Bryan Caplan  

Name Robin's Creatures

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To help write his book in progress, Robin Hanson is looking for a word to describe the set of things that are EITHER (a) biological humans OR (b) artificial intelligences.  At my urging, he's set up a survey on QuickSurveys to solicit your suggestions.  Please help Robin out!

To rephrase, Robin wants a word that describes BOTH biological humans AND artificial intelligences.  He's NOT looking for a word that singles out (a) artificial intelligences alone, or (b) hybrid creatures.

Thanks in advance - and please repost and Tweet.

Update: To reveal more than the first 100 answers, SurveyMonkey wanted $200.  So Robin moved the survey over QuickSurveys.  The link above reflects the change.

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COMMENTS (17 to date)
sieben writes:


Robinson writes:

Can/should this set include nonhuman organisms (say chimpanzees or dolphins?)

MikeP writes:

My question is whether these "artificial intelligences" are actually intelligent or more like the utterly unintelligent things we call "artificial intelligence" today.

I answered the monkey presuming the former.

Floccina writes:


Acad Ronin writes:

Sentents - sentient entities

MikeP writes:
Fonzy Shazam writes:

On the original test at Survey Monkey, it allowed a write-in answer to which I responded "Thinkers". But a write-in option didn't appear on the QuickSurveys version.

sieben writes:

My original speculation was that both Brian and Robin had bet that a particular name would be more popular than the rest.

It now occurs to me that one of them may be betting against any sort of consensus.

Nathan Smith writes:

"Cogitants" is the best I can think of. It's not a pure neologism, I think; it's sort of crypto-English already, since "cogitate" means think and the suffix "-ant" can mean "one who," as in attendant, defendant, assistant. Alternatively, "cogitator" or-- this is more of a pure neologism-- "cogitor." A strange alternative that I like is "noet," rhymes with poet, akin to words like "noetic" (having to do with the mind/spirit) and "noosphere," the realm of ideas. "All cogitors, human and mechanical, are able to use systems of arbitrary symbols to *refer* to, or be mapped onto, real entites..." Hmm, interesting.

MingoV writes:

Intellentity = intelligent entity

Nathan writes:

I think he'd get a better quality overall response if the options were displayed in a random order. I refreshed it a couple times and it didn't look like that was the case.

Brian writes:


Hana writes:

Keep it simple. Creatures possessing the traits are "Ons", those lacking are "Nons"

Vinnie writes:

To echo Nathan, I think the lack of randomization is a big problem. I voted for "agents." I can't entirely ascribe my decision to its placement at the top of the list; I genuinely believe I like it most. But I can't be sure.

Les Cargill writes:

How about Hal? Human/Alternate ... something something. "l" could stand for "lingual", which might an adjective which can be nouned.

Paul writes:

Why not follow the Buddhists and just call them sentient beings? That way you can also include the Raksas, Gandharvas, Devas, Yaksas, and the hungry ghosts.

I wonder which group of mythical beings artificial intelligence will most closely resemble. Hopefully not the Raksas or hungry ghosts.

John Dougan writes:

There is already a word for this: sophont

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