dcblogs writes: Social robots, machines with the ability to do grocery shopping, fix dinner and discuss the day’s news, may gain limited rights, similar to those granted to pets. Kate Darling, a research specialist at the MIT Media Lab, looks at this broad issue in a recent paper, “Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots.” “The Kantian philosophical argument for preventing cruelty to animals is that our actions towards non-humans reflect our morality — if we treat animals in inhumane ways, we become inhumane persons. This logically extends to the treatment of robotic companions. Granting them protection may encourage us and our children to behave in a way that we generally regard as morally correct, or at least in a way that makes our cohabitation more agreeable or efficient.” If Apple or any company can make a robot that leaves the factory with rights the marketing potential, as Darling makes note of, may be significant. But then if corporations are people, why not give rights to their assembly line babies?