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  • Writer's pictureLeo Wang

Reflection of "Homo Deus"

These are my reading notes from "A Brief History of the Future", mixed with my personal understanding and experience, suggestions Students who have read the notes can read the original text, supporting originality while avoiding being misled by my cognitive biases.


Happiness is a series of chemical reactions in the brain. No matter how external stimulation increases, there is always a ceiling to the human experience brought by this chemical reaction, and it starts very early. It's already close to the upper limit. Therefore, since human beings entered civilized society, no matter how advanced technology is or how rich materials are, happiness has not improved much. Eating ice cream is pleasurable, and finding true love is pleasurable, but the pleasure derived from eating a lot of ice cream neither increases linearly nor is it equivalent to finding true love.

The core of happiness is the difference between your gains and expectations, not the absolute value of your gains; therefore, we must look for happiness within ourselves, change our cognitive models, and lower our expectations. All contribute to the improvement of happiness.

However, everything has two sides. Human progress also benefits from the adventurous pursuit and continuous exploration of our ancestors, and the inner driving forces are desire, curiosity and dissatisfaction. If all human beings lower their expectations and easily gain a sense of satisfaction, thus stopping external pursuits and taking risks, the rate of progress of human society will also be greatly reduced.

If there is a drug that can deceive the brain and directly induce this chemical reaction of happiness, allowing humans to easily gain a sense of happiness and satisfaction, then humans will become addicted to this drug. Inextricable. This drug does exist, we call it heroin, or simply drugs, because once most people try it, they will almost inevitably become addicted, giving up all external efforts and pursuits, and just want to rely on the most relaxing drug. way to gain a satisfying experience. Therefore, we don’t dare to challenge our “determination” easily. As riders, it is difficult for us to control the elephant of instinct. In experiments in which rats were stimulated to obtain pleasure through electrodes, the poor rat would keep pressing the power switch until it collapsed from exhaustion. Humans have no more self-control than rats.

Another fact that makes me think deeply is that the war led to the invention and discovery of the Internet and many technologies; if there were no cruel wars, human scientific progress and living standards would be , far behind than now.

What a painful realization, it once again proves that the world is not black and white, but like Tai Chi in Chinese culture, there is black within white and white within black.

Biology is also an algorithm

Algorithm refers to a methodical set of steps for performing calculations, solving problems, and making decisions. An algorithm does not refer to a single operation, but to a method that is used repeatedly during operations. Biological behavior is also controlled by algorithms, and biological algorithms operate through feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

A baboon saw a bunch of bananas hanging on a nearby tree, but there was a lion lurking next to it. Should baboons risk their lives to pick bananas? This requires biological probabilistic algorithms to perform calculations. Compare the probability of starving to death if you don't pick bananas with the probability of being caught and eaten by a lion if you pick bananas. This involves measuring the distance between the baboon and the rubber, the distance between the lion and the banana, the lion's status, the baboon's speed, the lion's speed estimate, the baboon's hunger, the ripeness of the banana, etc. Finally, the baboon comes to a decision-making conclusion and then implements it. The biological algorithm of the baboon will make the baboon feel hungry and drool when seeing bananas, but the appearance of the lion will make the baboon feel fear and trembling, all emotions and desires They all interact in the brain through neurotransmitters, and finally make a comprehensive decision based on the creature's courage and preference for banana food, leading to execution. If the result of this biological algorithm calculation is to grab a banana, otherwise it will starve to death, then the baboon can instantly feel a force filling its limbs, its muscles tighten, and its blood vessels expand, helping it quickly rush to the banana and escape from the lion's pursuit. In the end, the creatures that can be passed down to today are those with relatively good algorithms and able to adapt to the environment. Otherwise, they will die midway and the species will become extinct.

The choices humans make every moment are all determined by algorithms, ranging from what to eat and what to wear to mate selection and investment, all are the result of biological algorithms. And according to statistics, 99% of human decision-making is dominated by evolved "intuitive algorithms" and is seriously driven by underlying desires. The so-called rational brain is just looking for a logical conclusion for this intuitive algorithm. It is just a reliable causal relationship. It only plays the role of "explanation" and does not dominate decision-making.

