by Alex Vikoulov
"Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.”
"Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism, the way you play it is free will."
In our rapidly accelerating times, humans become more machine-like, and sentient machines become more human-like. Before long, it might look like a typical generation gap problem, our AGIs, our "mind children," would grow up and develop features that we could find increasingly difficult to understand and control. Like all conservative parents, we might be puzzled and frightened by processes that appear completely alien to us. We would be intermittently nostalgic about the good old times, aggressive in our attempts to contain our "children" but at the same time proud of their phenomenal advance. Eventually, some of us may retire under their care, while blaming them for destroying our old-fashioned world. And only those of us who are the bravest and youngest at heart will join the next generation of life by becoming part of superintelligent cyberhumanity.
Your choice does matter! Although some neuroscientists contend that free will is an illusion, I would respectfully disagree by saying that free will may be slightly overrated but still indispensable for consciousness to function in our "physical world." In fact, free will and consciousness are inseparable. Free will, just like intentionality, is an integral feature of consciousness, "conscious choice" made by mind with the guidance of the larger consciousness system and our collective will in the space of all logically available probabilities (more on that in my book “The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution”).
All realities are observer-dependent. As John Wheeler, one of the brightest minds of the 20th century puts it, we live in a "participatory universe." Rephrasing Descartes’ famous principle, “I think therefore I am,” Quantum Physics would instead state, “I choose therefore I am.” In our computational Quantum Multiverse, an infinitely large number of alternate timelines and versions of you are mathematically possible, but your mind actualizes, "choses to observe" only a certain probabilistic outcome in this "multi-player virtual reality" of Tom Campbell, or "participatory universe" of John Wheeler. "Star Trek holodeck" analogy would also work just fine in that regard. Be mindful of your conscious choices -- every time you play a violent video game or watch a violent movie, or overfocus on negative news or mundane negativity, every time you pay attention to negative news or hate propaganda or fear-mongering populism, you inadvertently skew your probable futures toward a less pleasant timeline, by default. Your linguistic choices, your beliefs and biases shape your subjective reality in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to evolve your consciousness and to transcend yourself...
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Tags: self-transcendence, transcendence, neuroscience, collective intelligence, sentience, self-awareness, strong AI, human psychology, human motivation, artificial intelligence, Mildred Barthel, John Wheeler, Tom Campbell, Quantum Multiverse, Syntellect Hypothesis, Quantum Mechanics, Star Trek, conscious experience, superintelligence, singularity, mind uploading, postbiological superintelligence, posthuman superintelligence, Syntellect emergence, technological singularity, dimensionality, multiversal fractality, conscious agent, human evolution, human condition, multiverse landscape, AI assistant, transcendent other, AGI, artificial general intelligence, transhumanism, participatory universe, experiential realism, philosophy of mind, science of mind, evolution of consciousness, phenomenology, posthumanism, transcendentalism, neo-transcendentalism
*Image Credit: Ecstadelic Media, Shutterstock
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a Russian-American futurist, evolutionary cyberneticist, philosopher of mind, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of Ecstadelic Media Group, painter, essayist, media commentator, author of "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution," "The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology," "The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics," "The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence," "Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality," "NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology," "TECHNOCULTURE: The Rise of Man." Self-described neo-transcendentalist, cosmist, transhumanist singularitarian. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area). More Bio...
Author Website: www.alexvikoulov.com
by Alex Vikoulov
"Transhumanism literally means 'beyond human.' It's using science and technology to radically change and improve the human species and experience." -Zoltan Istvan
The contemporary transhumanist movement aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available advanced technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological potential. Transhumanists believe that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with superior God-like capacities -- posthumans. The three transhumanist "Super Pillars" are: Superlongevity, Superintelligence, and Super Wellbeing.
According to Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns,” exponential technologies will bring about ever more rapid changes in human evolutionary development. We will move from where we are today, increasingly dependent on external computers that help us conduct business and access information, to the next level where computers gradually become an integral part of us.
Most transhumanists would like to become superintelligent themselves. This is obviously a long-term goal, but it might be achievable either through mind-uploading and subsequent enhancement or through the gradual augmentation of our biological brains, by means of future nootropics (cognitive enhancement drugs), cognitive techniques, IT tools (e.g. wearable computers, smart agents, information filtering systems, visualization software, etc.), neural interfaces, or brain implants (more on that further).
When transhumanists seek to extend human lifespan, they want to live longer, healthier, happier, more productive years, be able to do, learn, and experience more; have more fun and spend more time with loved ones. But the ultimate superlongevity goal of transhumanists is indefinitely long lifespan for all: to digitize our minds, upload our minds onto the Global Brain Cloud, and achieve the so-called digital immortality.
