Astrobiologists, amongst other biological scientists, have not yet settled on a standard definition for what they consider to be life; this is because there are so many loopholes and exceptions to each new definition-theory that we come up with. To a FAR lesser degree it is almost like trying to come up with a standard definition of a hamburger. Is it two separate bread buns with a beef patty in the center? What about protein style at In-N-Out where the buns are replaced by a lettuce wrap? Veggie burgers don’t use beef patties. Then there are some people out there that would consider a hot dog to be a variation on a hot dog, which would mean the “two separate bread buns” definition is out. I think “life” should be sort of an umbrella term for all things that, through time, develop under a sort of Darwinian evolution.

                According to this this theory, computer software would be an example of life, but it wouldn’t be the same category of life that biological organisms would be in. I also believe that both single cellular and multicellular organisms can be considered life, but wouldn’t really be in the same category. Why go through the trouble of defining life as an umbrella term for things like machines? I may be wrong, but I believe the point of narrowing down on a definition of life is so that we can determine whether other planets are inhabited by other life. Just like we discussed in class, computer software is applicable to Darwinian evolution because it may change the way it acts based on our preferences and it protects itself against the ever-changing computer viruses.

                Just because a computer is man made out of metals, plastics, and silicone doesn’t mean it can’t be considered life. The artificial intelligence being created today is almost good enough to pass the Turing Test. The Turing Test is done with two humans and a machine that runs on artificial intelligence. One of the humans (the test subject) is meant to interact with the machine and another human. The machine is then said to have passed the test if the test subject cannot clearly determine which is the human and which is the machine. If a machine can fool a human into thinking that it is itself human, how can we not say that it is alive? The greatest argument towards this is the way that biological life on earth stores and processes information, which would be another form of life. The difference is that biological life stores and processes digital information with the behavior of RNA and DNA. Computers store information in the form of 1’s and 0’s process it differently than that of biological life, which is the greatest argument against why computers cannot be considered life.

In one of our readings, one of the earlier definitions or theories of life is whether or not the organism or object could display life-like behaviors, which I think can be relevant to what I believe life to be. One hundred years ago, if people were to talk to advanced artificial intelligence today, they would be absolutely stunned to realize that they weren’t speaking to a human; and one hundred, or likely less, years from now, there will be artificial intelligence that would easily fool us. Many people may disagree with a definition of life that includes computers, but what they can’t disagree with is that computers are nevertheless a bio-signature. We can always narrow down our search to the definition of life, but what would we really have to gain from the definition of which we can never be completely sure of?

Views: 74


You need to be a member of SAGANet to add comments!

Join SAGANet


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Blog Posts

¿Are the Venusian sulphuric acid clouds the by product of long dead anoxogenic photosynthetic organisms?

Posted by Andrew Planet on May 4, 2020 at 2:51pm 2 Comments

I just read the piece at the link below entitled "Study: Life might survive, and thrive, in a hydrogen world."

I'd been thinking on similar lines recently, on different atmospheres with early life, but I was considering anoxogenic bacteria whose byproduct is sulfur instead of molecular oxygen. ¿Had life evolved on Venus could its sulfuric clouds be the signature byproduct of such life with no branches ever evolving to produce the equivalent of Earth's Great…


100 years tomorrow 26th April 2020 since we looked beyond the Milky Way Galaxy

Posted by Andrew Planet on April 25, 2020 at 11:10am 0 Comments

Exactly 100 years ago tomorrow, the subject on whether this Universe is larger than the Milky Way Galaxy was brought up publicly at an event sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, known as The Great Debate. Until then the Milky Way was thought to be this Universe.  Conference at the NAS

See this…


The 5th Mexican School of Astrobiology

Posted by Tardigrelda on June 24, 2019 at 1:00pm 0 Comments

I am really glad to invite everyone to the next Mexican School of Astrobiology (aka EMA) which is this August.

¡Anímate a participar en la 5ta Escuela Mexicana de…


A consortium of representatives of European Research Organisations has taken the initiative to create a virtual institute named the “European Astrobiology Institute” (EAI) with the ambition of enabli…

Posted by Wolf D. Geppert on February 24, 2019 at 1:33am 0 Comments

A consortium of representatives of European Research Organisations has taken the initiative to create a virtual institute named the “European Astrobiology Institute” (EAI) with the ambition of enabling Europe to emerge as a key player in Astrobiology and to…



  • Add Videos
  • View All


Ask your questions here!

Started by Gina Riggio in SAGANet Discussions. Last reply by Mert Kabalcı yesterday. 121 Replies

If you are trying to ask a question live during Ask an Astrobiologist, please do so in the main chatroom at the bottom of the screen! You can also ask on twitter…Continue

Have we been looking in the wrong time-frame? Requesting feedback on a recent paper.

Started by Christopher J Reiss in The Cutting-Edge of Astrobiology Apr 3. 0 Replies

Let me first say Hi to everyone as a new member here!   I hope you are all safe, sound, and not too stir-crazy during this Pandemic.I recently stumbled upon a notion for SETI which seems so simple I…Continue

Interactive Online Astrobiology for 10-12 yr olds

Started by Julia Brodsky in Education and Public Outreach Mar 9. 0 Replies

If your 10-12 yr old child is interested in space science, I would like to invite them to our courses. I am a former science teacher,  mom of three, and a former NASA astronaut instructor. I also…Continue

Tags: school, education, middle, astrobiology, STEM

zahra cell

Started by adam nurjaman in Education and Public Outreach Mar 7. 0 Replies

Hallo apa kabar ? semoga selalu baik2 saja zahra cell adalah blog yang…Continue

Tags: cell, zahra

© 2020   Blue Marble Space, a non-profit organization committed to science and science outreach.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service