From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Non-human (also written nonhuman) is a general term that describes an object or creature that displays some human characteristics but not enough characteristics to be considered a homo sapiens. The term has been used in a variety of contexts.
Animal rights and personhood
In the animal rights movement, it is common to refer to distinguish between human animals and non-human animals. The animal rights movement generally recognize that non-human animals have some similar characteristics as human persons. For example, a variety of animals have been shown to register pain, compassion, memory, and some cognitive function. However, non-human animals have not displayed advanced rational decision-making or recognizable speech, which are characteristics that are unique to human persons. Some animal rights activists argue that the similarities between human and non-human animals justify giving non-human animals some rights that human society's modern nations afford to humans, such as the right to self-preservation.
The term non-human has been used to describe computer programs and robot-like devices that display some human-like characteristics. In both science fiction and in the real world, computer programs and robots have been built to perform tasks that require human-computer interactions in a manner that suggests sentience and compassion. In Asia, there is increasing interests in the use of robots in nursing homes and to provide elder care. Computer programs have been used for years in schools to provide one-on-one education with children. The Tamagotchi toy required children to provide care, attention, and nourishment to keep it "alive".