Human life is obviously based on biological systems....i.e carbon based life.
But what of Artificial life which is based on silicon.
interestingly, artificial life is not unlike biological life, in that it also continually evolves by iterations to its original design which tend to steadily increase in information complexity . The main difference is we know that the creator of artificial life is the human species.
Artificial life is increasing in complexity at a much faster rate than biological life it would seem. Biological life tooks millions & millions of years to evolve a neural network with 100 billion synapses. Artificial life is moving much more rapidly... in 100 years we may have artificial brains which are much more powerful than a human neural network without emotional aspects (limbic system) needed for biological survival.
Artificial brains don't necessary require features like motivation, fear, pleasure, inhibition, aversion to pain etc. Artificial brains might be used to solve very difficult problems where emotional attributes only stifle advancement in pattern recognition & system modelling.
My view is that machine learning agents will start to replace many mundane jobs in this century. Humans are going to be forced to do jobs that learning machines aren't good at... jobs where say emotions attributes are important. It will be a case of horses for courses.
What we also don't know is whether artificial life being silicon based is confined to the digital world. In other words, is there some type of separation or barrier between the digital information (silicon-based) and physical information (carbon-based).... which might also be separate from quantum based information systems. What I mean by that is there such a thing as a carbon-based consciousness versus a silicon based consciousness... if so can these consciousness be unable to relate due to a barrier that exists between the type of information system.
David Chalmers has pondered this himself...
For example, if the precise interactions between our neurons could be duplicated with silicon chips, the same conscious experience would arise. The idea is somewhat controversial, but I believe it is strongly supported by thought experiments describing the gradual replacement of neurons by silicon chips. The remarkable implication is that consciousness might someday be achieved in machines.
Another thing worth pondering is whether "information" is embedded in conscious experience? But is this information digital, physical or quantum??
Even a thermostat embodies some information, for example, but is it conscious?
David Chalmers response...
There are at least two possible responses. First, we could constrain the fundamental laws so that only some information has an experiential aspect, perhaps depending on how it is physically processed. Second, we might bite the bullet and allow that all information has an experiential aspect - where there is complex information processing, there is complex experience, and where there is simple information processing, there is simple experience. If this is so, then even a thermostat might have experiences, although they would be much simpler than even a basic color experience, and there would certainly be no accompanying emotions or thoughts. This seems odd at first, but if experience is truly fundamental, we might expect it to be widespread. In any case, the choice between these alternatives should depend on which can be integrated into the most powerful theory.
So is the richness of consciousness depend on how many input streams are unifying together as one.... a human brain has many feedback loops from the limbic system, the neocortex etc which unify our conscious experience into a very rich flavour. On the other hand, a simple thermostat negative feedback loop only has a very simple feedback... which lacks richness.
David Chalmers on artificial consciousness...
Whether consciousness could arise in a complex, synthetic system is a question many people find intrinsically fascinating. Although it may be decades or even centuries before such a system is built, a simple thought experiment offers strong evidence that an artificial brain, if organized appropriately, would indeed have precisely the same kind of conscious experiences as a human being.