"The AI systems themselves might begin to plead, or seem to plead, for ethical treatment," the pair predicted. "Suppose we respond conservatively, declining to change law or policy until there’s widespread consensus that AI systems really are meaningfully sentient," Shevlin and Schwitzgebel wrote. The "safer" alternative to this doomsday scenario would be to give conscious machines rights upfront — but that, too, would come with its own problems. If we too quickly grant AI systems substantial rights, the human costs could be enormous." "None of our current AI systems are meaningfully conscious," the theorists noted.