RE: future pets

Hal Finney (
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 17:29:19 -0700

Tony Belding,, writes:
> It may seem I've rambled a long way from the subject of pets, but this is all
> inter-connected. The same technology that will blur the distinction between
> labor and capital will also blur the distinction between machines and living
> creatures. It's hard to say that life is sacred unless you can define life.
> Likewise, it's hard to say sentience is sacred unless you can define
> sentience. I haven't yet heard a convincing definition of either, and this
> may lead to many conflicts.

But won't this same technology also blur the distinction between people
and the other categories? What happens when someone alters his DNA to
make himself more like an animal? Or what happens when he incorporates
computer parts into his brain, or uploads and adds parts of his mentality
to AI systems? I don't see how you are going to be able to draw the line
you want to draw.

I could see having some test for intelligence in order to have rights,
since that could conceivably be made objective, but it seems impossible
to have a meaningful test for "humanness".