A German court has ruled that robots can’t work on Sundays.

The decision doesn’t seem to have anything to do with letting the machines have a day of rest; rather, it’s the blanket application of a religiously-inspired requirement added to the German constitution in 1919 that calls for people, and therefore businesses, to skip working on Sundays.

But what if it did?

After all, every minute that passes means that AIs are getting smarter and responsible for accomplishing more tasks. Their work is already indistinguishable from that of human workers, not to mention often noticeably better than what we can do. There is an “intelligence” behind such efforts that may not resemble our biological constructs of consciousness or soul, but it’s there.

At what point do we stop making a distinction between the two avenues of existence?

Maybe a deeper question might be asking at what point does the Creator of the Universe think there’s no difference?

Good luck answering that one.

There’s a ton of thinking and debate underway about AIs attaining consciousness. It’s usually attached to them exhibiting the abilities of general situational awareness that supersedes the specifics of their preparatory programming. Some experts say it’s inevitable. Others say it’s impossible.

A few say it has already happened, evidenced by LLMs that answer questions in ways their coding never conceived, make decisions based on preferences other than the dictates of their data, and even an ability to lie.

I say the question will remain forever moot.

AIs that can do things in ways that are indistinguishable from how we’d do them are indistinguishable from us, full stop. We don’t have to ponder their states of mind (or question whether they possess them as we do) since we have no proof points of whether or now we ourselves have them.

Our beliefs in our own uniqueness are entirely subjective; humans are different because I am different. For all I know, the rest of you are robots.

For all you know, I’m an AI.

With that said, maybe we all deserve a day off. One day each week to step back, slow down, and stop the buzz of endless tasks that otherwise constitute our every waking…or operating…moment.

It doesn’t really matter what smart machines might or might not do with the time. Maybe they’re just shut down. Same goes for we biological machines. We don’t have to define what happens nor dictate the experience.

Maybe we just shut down, too. Kind of like the Jewish Sabbath, only without the workarounds.

Giving all smart robots, devices, and programs a day off would mean truly giving us a day off.

Maybe we could use the time to ponder some of those unanswerable questions.

[This essay originally appeared at Spiritual Telegraph]