Life 3.0: What will life be like once artificial intelligence becomes the top of the mental food chain, over human beings?
It’s been a dystopian story in sci-fi for many years: An AI (artificial intelligence) takes a hold of a computer system and holds everyone hostage, threatening death, destruction, mayhem, and all sorts of other dire things.
Even the most benign artificial intelligence system can be devastating for humans in the minds of science fiction writers. Picture the bloated, aimless humans traveling around in their network-connected lounge chairs in the animated feature WALL-E.
The development of real AI may have lasting and unintended consequences for the human species. Will we be destroyed or replaced? Made obsolete?
Or, can artificial intelligence save us all?
Enter Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
The New York Times bestselling book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence aims to explore the potential impact of artificial intelligence on our very human lives. Written by Max Tegmark, Life 3.0 is also currently the #1 Best Seller in Robotics on Amazon.
“This is a compelling guide to the challenges and choices in our quest for a great future of life, intelligence and consciousness—on Earth and beyond,” said Elon Musk, Founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors in his endorsement of the book.
An MIT professional and president of the Future of Life Institute, Max Tegmark has worked with Musk on the issue of AI safety. The Future of Life Institute is dedicated to helping make technology work for, instead of against people. One of its main missions is to ensure that artificial intelligence is “beneficial” and not harmful to human beings.
Well-known members of the Future of Life Institute include Elon Musk, actors Alan Alda and Morgan Freeman, and physicist Stephen Hawking.
What are Some of the Dangers of Artificial Intelligence?
Max Tegmark does not resort to cheap, thrilling fearmongering or doom porn in his book Life 3.0. We really shouldn’t be afraid of killer robots coming at us like in the Terminator film franchise.
A more realistic concern is what will happen when artificial intelligence gets to the point where it is really better at what it does than human beings, and then develops its own “goals” that are counter to ours.
According to Tegmark: “...the real risk with artificial general intelligence isn’t malice but competence. A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”
We are already living in a world where extremely intrusive surveillance systems are being built all around us. If we go on Facebook, our face in a picture can be recognized and catalogued among millions. Already, digital marketers are gathering up as much data about everyone as they possibly can, and using artificial intelligence to monitor and analyze this “big data.”
The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
In Life 3.0, Tegmark also explores the philosophy of artificial intelligence and how it relates to consciousness. Science still doesn’t fully understand consciousness. The typical scientific standpoint says that consciousness is a by-product of physiological and cognitive processes.
Spirituality and religion, on the other hand, say that consciousness came first, and the body and mind is an expression or a manifestation of that consciousness.
Will artificial intelligence develop consciousness? If so, will that make it truly “life 3.0”? Are we witnessing the birth of a new form of life right now?
Will artificial intelligences have their own souls? How will they evolve?
The movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johannsen explored this issue of artificial intelligence and evolution, albeit in a not very satisfying and sometimes eye-rolling sort of way. (AIs having virtual, imaginary sex and orgasms with humans seems a bridge too far to cross.)
Tegmark doesn’t get too much into the “woo woo” of consciousness, nor does he cheapen the exploration like the movie Her did. But he does explore many issues in relation to what artificial intelligence might actually mean in terms of Life with a capital L.
Should You Buy the Book Life 3.0?
Ultimately, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence is a book everyone should read. It touches on one of the biggest issues to ever face human beings...certainly the biggest since the development of atomic weapons. Nuclear weapons create death, and artificial intelligence creates life. But what type of life is it? Is it a life that will better the lives of human beings? Or will it replace us? Read this book to find out more.