General Question

canidmajor's avatar

Erudite and creative Fluther vocabularians, please help me find (or maybe create?) a word for this (please see details)?

Asked by canidmajor (14010points) 3 months ago

Is there a word, with a similar meaning to “genocide”, that applies to the wiping out of a manufactured, mechanical, sapient, AI species? Think self-aware, free thinking, intelligent robots, with no organic components at all.
The “geno” in “genocide” presupposes a DNA component.

So many times science fiction stories depict the complete destruction of such species without even an ethical hiccup.

Is there already a word?

General question. Discussion encouraged of the etymological possibilities, not the obvious ethical questions herein.

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20 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

“In ancient Greece, a genos (Greek: γένος, “race, stock, kin”,[1] plural γένη genē) was a social group claiming common descent, referred to by a single name”

Which would easily apply to any race of sapient machines.
No need to invent a new word.
Genocide fits perfectly.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Robocide is the most accurate.

Androdicide works, but has too many connections to cell phones.

ragingloli's avatar

Robot comes from the Czech word for “slave”, so not a good fit.
Android comes from the Greek word for “man”, so not a good fit either.

canidmajor's avatar

@ragingloli, well, OK, but where’s the fun in that?

@elbanditoroso, I guess “robocide” might work, especially if one considers them disposable (which speaks to @ragingloli’s “slave” reference).

Androidicide doesn’t, for the reasons that loli also mentions. Assuming that these species would be in human form is somewhat limiting. And a bit arrogant. There are much more useful and efficient designs.

zenvelo's avatar

“Sapient AI” is an oxymoron. Sapient is, by definition, human.

We already have appropriate descriptors in our language – replicant , so I suggest replicide.

ragingloli's avatar

“Sapient” just means “wise”.
The human part of “Homo sapiens” is “Homo”. Ergo “Wise Human”.
You are all Homos, btw.

canidmajor's avatar

Replicant, from “replicate” seems to indicate a human-style again. Or maybe I’m just limited by the association with Blade Runner.

What about the ongoing development of AIs developed for specific jobs that are not human shaped?

@rebbel, sounds like something @ragingloli would approve of. :-)

I love this, keep ‘em coming!

chyna's avatar

Yes, I’m making up words.

canidmajor's avatar

@chyna, well, that’s kinda the point! :-)

zenvelo's avatar

What about the ongoing development of AIs developed for specific jobs that are not human shaped?

Decommissioning. Unplugging. Scrapping.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We’d better think of a word before this day arrives:
Product Wars

(8 minute video)

canidmajor's avatar

@zenvelo, thinking more on this (and this discussion is being ongoing IRL with a couple of friends) we are liking more and more “replicide”, as these machines would be very likely reproducing by self-replicating means. I was, indeed, too influenced by Blade Runner before.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @LuckyGuy, there’s a cheerful vision of the future!

JLeslie's avatar

Anocide or inocide.

As in inorganic, or the Latin anorganic.

Zissou's avatar

Others have clarified the etymology. I’ll point out the rhetorical aspect. Calling it some sort of ”-cide” connotes killing. Using one of the terms zenvelo suggested above would not connote killing. Consider the way “retired” was used in Blade Runner, and who used that term and why.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @Zissou, then we get into the philosophical point of what constitutes “life”, which this question is not about. For the sake of this Q, beings with a sapient self-awareness and the ability to reproduce have “life” that can be terminated, therefore they can be killed.

Jeruba's avatar

If this were my problem to solve, I would go ahead and use the word genocide. I’d consider it a stretching of the meaning, as we do all the time with a living language, and not a misapplication. Readers would be much more likely to understand it in context, DNA or no, than they would be to grasp a new contrivance for the same basic concept.

Here’s an account of how the word came about:
I can’t vouch for this story, but it sounds as plausible to me as a whole lot of other things.

As long as people continue to use “viable” to mean anything that’s doable or implementable instead of something that is capable of sustaining life—capable of living (“a viable fetus”), I don’t think we need to worry too much about the implications of using “genocide” for the mass destruction of a sentient but inorganic race.

canidmajor's avatar

Ah, but @Jeruba, that’s no fun.

There are some excellent suggestions here, thanks so much, folks!

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, sorry, @canidmajor. When you asked for help I thought you were looking for serious suggestions rather than fun. Guess I made the same mistake as @ragingloli.

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