"If machines can and do become conscious, will we take their feelings into account?"
If you're worried about this(!), Peter Singer and occasional co-authors tackle these and other fascinating questions in “The Ethics of Life” on The Project Syndicate website.
We know that mirror-neurons in the brain may be a key part of autonomous sympathetic responses. If so, designing robots that are cute, that smile, and so on, will cause humans to react more sympathetically. An experiment shows that simply putting smiley faces on an energy bill will make consumers conserve more energy! (Thanks to Sandra Peart for calling this to my attention.)
I’m sure Mark will enjoy hearing that people can be so easily manipulated… :) (not!) Onward to the robotic age.