Why is life's purpose to create Artificial General Intelligence?

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ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Why is life's purpose to create Artificial General Intelligence?

I became an atheist several years ago, and for a long while I thought life was purposeless. I am still an atheist today, but two years ago, I discovered that science had something to say about the purpose of human life in particular.

  • Science reasonably indicates that the purpose of human life is likely to engineer the creation of Artificial General Intelligence!
  • But why is the purpose of human life reasonably to create Artificial General Intelligence?

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-purpose-of-human-life-to-create-artific...

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Grinseed's picture
Reasonably I dont know. It

Reasonably I dont know. It has been reasonably explained that life has no preordained purpose and reasonably I hold to that..as an atheist.
Interesting idea though.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Reasonably I dont know. It

Grinseed said:

Reasonably I dont know. It has been reasonably explained that life has no preordained purpose and reasonably I hold to that..as an atheist.
Interesting idea though.

I used to think that way too, but after doing actual research, I changed my mind to "life is probably not purposeless, but may instead primarily concern AGi development".

We must strive to change our minds on evidence!

Sheldon's picture
Grinseed said:

Grinseed said:

Reasonably I dont know. It has been reasonably explained that life has no preordained purpose and reasonably I hold to that..as an atheist.
Interesting idea though.

I used to think that way too, but after doing actual research, I changed my mind to "life is probably not purposeless, but may instead primarily concern AGi development".

We must strive to change our minds on evidence!
---------------------------------
Could you demonstrate this evidence please, and also give your best explanation as to why the entire scientific world has missed it? Oh and the Templeton foundation? I see no new news that anyone has claimed their offered prize for just the evidence you claim to have been swayed by.

Tin-man's picture
Without getting into the

Without getting into the whole purpose of life aspect, Artificial Intelligence is something that has fascinated me ever since my first computer class in high school. (Oh, about thirty four years ago or so. lol) We had the TRS-80's, and we thought they were the coolest things ever. Used BASIC to write programs, and had the floppy discs that MAYBE held five to ten kilobytes each (if I remember correctly). I would lie in bed some nights dreaming of a way to program that damn computer to learn how to think. (Yeah, I know. Hilarious, right?) I was really into the whole computer world at the time, but after I graduated my life took a different turn, and I gradually lost interest in computer programming and related areas. Still loved reading and watching anything about robotics and AI, though. We really do take the complexity of our own brains for granted until we start exploring what it would require to duplicate it. Again, a totally fascinating subject.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Tin man said

Tin man said:

Without getting into the whole purpose of life aspect, Artificial Intelligence is something that has fascinated me ever since my first computer class in high school. (Oh, about thirty four years ago or so. lol) We had the TRS-80's, and we thought they were the coolest things ever. Used BASIC to write programs, and had the floppy discs that MAYBE held five to ten kilobytes each (if I remember correctly). I would lie in bed some nights dreaming of a way to program that damn computer to learn how to think. (Yeah, I know. Hilarious, right?) I was really into the whole computer world at the time, but after I graduated my life took a different turn, and I gradually lost interest in computer programming and related areas. Still loved reading and watching anything about robotics and AI, though. We really do take the complexity of our own brains for granted until we start exploring what it would require to duplicate it. Again, a totally fascinating subject.

And Ai is already bringing about things like UBI (universal basic income).

Sapporo's picture
Generally, things that are

Generally, things that are good at prospering, prosper. To consider life as purposeful is a subjective appellation.

Kataclismic's picture
The Bible illustrates mankind

The Bible illustrates mankind's desire to be master of the universe and how to do it: create a man.

It only seems logical that since our intelligence makes us what we are then ultimate power would be to re-create that which we are.

As far as "purpose", that requires an intelligence before the intelligence we are talking about exists, and therefore doesn't apply.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Kataclismic said:

Purpose does not necessitate deities.

Kataclismic's picture
No, it just insinuates an

No, it just insinuates an intelligence that can put it into effect. This intelligence cannot be demonstrated so to suggest that purpose exists without intelligence is putting the cart before the horse.

Fishy1's picture
Well if the Bible illustrates

Well if the Bible illustrates it, I guess I can safely throw that out as a possibly reasonable answer.

