What defines us living organisms? The question is an important one to ponder since we are making rapid progress into AI territory and synthetic bioengineering such that the lines between living and inanimate may become blurry but not at all completely dissipated.
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There are still distinguishing features between humans and other living organisms to those that are artificial at their core. Even when robots, which have the capacity to read human emotions, are being developed, there is still something at the back of our minds making us to take a step back before plastering a label on them saying that they’re “living”.
Two scientists, John D. Loike and Robert Pollack, discuss this issue on how “life” and “living” should be defined in scientific terms. We can’t simply have things that can think and feel as our basis for what “life” or “living organisms” should be. They propose a concise definition that encapsulates the conditions that make an organism a “living” one.
For natural selection to have generated such a diversity of living things on earth, time and the mortality of every individual organism to assure the future survival of species are both required.
We propose a simple but challenging definition of life as the property of an organism that possesses any genetic code that allows for reproduction, natural selection, and individual mortality.
Would you agree with their definition?
(Image credit: Franck V./Unsplash)