Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Transcendent Man finds the real question, again

I just watched the movie Transcendent Man. In general it was a good documentary packing Ray Kurzweil's reflections on the exponential growth of evolution. Apart from talking about scientific predictions, there were a lot of human desires that were portrayed. Like Ray's obsession with  resurrecting some part of his father.

At the end of the movie, as a conclusion, Ray was speaking about the explosion of intelligence in the Universe. I stayed for a couple of minutes, reiterating on what I have thought before and synchronizing it with what I saw in the film. I stopped at the idea of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) and its relevance to the Universe.

All that evolution (or the Universe) has created up until now, we are gradually trying to compact it in our brains so that we can make predictions on what will happen next. We are, to our knowledge, the most flexible form of existence in our Universe. Being a bit limited though, we're looking for help to be able to do our job even better. So here comes AGI. Upgrading our genes (genetics) in my view will be a gradual upgrade but AGI (combined with nanotechnology) on the other hand gives the possibility for that explosion of intelligence we just might need.

So far so good, but here comes the grand question. We happen to know a lot about us, our bodies, our structure. If... when we figure out how our brain works, what's next? I'm willing to argue that we would've mostly answered the question of our existence... the meaning of life. My guess is that there will be only one question left: What is the Universe?

Figuring out the structure and mechanics of everything around us, we will become focused on those tiny waves that are rocking the boat. The idea of evolution is basically to find a stable form of existence and to build on top of it. If we take AGI for granted, meaning our intelligence is solved, ... meaning arts, mathematics, physics, all the sciences are unified and the big picture is there, what will figuring all this give us? Divide and conquer, right?

Leaving behind all the human desires, in my view, the scientific prediction is one: we'll drill through the Universe until we answer even the smallest question. Knowing our environment (information) will give us even more power. Maybe we can make remarkable progress on our home Earth (with LHC),  but even if we need to probe the Universe's hidden secrets in distant galaxies, we will think of a way. We have the framework of science and it has not been used to its fullest potential.

I'm thinking again of writing my imaginary story of the scientist who fixed the bug in the Universe :)

Edit 25.05.2011:
I think that a reference to Isaac Asimov's science fiction short story The Last Question is due.

And here is an article that provokes some questions about our intellect and asking the question Will Biology Solve the Universe?

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