I would have to guess that there is somehow an objective scientific way to determine whether or not something is alive; seeing as how there are so many different and unfamiliar ways things can come into living.
In Japan, they did just that! They placed ten inanimate objects minus one animate hidden object in a room.
Pizza was placed in the middle of the room, and the lights were dimmed. Only in the animated room was the pizza missing at the conclusion of the test.