Xris, I don't think a seed or pea is alive because it is not in process. Capable of life is not life, just as a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. Obviously each one of us must answer the question "what is life" for ourselves.
What characteristics would a robot (non biological) have in order for it to be considered "alive"? I think it would have to have:
- Functionality. That is to say it must have process, either physically, electronically or both (not an inanimate object).
- A protocol to continue. That is, it is not alive if it has no aversion to death/termination. This would require a set of values of what is good and what is bad (or helpful/harmful), a value system of sorts.
- Self awareness. It's not enough to just be programmed to continue, it must have some sense of its individuality.
- Ability to learn. That is it must be able to process its experience into some meaningful or at least useful result. This is essential in forming identity and self awareness.
- Ability to reproduce/evolve, otherwise it's still just a wind-up toy. I'm not sure about this though, it may be suffice for it to evolve in some manner such as transferring its knowledge/data to another continuation of itself.
- Metabolism, even if it's just a battery charging and discharging. I feel that everything that is alive must consume and expend energy.
Then I would consider it to be alive, even though it wasn't biological.