To say no to this is dangerous ground to tread. The further one ventures into the uncertain territory of consciousness, the less the average human seems to be. Humans are at their cores machines, and simply use cogs of flesh over steel. The only difference between a human and an AI would be the ability to interface with an AI brain directly, and distinction will likely not exist in the future.
In a future where distinguishing between an AI and a human might be difficult (approaching or past ), granting protection to AI entities is necessary. It is required in order to prevent the abuse of the rights of humans under the pretext that the perpetrator was unable to distinguish themselves from an AGI