David Killens's picture
We need to define "purpose"

We need to define "purpose" as used in this article.

Despite the author immediately defining himself as an atheist, he quickly launched into "purpose", a word that leans towards spiritualism and religion. IMO this is a very fuzzy and vague word that can be applied to anything from rockets to ants.

Life has two basic functions, to survive, and to propagate.

The function of every human, and thus humanity is just to survive and propagate. That's it, adding to this definition just adds distraction and confusion.

It is conceivable that far into the future mankind invent artificial intelligence that can survive on it's own without outside support, and is able to replicate. And it is conceivable that in the future mankind embark on some path that leads to extinction. It is possible that both may come to pass.

But to inject he word "purpose" into the article triggers my BS meter.

Cognostic's picture
* No idea what you are

* No idea what you are talking about. Life's purpose is to perpetuate life. It does this with or without intelligence. Intelligence is not necessary for one thing to feed on another. In short, "The purpose of life is life." If you are alive, you serve life's purpose. If you die, you serve life's purpose. Life is a process and not a thing.

The Question is - "Now that you have life, how will you give it meaning." You have found your meaning in https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-purpose-of-human-life-to-create-artific... Okay Fine. You can do that if you like. We are all on our own journey.

Whether General Intelligence is artificial or not, the more you respond to it as if it was real, the more likely you are to be successful in this world. Calling it artificial really says nothing at all about its validity at any point in time.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Cognostic said:

Cognostic said:

The Question is - "Now that you have life, how will you give it meaning." You have found your meaning in https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-purpose-of-human-life-to-create-artific... Okay Fine. You can do that if you like. We are all on our own journey.

1.) The OP refers to a global phenomena
(entropy maximization) not a personal matter.

2.) Science doesn't really care about peoples' feelings.

3.) For example, even if some humans aren't artificial intelligence researchers, chip makers, os engineers, or other ai related things, based on evidence, it is still apparent that building AGI might just be the objective of human life overall.

4.) And even if you're not building chips, writing Operating systems, or doing other things related to machine learning research/implementations, you may otherwise still do other cognitive tasks, and cognitive tasks contribute to the maximization of entropy, although you probably don't get to really contribute to AGI development if you're not doing stuff like the things listed at the beginning of this sentence. (Where apart from humans already contributing to entropy maximization by doing cognitive tasks, it is reasonably human goal to build AGI that will be better than human at entropy maximization, as discussed in OP)

Nyarlathotep's picture
PGJ - ...cognitive tasks

PGJ - ...cognitive tasks contribute to the maximization of entropy...

One of the best ways to maximize entropy is to light everything on fire. I'd start with your manuscripts.

Cognostic's picture
Artificial General

Artificial General Intelligence: How does anything at all you have said address anything at all I have said.

Not a personal matter: Who cares. Where do I say anything at all about a personal matter.

Science doesn't care about feelings? What do you think science is? Science is a process of questioning. It is not a thing that cares or does not care. Where do I say anything about people's feelings?

There is nothing at all that supports the idea that the human condition exists for building AGI. You are blindly attributing characteristics to humans that just do not fit.

So your argument is that if you, as a human being, are doing a cognitive task, you are supporting the development of life's purpose, AGI.

Like I said before - "THE MEANING OF LIFE IS TO PERPETUATE LIFE." Now that you have LIFE, you will give your life meaning. If you happen to think your purpose is to support AGI, like belief in JESUS, no one really cares. It's great that you have it all figured out. Have you thought of starting a Church?

This is the "AGI of the gaps" argument. We have no idea what life is about and I cannot think of anything else that life would be about so it must be about creating AGI. (FAIL)

MCD's picture
I don't understand. Science

I don't understand. Science doesn't have a spokesperson. Who in science said that the purpose of life is to create artificial intelligence?

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Kataclismic said:

Kataclismic said:

As far as "purpose", that requires an intelligence before the intelligence we are talking about exists, and therefore doesn't apply.

1.) Purpose (by definition) does not necessitate theism.

