Some ethical problems I've run into while writing a story set in a near future where general artificial intelligence, mind upload and radical genetic engineering are a thing.
If you could scan someone's brain, or the whole body for any matter, and simulate it (not simply emulate it) virtually, would the simulated person be granted human rights?
What if you simulate the person's brain in a cybernetic body?
What if it's an organic body?
What if you modify a person's genes and turn the person into a dog?
As smart as the "dumbest" person? Some people are intellectually impaired an will always have the mind of a 5 year old, and some dogs are as smart as 5 years old. But the intellectually impaired person has human rights and the dogs don't.
Yes, this person might be cured by science in the future, and we know how a default human is supposed to be and this person just happened to have some deficiency that has not enabled his full human capacity, while dogs can't be any smarter.
What if you could modificate a dog's genes to make it smarter, how smart would it need to be to be granted human rights?
But what exacly is a human? If we had a record of every individual specimen that humans descended from since the first self-replicating molecules, could we pinpoint exactly when the first fully-fledged human was born? That if i went to the past and killed him it would be considered that i killed a person and not an animal?
Now from what I know, there is not a "sentience gene" that grants any species that has it human rights, and that makes intelligence more of a spectrum than a series of defined steps, so we could not define a point in the spectrum and say "from this point on you're sentient".
I don't expect any definitive answers, as these are yet unsolved questions of science and philosophy.
Have the precise definition of what constitues a human been discussed in natural rights phylosophy?