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Edited by Jacy Reese Anthis and Ali Ladak. Many thanks to Thomas Moynihan, Tobias Baumann, and Teo Ajantaival for reviewing and providing feedback. This article is also available and referenceable on the Open Science Framework: https://doi.org/1/0.31234/osf.io/sujwf


We consider the terminology used to describe artificial entities and how this terminology may affect the moral consideration of artificial entities. Different combinations of terms variously emphasize the entity's role, material features, psychological features, and different research perspectives.[1] The ideal term may vary across context, but we favor “artificial sentience” in general, in part because “artificial” is more common in relevant contexts than its near-synonyms, such as “synthetic” and “digital,” and to emphasize the sentient artificial entities who deserve moral consideration. The terms used to define and refer to these entities often take a human perspective by focusing on the benefits and drawbacks to humans. Evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of the terminology to the moral consideration of artificial entities may help to clarify emerging research, improve its impact, and align the interests of sentient artificial entities with the study of artificial intelligence (AI), especially research on AI ethics.

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