I don’t have proof that higher intelligent beings exist, but I think it’s an interesting thought experiment, which even the most ardent skeptic must address due to the advances in AI.
If we don’t already exist in a world with advanced intelligence, we likely will in another 100 years due to technology (assuming we don’t kill the planet in the meantime). And what happens in 1000 years, or more?
How will the world look when we are no longer #1?
This is how all other creatures live on this planet today, which helps to build useful metaphors for our future.
We can teach lower intelligence’s about some things – if a dog comes across something they shouldn’t eat, we can teach a “leave it” command and they understand that it’s bad.
But they will never understand bacteria, vaccines, or mRNA.
It feels kind of sad that humans have an upper limit of understanding, just like a dog. There are some things we will never understand.
But I think we can learn from the dog. How do you live in a world where you are powerless in the face of a super intelligent being (from your perspective), with complex motivations, technology, and incomprehensible understanding of the world?
- Self preservation still matters – not all humans are good, even though most are. The dog will still try to protect itself. Sometimes it’s futile, but sometimes it works, and the dog can’t know the difference, so it’s worthwhile to try.
- Dogs generally have good hearts, and approach situations with a goofy happiness. They might bark at first, but most dogs fold under pressure, and try to charm humans instead. They hope for the best, and assume altruistic motivations (and are right most of the time).
- Dogs live fun and fulfilling lives, even with their simplified understanding. Our dog loves to chase shadows and eat lizards. He needs a daily walk or he goes a little bonkers. His life is real and meaningful, both from his perspective, and from our perspective.
This tells me where we are headed.
- We still need to take care of each other. We won’t understand the capabilities or motivations of a higher intelligence, so it’s important to take action from our level to do what’s right.
- Altruism is our only viable option in the long run. We can’t put up a fight against a higher intelligence. We might be able to postpone or run from a threat temporarily, but we will ultimately be out-maneuvered. So try and be nice, and hope for the best – what other choice is there?
- Our lives might change drastically, but on some level, we will still be human, with human needs, sensibilities, and aspirations. There is some core human experience that won’t change.
It can be shocking to think this way. We’re so used to being the dominant species, that to think of ourselves as completely vulnerable and out of the drivers seat is scary. But I think that’s the future we’re destined for, and may even be the world we live in today.