A while ago, while in the throes of a Deus Ex
binge, I began to wonder about AI. I began to wonder a lot of things, and eventually formulated the question, "If such a creature was created, even though it would consist of ones and zeroes, would it have the same thoughts and feelings as us?"
Now, at first glance, this seems to be a perfectly reasonable question. However, if you take a look at it, and compare yourself (or me, if you like), you'll find that as heartless as 0 and 1 may be, are G, A, T, and C any more or less? You're talking about at the very lowest level, almost as fine as bypassing Guanine, Cytosine, Thiamine, and Adenine and going to the subatomic level. It seems as though if you reduce something to its component parts, water and carbon, zero and one, you can dehumanize (Or demechanize, as the case may be.) almost anything.
Certainly a zero or a one has no concept of remorse even if it is part of the Sevendust bug (a virus that, a few months ago was raging once again through the Macintosh online community), nor does a strand of DNA even if it is in the brain or the trigger finger of a psychotic killer.
You and I are not sentient or intelligent or even alive because of our component parts, not would a machine be, simply because it has a hard drive, a processor, a motherboard, or perhaps a gigantic colony ship carved out of an unstable moon full of circuitry.
Sometimes a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.