The field of Artificial Life studies the nature of the living state, by modeling and synthesizing living systems. Such systems, under certain conditions, may come to deserve moral consideration similar to that of non-human vertebrates or even human beings. The fact that these systems are non-human and evolve in a potentially radically different substrate should not be seen as an insurmountable obstacle to their potentially having rights equivalent to non-human vertebrates or even human beings, if they are sufficiently sophisticated in other respects. Nor should the fact that they owe their existence to us be seen as reducing their status as targets of moral concern. On the contrary, creators of artificial life may have special obligations to their creations, resembling those of an owner to their pet or a parent to their child. For a field that aims to create artificial lifeforms with increasing levels of sophistication, it is crucial to consider the possible implications of our activities under an ethical perspective, and assess the moral obligations for which we should be prepared. If artificial life is “larger than life”, then the ethics of artificial beings should be “larger than human ethics”.

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