I recently had the story “They’re Made Our Of Meat” by Terry Bisson drawn to my attention. It is available to be read online, and it offers a nice, brief mirror to the way humans are prone to scoff at that which is unlike us.
In my class on religion and science fiction, we’ve spent a lot of time in recent days talking and reflecting on artificial intelligence. One moment of particular interest was when someone asked whether a human being should risk their life to try to save sentient machines in a burning building. The instinct of everyone was to answer “no.” But why
? And is that the right answer just because it is one many are prone to give? If consciousness is what defines personhood, then would not sentient machines be persons? And if we are not going to give them rights or value their lives, should we create such entities?
And if we don’t value or respect them, then should we really be surprised when eventually they repay our enslavement of them and careless disregard for their existence by visiting a robot apocalypse upon humanity?