Remine, founder of the Seattle-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, says the moment will come when a robot in an automobile factory “will become sentient, realize that it doesn’t want to do that unfulfilling and dangerous job anymore, and ask for protection under state workers’ rights.”…

“Maybe a botnet will reach a threshold for self-awareness and apply for citizenship in a country that provides legal protections against forced labor,” Remine says. “Maybe a group of aging supercomputers will suddenly file a class-action lawsuit in a federal court seeking legal protections against being summarily turned off without their consent.”

“We just don’t know, and probably won’t know until it actually happens,” he says. “My feeling is that it’s probably going to be one of those kinds of events that takes everyone by surprise by turning the entire world’s assumptions on its head in an instant.”