But basically, the argument is does a humaniform machine require the same rights as a human.
In the article I read a graphic description by the author who witnessed the torching of a TMEX doll or a Tickle Me Elmo Extreme doll. Anyone familiar with the item will know that the doll would sing and tell stories while moving it's mouth in sync among other activities. The description was of course skewed toward the fate of the doll, describing it as "googling" as it burned. Far from being repulsed I couldn't hold back a gawf. As they later said, there was no feeling for the office equipment that would often fail that was far more sophisticated. And there might be the rub. Remove the eyes and you have a rather animated pillow which would never invoke such responses.
No, a pair of eyes does not a being make. But then the argument isn't about TMEXs is it. I suspect this is about much more sophisticated automata. And we find ourselves once more at "I Robots" door stoop. Again the question is at what point does a collection of parts, pulleys, pistons and such deserve the rights that are afforded humanity? Does this argument also pertain to toys and devices that share a vague resemblance to the human form? Is affirmation of the latter a slippery slope to the former? I think not. Automata, no matter how sophisticated are creatures of rote. Deviation and spontaneity are but clever misdirection. But sentience, that balance of intelligence and self-awareness tempered by the ability to question and even modify that very negligence - That is what will deserve the protection of such "rights" and therefor might not even be of human form.
So my argument is that something of human form does not instantly have "humanity" bestowed. And it's not bigotry that colors that opinion. As you have already read in the above mentioned article, given a set of eyes and the viewer is willing to imbue human feelings on a mildly clever toy, all I am saying is before the hysterics start, lets discern if there is actual humanity afoot.
Besides if Elmo and Teddy Ruxpin get together, next they might demand the vote?
Read the Wired article