In science fiction, we often hear about three important concepts: sophonce, sapience, and sentience. Many people often conflate these concepts but they are different.

Let’s break them down to make them easier to understand.


Think of sophonce as the highest level of understanding. It’s not just about solving problems; it’s also about knowing that you’re solving them. Imagine being able to think about your own thoughts. In other words, a being that is at least as smart as modern humans.


Sapience relates to general intelligence. It’s the ability to think and problem-solve. Great apes, elephants, dolphins, and so many others can be considered sapiens. You think, therefore, you are.


Sentience is about self-awareness. If you can experience pleasure or pain and predict what might happen next, you’re sentient. Many animals on Earth are considered sentient including all sophonts and sapients but also ‘dumber’ species like dogs and cows. As such, being ‘sentient’ isn’t itself enough of a qualifier to describe a lifeform as ‘advanced.’

Support Infinity Horizon on Patreon.

Leave a Reply