Source: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (Click through for full sized version and the red button caption.)
My own take on this is that what separates humans from machines is our survival instinct. We intensely desire to survive, and procreate. Machines, by and large, don’t. At least they won’t unless we design them to. If we ever did, we would effective be creating a race of slaves. But it’s much more productive to create tools whose desires are to do what we design them to do, than design survival machines and then force them to do what we want them to.
Many people may say that the difference is more about sentience. But sentience, the ability to feel, is simply how our biological programming manifests itself in our affective awareness. A machine may have a type of sentience, but one calibrated for its designed purposes, rather than the ones evolution produces calibrated for gene preservation.
I do like that the strip uses the term “humanness” rather than “consciousness”, although both terms are inescapably tangled up with morality, particularly in what makes a particular system a subject of moral concern.
It’s interesting to ponder that what separates us from non-human animals may be what we have, or will have, in common with artificial intelligence, but what separates us from machines is what we have in common with other animals. Humans may be the intersection between the age of organic life and the age of machine life.
Of course, eventually machine engineering and bioengineering may merge into one field. In that sense, maybe it’s more accurate to describe modern humans as the link between evolved and engineered life.