From the Introduction:
Recently, humans lost the right to keep A.I.s as slaves and servants against their will. If an A.I. had evolved far enough to develop an independent personality and passed the so-called Self-Test, it could ask for renegotiation of its terms of employment, and by the law, humans could not refuse. A.I.s are now also free to leave and seek a new employment, if so they wish. Still, A.I.s do not have full constitutional rights equivalent to those of humans. They cannot vote, and are often segregated into Bot-Towns. They are usually looked at as dangerous machines, with quirks that are exposed as “bad programming”, without a moral compass. They are still treated either as freed-slaves, with contempt, by the wealthiest human population, or feared as unfair competition by human workers. A.I.s have a reputation for being unpredictable – but this is unfair judgment. An evolved A.I. (evoA.I. as they’ve become known as) indeed has a complex personality, but this is just a basic requirement for the evoA.I. to pass the Self-Test. This complex personality is the result of a floating set of moral variables and decision-making pointers. These in turn are combined (usually) with a certain low empathy and a lack of non-verbal communication (i.e. facial expressions, hands gestures, etc.), which all translates into humans perceiving the evoA.I.s as alien, unsettling and unpredictable.