Found this on my phone. Can’t remember when I wrote it, nor if it was finished.
When it comes to separating artificial life forms from the genetic, there’s something very appealing about the Turing test. Whether or not one subjectively can tell the difference between man and manmade is somehow all that matters, seems to me.
Of course there are administrative issues: Just who decides what is living and what is not in, say, legal cases? How many tests are needed to reach a definite conclusion? In the end it must all come down to an educated guess. But then again, aren’t most verdics just that? In either case, many of us have probably been victims to the infamous “captcha” tests, sometimes rendering us no more human than a simple bot. Now imagine a similar test but with far greater consequences than “Please try again.”
Then, once you’ve identified those “different” from us, there’s the issue of where to go from there. As a race we’ve not yet encountered a species with as advanced mental capabilities as ourselves, and thus have never had to deal with that kind of questions before. Soon enough though, this is all likely to change. Following the creation of artificial intelligence we must ask if we’ve also created artificial life in the process. If you’re a believer of the soul the exclusion is simple, but to me that seems like cheating.
Then what? Do we treat them differently? What laws dictate who to include in our declaration of human rights, and who to subject to Charles Darwin’s “ survival of the fittest?” Most of us are comfortable eating other animals. In the future we’ll have to examine exactly what makes this okay.