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What does it mean to be human?
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Posted 6/14/15 , edited 6/14/15
With the recent anime out (Plastic Memories) with androids very similar to humans, I'm curious to see what the opinion is on this subject.

So, what does it mean to be human?

Is it our biological mass? Our emotions? Our thought process? Our ingenuity? Our flawed nature?

I'll start us off.

People constantly refer to humanity in several ways. One, as a species, and two, as an above-average conscious sentience. I could be human because of my DNA, or I could by human because of my sentience. The problem with the latter is: what if we encounter another species that is sentient, we can't call them human because of their sentience, can we?

I think we are human because of a combination of our DNA and our perception on the universe.

We are our own, unique characters because of our sentience.

What do you think?
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Posted 6/14/15 , edited 6/15/15
Think Mark Twain pretty much ended the argument with "Man is the only animal who blushes, or needs to."
Posted 6/14/15
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Blade Runner

Read it. Watch it. Learn it.
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Posted 6/14/15

DraconemOfSevens wrote:

With the recent anime out (Plastic Memories) with androids very similar to humans, I'm curious to see what the opinion is on this subject.

So, what does it mean to be human?

Is it our biological mass? Our emotions? Our thought process? Our ingenuity? Our flawed nature?

I'll start us off.

People constantly refer to humanity in several ways. One, as a species, and two, as a conscious sentience. I could be human because of my DNA, or I could by human because of my sentience. The problem with the latter is: what if we encounter another species that is sentient, we can't call them human because of their sentience, can we?

I think we are human because of a combination of our DNA and our perception on the universe.

We are our own, unique characters because of our sentience.

What do you think?


Hmm. I'm thinking you may mean "level of sentience". There are other sentient animals on the planet; notably the dolphin, which has intelligence nearing that of humans. Comparing us to other intelligent beings - it's a bit like inheritance in object oriented programming; all dogs are animals, but not all animals are dogs. There are many levels of sentience.

Having said that, we are the dominant species at the moment on the planet in part because of our ability to adapt and create. Having few predators helps as well (opposed to, say, a rabbit, which is prey for many animals). Our intelligence separates us from other animals and gives us an advantage over that which would prey on us (lions, tigers, bears, oh my!).

But it's entirely possible that other sentient beings exist, who may or may not be aware of our existence. Perhaps they're waiting until we evolve sufficiently to show themselves, or are waiting for some other reason. On the other hand, maybe there really is nothing else out there and we're a fluke.
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Posted 6/14/15


You made some good points.

I made this topic to hear what other people's opinions are, so I don't want to add too much.

But just a philosophical question here: Why have a universe with no conscious sentience to experience it? My personal opinion would question that we are a fluke. Its like whatever that saying is, I'll just change it for this topic: "If the universe exists, and no one is there to see it, does the universe really exist?"
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Posted 6/14/15
To lose and to gain.
Posted 6/14/15
Why does the brain drain so much of our body's energy, more than any other organ? xD
Posted 6/14/15
Culture
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Posted 6/14/15
being around and bouncing off other humans. Isolate yourself too long and you stop being a paid up member of the human race.
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Posted 6/14/15 , edited 6/14/15
"Human" is a term used to distinguish humans from other animals, much like "cat" is a term used to distinguish cats from other animals. If another being comes along with the same level of sentience as humans but a different physical makeup, I'm sure we'll develop a term for them too. As for androids, I think that classifying them as human would really have no practical purpose and would only serve to confuse matters.
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Posted 6/14/15
If we're talking about aliens and androids. We'd better get used to using 'person' where we once said 'human'
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Posted 6/14/15
I think a human is a just Homo-sapien. We are just a different form of animal. Many animals are sentient, feel pain, sorrow, loss, etc. I take my dog when he lost his brother. He died from sorrow shortly after.

I think what makes us different is our adaptability. That is something most animals can not do. So I guess TLDR: We adapt better.
Posted 6/14/15
Words can only go so far, Interesting question however it doesn't really have an answer nor can we really encompass what it mean through language alone. I think the best we can get is, we are who we are or something like that.
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Posted 6/14/15 , edited 6/14/15

staphen wrote:

"Human" is a term used to distinguish humans from other animals, much like "cat" is a term used to distinguish cats from other animals. If another being comes along with the same level of sentience as humans but a different physical makeup, I'm sure we'll develop a term for them too. As for androids, I think that classifying them as human would really have no practical purpose and would only serve to confuse matters.


That may be true.

But why would developing a term for another species be a wise idea? (Not quoting you)
Since when has developing a term for something different ever been a good idea? I think that would confuse things even more. We would only create tension between our two species.

At what point does an android become a character, instead of an object? At what point does an 'alien species' become more than just that? When do they become a character? As there is no term for a 'person-like' "thing", I'm using the word character. It works, too, because in a sense we are all just characters in a massive story.

We can classify species with names, and robots with words, but at what point do they become more than that? When we know it has a level of conscious sentience that of equality to ours?

At what point do androids or other species become 'separate intelligent, conscious, sentient minds' such as us?

Maybe its just my view of the universe, but if you have a dog, is your dog only a dog, or is your dog more than that?

If we are all on the same level of sentient conscience, we can segregate each other, but we all think, experience, understand.

In a sense, I think I'm basically asking how we view other 'characters' compared to our own. But its broader than scientific classification, its a philosophical question, attempting to get at our view of others, not just in the human sense, but in the universal sense.


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

If we're talking about aliens and androids. We'd better get used to using 'person' where we once said 'human'


Actually, that is already true. Definition of person according to google: a human being regarded as an individual.


potentsativa wrote:

Words can only go so far, Interesting question however it doesn't really have an answer nor can we really encompass what it mean through language alone. I think the best we can get is, we are who we are or something like that.


I understand what you mean: Its the equivalent of the quote: It is what it is.

However, at some point, we're going to have to ask this question again, and develop our answer. Human-like AI isn't all that far away. You'd be surprised.
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Posted 6/14/15

DraconemOfSevens wrote:



You made some good points.

I made this topic to hear what other people's opinions are, so I don't want to add too much.

But just a philosophical question here: Why have a universe with no conscious sentience to experience it? My personal opinion would question that we are a fluke. Its like whatever that saying is, I'll just change it for this topic: "If the universe exists, and no one is there to see it, does the universe really exist?"


Well, we're there to see it, so yes, it exists. But if there is life beyond us, and we have yet to discover it, then it exists at multiple levels. There's no reason to believe it doesn't exist. But there's little to believe it does. Until first contact, we have nothing to go on. I'd like to think there's something else out there, but who knows? I guess we'll wait and see. We're still under the threat of nuclear destruction. If you were an evolved being, would you really want to be involved?

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