Written by Max Tegmark

AI could represent the future of life, but it’s a controversial subject.

The story of how life emerged on earth is well known. Some 13.8 billion years ago, the Big Bang brought our universe into being. Then, about four billion years ago, atoms on earth arranged themselves in such a way that they could maintain and replicate themselves. Life had arisen.The first stage of life, Life 1.0, is simply biological.Consider a bacterium. Every aspect of its behavior is coded into its DNA. It’s impossible for it to learn or change its behavior over its lifetime. The closest it comes to learning or improvement is evolution, but that takes many generations.The second stage is cultural, Life 2.0.Humans are included here. Just like the bacterium, our hardware” or bodies have evolved. But unlike simpler life-forms, we can acquire new knowledge during our lifetimes. Take learning a language. We can adapt and redesign ideas that we might call our software.” And we make decisions using this knowledge.The final stage is the theoretical Life 3.0, a form of technological life capable of designing both its hardware and software. Although such life doesn’t yet exist on earth, the emergence of non-biological intelligence in the form of AI technologies may soon change this.Capabilities for memory, computation, learning and intelligence aren’t distinctly human attributes.intelligence as the ability to accomplish complex goals.”


February 9, 2024