I recently read the exhilarating (and terrifying) book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (2017) by the Swedish American Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at MIT and president of the Future of Life Institute. The book explores the impact of artificial intelligence on our future, and questions whether AI is the best or worst thing that is happening to humanity and life itself.
WARNING: it can be depressing.
The author describes what he calls the three stages of life on Earth: the biological evolution of humanity, our cultural evolution, and a theoretical technological age that AI is bringing us closer to. He describes the first two stages as follows:
“‘Life 1.0’: life where both the hardware and software are evolved rather than designed. You and I, on the other hand, are examples of “Life 2.0”: life whose hardware is evolved, but whose software is largely designed. By your software, I mean all the algorithms and knowledge that you use to process the information from your senses and decide what to do – everything from the ability to recognize your friends when you see them to your ability to walk, read, write, calculate, sing and tell jokes.”
Humans have led evolution on earth for thousands of years, but in Life 3.0, technology will exist independently of us, creating its own hardware and software. There is no doubt that the impact on humankind will be profound.
He contemplates what may happen when artificial intelligence eventually surpasses our own. Unlike the movies, this is not about robots taking over. It’s an incredibly well researched book in which Tegmark delves into various scenarios and possibilities that may arise as AI advances, and he discusses the ethical, societal, and existential implications of these developments.
He questions the potential for superintelligent AI, the risks and benefits associated with AI, and how humanity can navigate and shape the future in the face of these technological advancements.
Even though the book is shocking and, at times, frightening, I highly recommend reading it as it provides a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of AI and human existence, and the effects that AI will have on society in the coming years.
Check out these images generated by using AI – they are just one example of the profound advancements that will impact our future:
Emily Sisson and I have something in common, and it’s not just the fact that we both love athleticism.
Immigration has always been a critical point of value in America’s prosperity. The “American Dream” would not be possible without the contribution of generations of immigrants to society, not to mention the priceless importance of multiculturalism. Despite this, the rhetoric surrounding immigration and its influence on U.S. institutions and ways of life has become increasingly hostile and rooted in misinformation. I recently read the book “How Migration Really Works: The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics” by Hein de Haas. I highly recommend it to everyone to better understand migration policies and national impact. As we get farther into this election year, debates surrounding immigration are escalating. Still, people don’t understand the fundamentals of migration or how it truly affects the U.S. To mitigate this, Hein de Haas draws on decades of research to destroy myths and set the record straight. The book highlights tense topics like global migration not being at an all-time high, climate change not leading to mass migration, and immigration mainly benefiting the wealthy instead of workers. He also notes that border restrictions have produced more migration – something that is commonly misreported and viewed as the only “solution” to the migration “problem.”
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