"Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
Post Reply
Varis
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

"Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Varis » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:46 pm

Article for more information: https://www.ecowatch.com/xenobot-ai-bio ... 80026.html
TL;DR: Programmable living organisms have been created from frog cells.

I'd say by technical definition they are not sentient. They have no CNS, or brain, but the same can also be said for shellfish and AFAIK they are considered to be sentient beings.

Curious to hear your thoughts!

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:03 pm

In short..the definition of what constitutes sentience is still a matter of debate, even within Buddhism.
That debate is evolving as the technology evolves. The present generation of Buddhists are dealing with questions that could not have occurred to earlier generations.

I too would be interested to see the views of others.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1446
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Nemo » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:22 pm

Most yogis who hide on retreat think the entire world is sentient. Dry scholars argue otherwise.

tkp67
Posts: 1166
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by tkp67 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:32 pm

Timely and interesting.

https://futurism.com/professor-claims-e ... sciousness

Professor: Electrons and Quarks May Experience Consciousness

"What this offers us is a beautifully simple, elegant way of integrating consciousness into our scientific worldview..."

there is more on the topic from a Buddhist perspective

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:39 pm

If Xenobots are sentient are there Right Speech implications in speaking of them? And what of ‘killing’ them?
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

Varis
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Varis » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:17 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:03 pm
The present generation of Buddhists are dealing with questions that could not have occurred to earlier generations.
Certainly presents a new set of issues that the more realized members of the Sangha will have to deal with. Teaching and practicing the dharma gets more complicated and difficult as time goes by.
Simon E. wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:39 pm
If Xenobots are sentient are there Right Speech implications in speaking of them? And what of ‘killing’ them?
I was thinking along the same lines. What about "Right Livelihood" for those who work in this field? The article does mention the possibility of malfunctioning "rogue" Xenobots, what then? Neutralize without destroying? Interesting questions to ponder.

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:40 pm

For clarity, I don’t actually accept that non biological entities have the minimum characteristics and qualities that define sentience. Including those non biological entities that incorporate a proportion of biological material.

But I’m open to argument.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

Varis
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Varis » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:42 pm

Neither do I, I don't know if that was obvious with my omission of an opinion in the OP. Those questions I posed were thought experiments. I would like to hear what others have to say, but I actually don't think this sort of thing will be settled through argumentation.

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:45 pm

I bet it won’t... :smile: interesting though.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 4143
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:42 pm

Anyone who likes playing with these ideas should read science fiction, the best of which carries out "thought experiments" very well.
In particular, Bourne by Jeff Vandermeer shows the end of the developmental path which begins with xenobots. Many of William Gibson's novels have purely machine based life-forms, including his latest, Agency.

:reading:
Kim

Malcolm
Posts: 30222
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:45 pm

Nemo wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:22 pm
Most yogis who hide on retreat think the entire world is sentient. Dry scholars argue otherwise.
As did the Buddha, hardly a dry scholar.

User avatar
Nemo
Posts: 1446
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Canada

Re: "Xenobots", are they sentient beings?

Post by Nemo » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:04 am

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:45 pm
Nemo wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:22 pm
Most yogis who hide on retreat think the entire world is sentient. Dry scholars argue otherwise.
As did the Buddha, hardly a dry scholar.
For the world to be insentient wouldn't it have to be real? If it is a projection on consciousness then it would be sentient, like dreaming of a rock. Having a self and sentience are not the same thing. If what we call the material world is the emanation of the 5 dakinis can you call it dead matter? Rainbow body would be impossible.

Post Reply

Return to “Ethical Conduct”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Grigoris and 12 guests