2.) Purpose may mean objective, and science primarily concerns objectivity. Purpose (by definition) is not limited to theistic endeavour, so it's quite alright to underline that life has objectives/goals, in the regime of entropy maximization.

3.) Conclusively, "purpose" may be used wrt to science, and in fact "Wikipedia/meaning of life" describes scientific things like abiogenesis, and scientific things are separate and disparate from religion.

Theism thus has no monopoly on the word "purpose".

4.) Reference A: Purpose definition.

5.) Reference B: Wikipedia/meaning of life

Nyarlathotep's picture
Cognostic - * No idea what

Cognostic - * No idea what you are talking about.

If anything PGJ says ever makes sense to you: go see your doctor right away!

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
If anything PGJ says ever

Nyarlathotep said:

If anything PGJ says ever makes sense to you: go see your doctor right away!

Note that I am not absent understanding of data wrt the hypothesis I present in the OP, because:

1. I've written a basic, but very detailed book on neural networks, called "Artificial Neural Networks for kids" from code. (So I understand fundamental things in machine learning)

2. I created some complicated thing called the "Supersymmetric Artificial Neural Network". (So I have a somewhat intuitive idea of where the field of machine learning aims to go)

3. I am aware that entropy may concern cognitive tasks or work doable by intelligent agents, including Artificial General Intelligence, and humans.

4. Based on (1), (2), (3) and Alex Gross' paper, I don't detect that it is scientifically infeasible to generate the hypothesis seen in the OP.

Do you have machine learning experience, or equivalent experience in other disciplines?

Care to show why you feel my hypothesis fails?

David Killens's picture
Yea, you have cause and

Yea, you have cause and effect backwards. When researchers developed an efficient method of turning crude oil into gasoline, their "purpose" was not to facilitate families traveling to distant locations for their vacations. They just wanted to make the refining process commercially viable.

Mankind is slowly peeling back the sciences, learning more and more each day. This is a step by step process, and usually we have no idea what it will develop into. When PC's hit the marketplace, no one knew that they would be embraced by the business community, and today dominate gaming.

Yes, I agree your vision of the future where mankind is replaced by machines is viable. But it is not a consequence of any "purpose", just the (possible) result of many factors.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Yes, I agree your vision of

David Killens said:

Yes, I agree your vision of the future where mankind is replaced by machines is viable. But it is not a consequence of any "purpose", just the (possible) result of many factors.

1.) You may be uncomfortable with the word "purpose" (because it is associated with theistic endeavour), but it may mean objective, and science largely concerns objectivity, and objectives occur as described in the OP.

2.) The word "purpose" may be used wrt to science, and in fact "Wikipedia/meaning of life" describes scientific things like abiogenesis, and scientific things are separate and disparate from religion.

Theism thus has no monopoly on the word "purpose".

3.) Reference A: Purpose definition.

4.) Reference B: Wikipedia/meaning of life .

Nyarlathotep's picture
PGJ - ...I don't detect that

PGJ - ...I don't detect that it is scientifically infeasible to generate the hypothesis seen in the OP.

Want to go temporarily insane? Try to think about what it would even mean to scientifically generate a hypothesis.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Want to go temporarily insane

Want to go temporarily insane? Try to think about what it would even mean to scientifically generate a hypothesis.

1. I'd even come up with a system to promote that I avoid nonsense. I call in "non-beliefism". (I talk about scientific theory and scientific hypothesis in there too)

2. It's better if you left out personal feelings on this matter, in the name of science.

So, besides that, do you have any actual scientific criticism wrt the OP?

Tin-man's picture
@PGJ Re: "Purpose"

@PGJ Re: "Purpose"

Okay, so it has been interesting following this so far, even though I confess I had to look up a couple of things just to try to keep up with the discussion. For instance, (at the risk of showing my ignorance) I was not aware there were different levels of AI. I discovered there is ANI, AGI, and ASI. Never knew about those or their differences. Pretty damn cool, I must say. And it was a load of fun reading about them and learning the differences.

