I called my cable company the other day and got an automated response that asked questions and responded, not only with words and instructions but also with a modem reset. The computer system could ask questions, determine responses and perform actions. Yes, it was limited, but decades past it would have been considered awe inspiring and doubtless would have been dubbed both a successful artificial intelligence and thinking machine.
What then is the proper definition of a thinking machine? We already have computers that can follow complex logic paths to arrive at unexpected results (bugs?) and offer solutions we would not have foreseen on our own. Similar in result to having a conversation with an expert in an unfamiliar field.
As machines, both hardware and software become more complex and capable, we are already raising the bar for what we consider an artificial intelligence. Doubtless we will continue to do so for quite some time, but when you can talk with a machine built on the ability to work with volumes of processable knowledge such as is being compiled in the OOR, how will we raise the bar?
Historically, humanity has considered people that they considered unlike themselves to be less than fully human. As the majority of our species progresses toward a more inclusive standard, our language and perception is becoming inadequate to differentiate a human from a very advanced machine. Already most of us consider the issues of race, language, geology, age and affiliation to be irrelevant to defining what makes someone human. Biology is even a wavering standard since we consider people with prosthetics to be people with human rights and human bodies with the inability to think (vegetables) to have none. We are left with the ability to think and biology as the standard, but the definition of thinking is somewhat hazy to say the least.
I think therefore I am, but what does it mean to say "I think" and how do you define thinking without biology in an external entity?