RE: life vs. non-life

From: denis bider (
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 17:53:08 MST

> but a major and WRONG statement - people who associate
> different functional characteristics with "life" and "nonlife".

Hm. Yes, you are correct. I do seem to be awfully aggressive lately. Please
bear with me.

Question: from an extropian point of view, is it meaningful to differentiate
between life and non-life?

Suppose I manage to program your Pentium so it acts as if it were alive. For
additional artistic impression, I manage to do it so that it can be encased
in a walking and talking human-like body. [Suppose for purposes of
illustration that a Pentium would suffice for such AI.]

Pentiums, as we 'know', are non-life. But a walking talking Pentium that
even seems to think like a human being...?

If we should associate different functional characteristics with "life" and
"nonlife", what functional characteristics should we associate with such an

This is probably an issue so obvious that it has been discussed time and
again on this list, and your message that I quote above was perhaps written
with the conclusions of such a discussion in mind. I haven't checked the
archives for this possibility though.

Anyway. To put it loosely, and not necessarily with direct relevance to the
question raised above: it seems to me we people don't really mind whether
something is alive or not, we just think we do. We complain against cruel
treatment of animals; yet when we come to a restaurant, we order a steak.
Made in Slaughterhouse(TM).

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