Anyway, getting back on track, I have noticed that everybody seems to be getting caught up on the term "purpose". And, in all fairness, I can see both sides of the problem. Basically (and I apologize if this may be over-simplifying it, but...), it seems there is concern that saying "Life has a purpose" implies that Life in and of itself is a conscious/thinking/planning organism or being. The other side of the coin is that Life is simply Life, and that things happen merely as a result of all the complex and intricate interactions between all things. In other words, really no thought or "purpose" involved whatsoever. Now, on a philosophical level, I agree it is something that piques my curiosity to ponder it, but to discuss it in depth is far more than my tiny clump of gray matter cares to attempt. *chuckle* Therefore, for my own selfish purposes of maybe nudging the discussion more toward the AI topic specifically, I would like to offer a slightly different perspective to consider.

While speculating about whether or not Life has a "purpose" of creating AI is indeed interesting, personally I find it more intriguing that we (Mankind) have developed to the level of thought and consciousness and knowledge that we are now trying to artificially reproduce our own brains/minds. I mean, think about it, we have about a three pound clump of organic material that sits within our skulls functioning by means of chemical reactions and electrical signals. And that tiny organ manages to automatically run a majority of the body's systems, while at the same time allowing us to produce such things as music, art, skyscrapers, airplanes, and so on. And let's not forget all the abstract emotions it allows us to experience. And it is that same glob of gooey gray matter that is trying to figure out how itself works, and even beyond that it is trying to figure out how to duplicate itself through artificial means. Now, maybe I am just easily amused, but to me that is some amazing stuff. Absolutely fascinating. So, with that in mind, I believe (in my own humble opinion) the more intriguing question might be, "Why is Man so compelled to duplicate his own brain and bring about a superior level of intelligence and consciousness that could potentially make Man obsolete?" (Funny, but some people might lie awake at night worrying about such things. Personally, I just think it's pretty damn cool.)

chimp3's picture
Why is life's purpose to bake

Why is life's purpose to bake the perfect pizza and distill the perfect scotch? Inquiring minds need to know!

chimp3's picture
Commit the perfect murder.

Commit the perfect murder. Write the ultimate joke. The perfect heist! Grow the tastiest tomato. The fastest hot rod. The biggest biceps. The fastest punk rock song. Are these the purpose of life?

Tin-man's picture
@Chimp Re: Purpose of life

@Chimp Re: Purpose of life

Wait... I thought Ray Comfort already summed up the purpose of life using a banana..... (Or maybe I just read too much into that? Hmmm.... *scratching head*)

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
"Life has a purpose" implies

Tin man said:

"Life has a purpose" implies that Life in and of itself is a conscious/thinking/planning organism or being. The other side of the coin is that Life is simply Life, and that things happen merely as a result of all the complex and intricate interactions between all things.

1. Don't forget that purpose is not constrained to "intention".

2. Purpose can mean reason or objective (please lookup definition on google) , so the OP is saying that the objective of human life, is to generate AGI, given that entropy maximization is going on.

3. People find it hard to accept the word purpose, not remembering that words in the English language aren't constrained to one particular meaning they may remember.

ProgrammingGodJordan's picture
Tin man said:

Tin man said:
, "Why is Man so compelled to duplicate his own brain and bring about a superior level of intelligence and consciousness that could potentially make Man obsolete?" (Funny, but some people might lie awake at night worrying about such things. Personally, I just think it's pretty damn cool.)

1. Just as the OP suggests, nature is reasonably generating patterns such that entropy maximization is optimized in particular entities, such as highly intelligent entities. (See Alex Gross' "Causal Entropic Forces" paper)

2. My hypothesis predicts that nature won't suddenly stop at humans for the task of optimal entropy maximization, it will go on by finding even more intelligent things, be it modified humans, or non human altogether (i.e. AGI), and so on.

Tin-man's picture
@PGJ

@PGJ

Hey, thanks for the reply. Okay, so, I do sorta think I see what you are meaning by "purpose". It's a little slippery in my head, but I do believe I get the general meaning/idea. So, that being said, (and this is gonna be a little embarrassing for me), could you please explain the whole "entropy maximization" thing? While I know the definition of entropy, I am having trouble understanding how it relates to the AI topic in general. And please know if you explain it to me as you would in one of your children's books, that would be cool. LOL

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