If we do encounter alien intelligence some day, it could fit into one of these basic categories:
Biological Being: Primarily biological creatures. They could be enhanced by technology or even be hybrid life forms.
Controlled Probe: A machine that requires signals from elsewhere to make decisions
AI Probe: A probe controlled by localized artificial intelligence, able to make its own decisions.
Artificially Originated Intelligence: An artificial intelligence with the sophistication to be considered a life form, but housed in a machine-based host. I’m going to call this AOI in upcoming posts.
Biologically Originated Intelligence: Biological beings housed in a machine-based host. I will call this BOI.
This could further be broken down into beings with a sense of individuality and beings from a hive system. There could also be a variety of these types of categories in any one civilization.
Why do we care? The physical nature of intelligent aliens would have much to do with their way of thinking and likely have a big impact on their relationship with humans.