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Proposed new definition of life would include embryos, exclude AI

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Some scientists have been doing some thinking about the NASA definition of life (“a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution”) and wondering if it needs a rethink in the age of advanced robotics:

AI robots would not fit into our definition because human beings can control all aspects of computer functions. There is no uncertainty, nor unknowability, with AI robots. AI-based human robots can be programed to replicate themselves and even can be programed to terminate. However, robots do not sense “mutations” or engage in any natural selection process and, therefore, would not meet our criteria as “living.”John D. Loike, Robert Pollack, “Opinion: How to Define Life” at The Scientist

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But lawyer and ethicist Wesley J. Smith points out, embryos would:

Speaking of moral value, the professors’ proposed definition would certainly include the earliest human embryos, their status as “human life” often denied by those who wish to justify their wanton destruction or casual instrumental use as natural resources. Wesley J.Smith, “Scientists’ Definition of Life Excludes AI, but Includes Embryos” at Mind Matters News

To be honest, we were fully expecting that the next thing we’d hear is that AI is life and embryos aren’t. These guys must be doing some thinking.

See also: Gerald Joyce No Longer Uses The NASA “Must Show Darwinian Evolution” Definition Of Life

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