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A Human or Not?

  1. Mar 19, 2014 #1
    How much of a human's body can be replaced with mechanical devices / non organics before the human is no longer considered human?

    Which parts of a human's body must remain organic for a human to still be considered human?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    This is really a subjective question, what one person thinks is human another might say is not and perhaps in the future will be coded into law.

    The Turing test comes to mind which means a computer that passes the test could be considered human, right?

    However if someone were to see the computer then only if it looks human, has human-like skin and hair and acts like a human then we would view it as human.

    Back to your question, my guess is if the person retained his brain and memories then he/she would still be considered human although recently I read an article where the heart plays a major role in providing input to the brain so it may be needed too. Now you could dice the brain down to smaller components as long as the memories were retained then the person would still be a person which then brings you to a computer that can retain your memories.

    So in the end, maybe its our memories that make us human no matter what hardware or wetware technology is used.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The legal status of personhood doesn't bother to take into account prosthetic replacement. As the amount of biological components we can replace is pretty small (and replace effectively is practically nil) this topic would require us to speculate on technologies that are nowhere near the horizon, which I'm afraid isn't a suitable topic.

    Thread closed.
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