There is ongoing debate about what constitutes life. Synthetic bacteria for example, are created by man and yet also alive. Some go so far as to say that robot “emotions” may already have occurred—that current robots have not only displayed emotions, but in some ways have experienced them.
“We’re all machines,” says Rodney Brooks author of “Flesh and Machines,” and former director of M.I.T.’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, “Robots are made of different sorts of components than we are — we are made of biomaterials; they are silicon and steel — but in principle, even human emotions are mechanistic.” A robot’s level of a feeling like sadness could be set as a number in computer code, he said. But isn’t a human’s level of sadness basically a number, too, just a number of the amounts of various neurochemicals circulating in the brain? Why should a robot’s numbers be any less authentic than a human’s?