. Maybe we even better start from scratch.Zoltan Istvan is a futurist, author of The Transhumanist Wager, and presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party. He writes an occasional column for Motherboard in which he ruminates on the future beyond natural human ability.
There's no historical framework to instruct us for whether we should grant conscious, sapient robots personhood and citizenship