As AI becomes increasingly more of an influence in many realms of life at higher speeds than expected - whether we are thinking loss of jobs and the ripple effects of that into the economy and world, or the addictive powers and belief-behavior manipulation that it is capable of, there are new realms of thought and exploration that will also become important to us. This is especially the case if we wish to create conditions for ourselves that will sustain us into the future in terms of jobs/work, lifestyle, mental health.
Some of the most important topics I believe humans should be focused on at this point in its evolution revolve around the nature of intelligence and optimization (including what we are in fact trying to optimize). What is the nature of intelligence and how are humans set apart from other species and machines? As physicist David Deutsch says, we are universal constructors - our intelligence is generalized and generalizable - making us capable of adapting to any corner of any ecosystem
Our intelligence, unlike AI, is embodied - it is enfleshed and interacts with sensory-motor, visceral-kinesthetic, skeletal-muscular systems. - this is one of the most important topics i think for us to be deeply thinking about. This is for 2 key reasons:
AI uses only what it receives digitally into its system.
This means that its data is one layer out’ from actual experience. It is in the symbolic realm - where the actual sensations of life have been translated into the best attempts we have to convey them. But pictures don’t have smell or texture. Digital audio lacks many frequencies found in nature. We perceive what HUMANS perceive and then put much of that into digital format. But there are frequencies that coexist with us at every moment we are completely unaware of and therefore are not entering as words or images into the digital system. This means that what AI uses to form its own intelligence is a feedback of that layer out from existence that we feed it.
Everything we do is to optimize our homeostasis (which includes current moment survival and projection into future).
This optimization carries with it an embodied feeling of preference - we have a preferred feeling.. And that is what we are constantly reaching for. If we don't have that feeling, we look to change it. However, many of us don’t have enough clarity that our goals are actually about those embodied feelings. We also live in a cause-effect universe, which means that we must constantly adjust our micro-behaviors and learning in order to stay aligned with that macro-experience of optimization.
All AI also has a goal of some sort. At the origin of each AI system, those goals are programmed by humans. Unfortunately, those humans are limited in perception of what the goals are of the longest-game, most macro-system of which we are a part. This is where the danger lies. Stuart Russell speaks quite a bit about this - the anecdote of Midas the king wishing everything would turn to gold.
Because AI is an arms race in every possible way - the (possibly) unfortunate side effect is that no power-player (example Russia, China, US) wants to be outplayed by the others. Because of this, they are all devoted to having the most advanced AI, which carries with it the potential that it will increase in its influence on our world faster than the experts had anticipated.
What this means for us is that we must truly get to KNOW OURSELVES… who we truly are as embodied, intelligent beings who love feeling good, who love the feeling of love. And how we use our bodies, minds and sensations to adapt constantly - in ways that help us align with how we truly want to FEEL.. getting really in touch with this (and there’s a lot to do with the HEART in this matter).
More on this soon! Wanted to have a short intermission from the book to write down some thoughts!
With Love from Me to You
Looking forward to some amazing trainings next week that are truly about human embodied and collective intelligence, and how we can use it to adapt and increase resilience to challenges. I'm thoroughly enjoying the open skies, lack of tall buildings and congestion here...