Humanity’s Identity Crisis
In no small part because the folks in charge of analyzing, describing, and regulating such things are rarely the ones who “get” it…
We can expect great uncertainty about our species identity and the nature of what we should count as real. It will be an anxious time. This deep anxiety and uncertainty will breed many weird cults and strange beliefs — as it did within Philip K. Dick (just read that address!). There will be psychosis and wars built on the uncertainty of what is a human. The abortion war and the war over slavery are only two hints of the degree to which this question can provoke mortal conflict.
Yet even those who escape the violence — the mass of ordinary citizens and net surfers — will be pressed by a blanket of unresolved doubt. Who am I? Can there be more than one species of human? Can a robot be a child of God? Is slavery among intelligent machines acceptable? Should we extend the circle of empathy beyond animals and living things to made things? If it hurts, is it real?