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Image from Bernd Helfert

The known portions of the galaxy are rich in numbers and kinds of sentient being. Billions of different clades, phyles, species, tribes, and lineages; a mind-boggling diversity of forms, fashions, ideologies, toposophics, and phenotypes; biological beings, mechanical beings, virtuals, cyborgs, ai, and many more. Sophontology — the study and understanding of sentient and self-aware beings — gives us insights into the nature, culture, physiology, psychology, evolution, and interactions of the diverse inhabitants of the galaxy.

  • Biont  - Text by Stephen Inniss, based on the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any organic life form, Terragen or otherwise, whether natural or engineered. Most often this term is used exclusively for organic beings of sophont grade intelligence.
  • Class (sophontology)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A major category of sapient beings, as defined by one or a few basic but distinctive and generic qualities, not necessarily connected by ancestry (i.e. biont, ai, vec, bioborg).
  • EI - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhumanist Terminology
    Emergent Intelligence. An intelligent system that gradually emerges from simpler systems, instead of being designed top down.
  • Mindkind - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic clade-neutral Anglic term for all intelligent (sophont) beings, regardless of nature or origin.
  • Person - Text by Anders Sandberg
    A person is an entity given rights. A legal person is an entity recognized by the law, usually identical with the person. See also Copy Rights.
  • Population Statistics of the Terragen Sphere  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Population figures for the Terragen Sphere in 10600 AT.
  • Pronouns, Anglish  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese, Mark Ryherd, Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
    A number of new pronouns became current in Early and Middle Anglic and descended languages as new kinds of sophont being became common.
  • Sentience  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Awareness, including the ability to experience pleasure or pain (or analogous drives and experiences) and make predictions about the future.
  • Sentience Algorithms - Text by John B and Pran Mukherjee
    The flow of steps which, when followed, allow an organized system to develop and maintain a degree of sentience. The underpinning of ai design. Required massive (at the time) neural nets or even more massive emulations thereof on hardware, state vector machines, and other information age new technology, being massively parallel (capable of running many many tasks simultaneously, or at least appearing to be able to do so to an outside observer.)
  • Sentience, Sapience, Sophonce  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A set of terms used to describe some key kinds of intelligence.
  • Sentient - Text by Stephen Inniss
    As an adjective, having the characteristics of sentience. As a noun, particularly in the plural, any being that is deemed to have sentience, as in "The Universal Bill of Sentient Rights".
  • Sentient Rights Protocols  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Protocols that allow the creation, interpretation and modification of sentient rights in diverse circumstances.
  • Sentients Overview  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, some additional notes by John B
    A list of life-forms across Known Space.
  • Sophont - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A person. A being that has the quality of sophonce. Such beings are sometimes called 'sapients'. For historical reasons, sophont-grade ais, may be called 'turingrade ais', even though because of philosophical and practical difficulties with the Turing Test the term 'sophont ai' would be clearer.
  • Synclade - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    A clade that results when two or more older clades of separate derivation merge to create a new group with its own distinct set of heritable traits morphotype, physiology, toposophy and psychology etc.). Some better known examples include the Radiation Nation and the SynBios of the Black Acropolis.
  • Terragen  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any biont, ai, or any other entity, clade, species, or group that either originated on Earth or, more generally, can trace eir ultimate origin and ancestry back to Earth; or any civilization, empire, polity or organization created or maintained by terragen sentients.
  • Universal Declaration of Sophont Rights  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, John B
    The Universal Declaration of Sophont Rights is a carefully worded and fully interactive document that, whilst having been superseded, has remained the foundation for civilized galactic society.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 11 April 2003.

Additional Information