Is unplugging a robot from power the same as killing a person? As the commenters said this does not quite work because robots can be plugged back in. So let's replace robots with philosophical zombies, they behave just like humans except for not having consciousness. In particular, once killed they are not coming back. Is killing them the same? In both cases you deactivate them permanently. If it is still not the same, why is harming something with consciousness ethically different from harming something without consciousness?
That depends on what the problem is with killing people.
- A Deontologist could argue that the zombies have no inherent duty of care, being entirely imaginary entities, and so declare Open Season without qualm.
- A Consequentialist could notice that killing philosophical zombies has no effect IRL, and grab a shotgun.
- A Virtue Ethicist could acknowledge the degradation of character inherent in any killing and so have his philosophical brainz eaten.
And whether the morality is to be judged within the Thought Experiment:
- A Deontologist should enquire whether there is a way to distinguish the zombies from normies, allowing different duties toward each.
- A Consequentialist ought consider both killings the same, insofar as the effects of the killing on loved ones, in amount of pain during the process, in GDP,... would be very similar
- A Virtue Ethicist is even more likely to be food for a Zombie Thought Experiment.