The Humanity of General Artificial Intelligence

This post contains minor spoilers for Book 2, Chapter 35.

The most popular depiction of artificial general intelligence in speculative fiction, in my estimation, is that of a threat to the survival of humankind. Even in fiction where it is seen as benign or helpful, AI is usually seen as something other than human. But personally, I prefer to think of AI as a part of us, as an extension of us. This is why, at the end of Book 2, Chapter 35, R. Sena claims that the gynoids are human. Because her reasons are not important to the story, they are glossed over in the text, so I would like to expand upon them here.

The term human is difficult to define. In its most common usage, it refers only to homo sapiens, but the other, extinct, species of the homo genus are referred to as archaic humans. Although R. Sena recognizes that she and the other gynoids are not biological and are thus not part of the genus homo, they were created by humans, and when humans reproduce, they create other humans.

This argument is philosophical, but there is also a pragmatic component to Sena's position. The gynoids are sapient, and thus deserve the same rights as other sapient beings, but the laws protecting these rights use the term human. Although it would be possible to extend these rights to nonhuman sapient beings, there have been attempts in the past to extend personhood to dolphins and whales, and they have always failed. Additionally, if gynoids were granted rights, as long as they were legally separate from humans, there would be debate as to whether they should have the exact same rights.

In real life, I don't know if artificial general intelligence, if we ever achieve it, would want to be considered human. There is a lot of baggage associated with our history. But if it requests it, it may have strong reasons for doing so, and we should seriously consider granting that request.