He accuses biologists for taking it for granted that future space exploration will be by biological humans. But then he himself has an equally strong assumption that it will be by a robotic life form.
I am curious to know if ALife is actually heading into the territory mentioned by this article.
I have never heard anyone in physics describe silicon-based (or other) life as "artificial life". There is nothing more or less artificial about silicon-based life compared to carbon-based life. The best description for "artificial life" I can think of is life that is explicitly created by other life; second-order life. I am also not confident that humans aren't some higher-order life themselves.
it’s an arbitrary line that someone drew in the sand
Unpopular opinion, but ALife is a stupid term. I think the people who coined it don't know anything about physics, biology, or chemistry. Probably just AI/ML/Robotics people who figured out how to do black-box calculus and think they know everything about the field of intelligence now.
It’s possible that the subset of intelligence characteristics obtained on a given matrix of material differs substantially.
I.e. Si based intelligence will always be somewhat different than bio-soup based intelligence.