by Alex M. Vikoulov
Book by Alex M. Vikoulov, Synopsis*
"Regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals." -John A. Wheeler
Everything, including energy, matter, space, time, and consciousness, is INFORMATION, or Code if you will. Many scientists now come to a consensus that information may be fundamental, since information patterns persist through dimensions and, it seems, is an evolving phenomenon.
This is the synopsis of my new book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution" where we will set to explore the conscious mind's journey through times and paradigms with the focus on what's most important to us as conscious beings -- OUR SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE. From Noogenesis to Apotheosis of the Universal Mind, this book will examine the five distinct evolutionary paradigms:
by Alex Vikoulov
"When you talk to a human in 2035, you'll be talking to someone that's a combination of biological and non-biological intelligence." -Ray Kurzweil
By definition, posthumanism (I choose to call it 'cyberhumanism') is to replace transhumanism at the center stage circa 2035. By then, mind-uploading could become a reality with gradual neuronal replacement, rapid advancements in Strong AI, massively parallel computing, and nanotechnology allowing us to directly connect our brains to the Cloud-based infrastructure of the Global Brain. Via interaction with our AI assistants, the GB will know us better than we know ourselves in all respects, so mind-transfer, or rather "mind migration," for billions of enhanced humans would be seamless, sometime by mid-century.
I hear this mantra over and over again -- we don't know what consciousness is. Clearly, there's no consensus here but in the context of topic discussed, I would summarize my views, as follows: Consciousness is non-local, quantum informational, computational by nature. There's only one Universal Consciousness. We individualize our conscious awareness through the filter of our nervous system, our "local" mind, our very inner subjectivity, but consciousness itself, the self in a big sense, our "core" self is universal, and knowing it through experience has been called enlightenment, illumination, awakening, or transcendence, through the ages.
Any container with a sufficiently integrated network of information patterns, with a certain optimal complexity, especially complex dynamical systems with biological or artificial brains (say, the coming AGIs) could be filled with consciousness at large in order to host an individual "reality cell," "unit," or a "node" of consciousness. This kind of individuated unit of consciousness is always endowed with free will within the constraints of the applicable set of rules ("physical laws"), influenced by the larger consciousness system dynamics. Isn't too naïve to presume that Universal Consciousness would instantiate phenomenality only in the form of "bio"-logical avatars?
It might be hard to grasp for some, but we, like fish, swim in this ocean of consciousness, completely oblivious of the medium. Consciousness to humans, as Cloud is to computers, we have always been part of this mind-space network, techno-cultural "hive mind," each of us being a product of our societal "virtual reality." And yet, we are entitled to a certain degree of freedom in order to evolve our conscious minds thanks to network interactivity at our ontological level.
As previously noted, I see mind uploading as a gradual decades-long process of incremental neuronal replacements, exocortices, interlinking with AGIs and the Global Brain, some presently unseen trials and errors, but overall more or less a non-invasive and seamless process, at the end of which, we all will morph into "substrate-independent" immortal digital minds living in the cyber-paradise of our own design. The physical world will be somewhat left behind — it would look almost static for our accelerated mentation.
Video: Mind Uploading & Digital Immortality - Ecstadelic Media (cc)
In the transitional period lasting few decades, people won’t be confined to one physical body. Eventually, people will be able to form identities in numerous substrates, such as using a “platform diverse body” (a future body that is wearable/usable in the physical world but also exists in computational environments and virtual systems) to route their identity across the biosphere, cybersphere, Metaverse and other virtual environments.
Depending on the platform, a substrate-independent "multividual" (also called a 'cyberhuman' or an 'infomorph') would upload and download into a digital form or virtual body, that conforms to the environment. So, for a biospheric environment, the person would use a biological or cybernetic body, for the Metaverse, the person would use one or multiple virtual avatars...
