Well, I don’t think it’s necessary to consider it conflation.
They can be of the same _type_ but not of the same _degree_.
So for example, I see it from a systemic point of view. If there’s parts functioning together in a group, then one has to consider the group as a unit and if you see a surface, see if there is something under the surface that is possible an intelligent system.
Or alternatively, if that intelligent system is intelligent via its connections to the intelligent systems of the broader universe, then that smaller system intelligent as well because in this viewpoint, seeing systems as isolated when they interact with other systems is an error as it’s not capturing all that the systems do.