A transhumanist philosopher David Pearce promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. In "The Hedonistic Imperative" he outlines how genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and non-human animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as “Paradise Engineering.” Pearce writes: "...there is nothing to stop intelligent agents from identifying the molecular signature of experience below hedonic zero and eliminating it altogether — even in insects… I tentatively predict that the world’s last unpleasant experience in our forward light-cone will be a precisely datable event — perhaps some micro-pain in an obscure marine invertebrate a few centuries hence."*
By Alex Vikoulov
"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has served as the foundation for understanding human motivation since it was first published in 1943 as part of "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. The hierarchy, presented in pyramid form, is often given as an introduction to human psychology and widely accepted as a representation about what humans need from life, and in what order they need it. However, contrary to popular belief, Maslow's hierarchy is incomplete, asserts a transformative psychologist Nichol Bradford from San Francisco. Later in his life, after the hierarchy had been published, Maslow began work on a final stage of human motivation. Self-actualization was not the pinnacle of individual human achievement, but rather Self-Transcendence. Not an elevation of the self, but a subverting of it.
This gives us the whole new perspective on human psychology itself. Achieving self-actualization means resting comfortably inside the boundaries of human psychology -- accomplishing what is knowable and testable -- while Self-Transcendence means pushing far beyond them, exceeding their totality, overflowing. When you become aware of not only your own potential, but you become aware of the potential of humanity at large, the unity of all things. Once you have a higher purpose in life, you can effortlessly tap into your "flow state," the state of peak experience and joy. Whether through deep meditation, psychedelic depersonalization, altruistic self-denial, or more recently through transformative technologies and technological mediation in general, expanding beyond self-fulfillment could well be the ultimate stage of human evolutionary development.*
By Alex Vikoulov
"For 130,000 years, our capacity to reason has remained unchanged. The combined intellect of the neuroscientists, mathematicians and… hackers… […] pales in comparison to the most basic A.I. Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology. And in a short time, its analytic power will become greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world. So imagine such an entity with a full range of human emotion. Even self-awareness. Some scientists refer to this as the Singularity, I call it Transcendence.” –Dr.Will Caster (Johnny Depp, Transcendence, 2014)
The Fermi Paradox: First Contact with Alien Syntellects in Extra Dimensions is More Than a Possibility
by Alex Vikoulov
"Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." -Arthur C. Clarke
The coming Cybernetic Singularity could pave the way to rapid space colonization sometime by mid-century, however, not exactly how Hollywood movies depict -- fragile flesh-and-blood humans are unlikely to personally travel to other stars. Our postbiological descendants (AIs, uploads and hybrids), on the other hand, could roam the Universe on their tiny warp spaceships, via traversible wormholes, and colonize galaxies via self-replicating Von Neumann probes that would establish wormhole portals and communication with the core civilization. But what's even more exciting, First Contact and networking with alien syntellects becomes a clear possibility.
By Alex Vikoulov [Updated 04.22.20]
"Organisms are themselves expressions of emergent order and agents of higher levels of emergence." -Brian Goodwin
Our observable Universe is 92 billion light years across, which is a fraction of the unobservable universe, which is just one of an infinite number of universes in the multiverse. All this space, time, energy, and matter, even consciousness itself boils down to information, or Code if you will. Digital Physics, a relatively new field of science, implies that information may be a fundamental property of our Universe, an evolving phenomenon.
My 2019 book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" revolves around this very question "what actually is information?" and takes you on the journey through times with the focus on what's most important to us as conscious beings -- OUR SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE.
If everything is made of information, according to Digital Physics, what is the fabric and ultimate nature of reality? Philosophy of mind has been wrestling with another question: can we solve the hard problem of consciousness"? What inner experience could a bat, a dog, or an augmented human have?
Biological organisms, from unicellular bacteria to a human, are incredibly advanced, intricate information processing, computational systems, the product of billions of years of evolution. But do biological systems hold monopoly on conscious awareness?*
by Alex Vikoulov
"The only greatness for man is immortality." -James Dean
I've been recently asked by Eric Schulke of The Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE): Why do you support indefinite life extension? Here's my answer with a short video:
"First of all, just like most of us, I love life and I don't want to die. I think by dying you make your life experience, your unique world perspective, somewhat irrelevant. It's like you went on vacation, and when you're back home, you realize that you lost your camera with all your photos and videos.
The problem with the society today is that most people accept death as a natural part of life cycle. Nothing can be further from the truth. Life is what makes life meaningful!*
The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020): eBook Paperback Hardcover Audiobook
THEOGENESIS: Transdimensional Propagation & Universal Expansion by Alex M. Vikoulov (2021): eBook
The Cybernetic Singularity: The Syntellect Emergence by Alex M. Vikoulov (2021): eBook
TECHNOCULTURE: The Rise of Man by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020) eBook
NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020): eBook
The Ouroboros Code: Reality's Digital Alchemy Self-Simulation Bridging Science and Spirituality by Antonin Tuynman (2019) eBook Paperback
Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019) eBook
The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019) eBook
The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019): eBook
The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology by Alex M. Vikoulov (2019): eBook
More Than An Algorithm: Exploring the gap between natural evolution and digitally computed artificial intelligence by Antonin Tuynman (2019): eBook
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