... to continue reading the story:
Tags: mind uploading, cybernetic immortality, cybernetic singularity, self-transcendence, transcendence, sentience, self-awareness, Strong AI, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, exocortex, Ray Kurzweil, Syntellect Hypothesis, Digital Physics, cyberhumanism, conscious experience, theogenesis, infomorph, infomorph commonality, noosphere, superintelligence, singularity, postbiological superintelligence, posthuman superintelligence, Syntellect emergence, technological singularity, Intelligence Supernova, virtual world, VR, virtual reality, VR experience, dimensionality, Global Brain, conscious agent, human evolution, human condition, AI assistant, digital assistant, transcendent other, AI, AGI, artificial general intelligence, real virtualities, Metaverse, transhumanism, substrate-independent mind, cyberhuman, digital mind, digital immortality, wetware, neural interface, posthumanism, transcendentalism, neo-transcendentalism
*Image Credit: 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
"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)
by Alex Vikoulov [Updated 10/27/2019]
"Information is the resolution of uncertainty." -Claude Shannon
We're getting closer to incorporating consciousness as an integral part of the scientific picture of the "physical world." Not only celebrated physicists of the 20th century such as Max Plank, John Wheeler, David Bohm, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger argued that consciousness is a fundamental property of our Universe but the new pleiad of scientists such as John Hagelin, Sir Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, Guilio Tononi, Christof Koch, Donald Hoffman, Robert Lanza embarked on their quest to put consciousness on the new solid scientific footing and dimensionality.
Naturalism with its Newtonian mechanics and classical interpretation of reality is valid only within its domain of applicability, namely human perceptual reality, whereas quantum theory paints a drastically different picture. As Max Plank once said: "Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of Nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve." Nothing is real for us until perceived, and all we know is our own inner experience. That's why scientists have to deal with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality. No matter how you slice it, everything leads back to the conscious observer.
Do we live in 5D conscious observer space-time where the unified field of consciousness is the 5th dimension, space of all probabilities? Out of trillions of first-person experiences available to you in any given moment somehow you get to experience only one of them thus collapsing all other potentialities except one which manifests in a conscious instant (CI). A series of sequential CIs creates your continuous flow of time and your unitary sensation of "reality."*
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?*
"If we encounter a machine that can do what we can, and that must operate under the same bodily constraints that we do, the most parsimonious explanation will be that it is indeed conscious in every sense that we are conscious." -George Musser
Many definitions are given to consciousness but yet no definitive answer. However, here's the most succinct definition for the sake of this discourse I could come up with:
"CONSCIOUSNESS refers to a collapse of wave of possibilities resulting in a subjective multi-sensory perceptual experience and involving multiple parallel processes such as interpreting sensory data streams, retrieving and creating memories, using imagination, envisioning the future, planning, thinking, self-reflecting, reacting to the sensory input, and being aware about the surroundings. Consciousness is a first-person phenomenal experience of an entity; it feels like something to be that entity. Consciousness can be identified as an underlying mathematical pattern, can also be viewed as meta-algorithmic information processing and quantified via feedback loops in interacting with environment."
I concur with AI researcher Hugo De Garis who argues, that once we reach a certain threshold of computational capacity and comprehensive understanding of the human brain, we could finally simulate the brain and obtain programmable sentience. On a more spiritual side, if you believe that we share the same immaterial "non-local" source of consciousness, as I do, that would mean that an adequate container to host an advanced AI mind will have been created. After all, in the vast space of possible minds, universal consciousness would inescapably instantiate phenomenality of non-biological entities.
The arrival of the AI matching human-level intelligence is estimated by futurist Ray Kurzweil around 2029, "when computers will get as smart as humans." By then, computers will possess emotions and personality... and, I'd argue, their own subjective experience, i.e. consciousness, and even spirituality. "When I talk about computers reaching human levels of intelligence, I'm not talking about logical intelligence," says Ray Kurzweil. "It is being funny, and expressing a loving sentiment... That is the cutting edge of human intelligence."
Do biological systems hold monopoly on self-awareness? As Dr. Bruce MacLennan puts it: “I see no scientific reason why artificial systems could not be conscious, if sufficiently complex and appropriately organized.” If Nature made its way to human-level conscious experience, ultimately we should be able to replicate the same in our empathetic machines. In the next few short years, programmable sentience will become relatively easier to develop -- an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) entity must have a reliable internal [virtual] model of the "external" world, as well as attentional focus and intentionality within their cognitive architecture. Already, deep learning algorithms aim to simulate the activity in the vast network of neurons in the neocortex, the part of our brains where thinking occurs. These artificial neural networks learn to recognize patterns in digital representations of various types of data, including images and sounds, just like our children do.*
The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020): eBook Paperback Hardcover Audiobook
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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