The essence of love at first sight is a biological algorithm, so you can’t predict who you will fall in love with at first sight; even when you meet someone you fall in love with at first sight, you will find that they have many so-called differences with you. The views on love don’t quite mesh. When you break up with a lover, looking back, you don't know why you fell in love with her. The "ghost" mentioned by Gui Mi Xin Qiao here is "algorithm".

However, compared to other animals, human decision-making algorithms have a stronger "self-upgrade ability". This self-upgrade is like the "machine depth" in the field of artificial intelligence. Like "learning", human beings continue to train and improve their decision-making algorithms through the cycle of reading, thinking, and practicing, and then allow themselves to gain more advantages in the process of species reproduction. This process of improving decision-making algorithms is a process of cognitive upgrading and cognitive iteration.

Biological algorithms also determine that mammals are naturally attached to their mothers and the sense of contact that some soft objects can provide, such as gauze or furry toys, which scientists call For contact comfort. There is a mother-infant bond between mother and baby, which is also the origin of the word mammal. Its root is the Latin mama, which means breast.

Consciousness and ethics

Machines do not have subjective experiences such as emotions and desires, but humans do. However, the human brain is essentially just a series of electrochemical reactions between neurons. What is the subjective experience? Is it a by-product of evolution? If there is no subjective experience, humans can theoretically still carry out a series of social activities, but without the subjective experience of ups and downs, without emotions, only algorithms and execution are left. But are such humans still humans?

The reason why humans have moral and ethical issues such as abuse and rape is because humans have the concept of "subjective experience." Although in essence, the experience of abuse and rape is also a series of electrochemical reactions between brain neurons, which is not essentially different from other experiences, the existence of "subjective experience" makes this behavior unacceptable, and subjective experience leads to joy and anger. Sadness and joy, in a sense, subjective experience determines the framework boundaries of human morality and ethics.

Machines have no subjective experience, so hacking one machine into another machine is not considered abuse or rape; hacking a machine by a human hacker may constitute information theft. crime, but certainly not betrayal and rape of a computer.

In 1952, Alan Turing, the great mathematician and founder of computer science, was convicted of homosexual behavior and was forced to undergo chemical castration. Two years later, Turing committed suicide by taking a bite of a poisoned apple, leaving behind the bitten apple (logo). Human subjective experience and social ethics are not static, but evolve with the times. As more and more people in society have a new understanding of homosexual behavior and the concept of human rights, morals and ethics will be iteratively upgraded among the new generation. The same Turing, if he were born in the 21st century, he would not be sentenced, nor would he be chemically castrated, nor would he need to commit suicide by taking poison. The behavior has not changed but the environment has changed, and the outcome is very different.

The foundation of these social ethics and morals is only human subjective experience. If subjective experience is illusory, then moral ethics must also be illusory.

Turing'sThe nature of homosexual behavior is not the key, the key is what other people in society think< /strong>. This is also the problem we will face with computer artificial intelligence in the future. Whether artificial intelligence has "consciousness and subjective experience" is not the key. The key is what we humans will think. This is the famous difficult problem, the Problem of other minds:

How to prove that other people in the universe besides me are not robots or illusions in dreams, but conscious Homo sapiens like me?

Human Interconnected Subjectivity

There are three types of human reality:

1) Objective reality, 2) Subjective reality, 3) Common subjective reality (intersubjective, interconnected subjectivity)

Objective reality is the eternal physical law of universal power;

Subjective reality is our inner feelings and emotions, the ups and downs;

Internet subjectivity does not exist because of personal beliefs or feelings, but relies on the communication, interaction and recognition of many people. God, country, currency, company, nation, values, morality, marriage, credit, etc. are all interconnected subjectivities created by human beings. They are a common subjectivity that exists among an ethnic group and culture based on the common imagination of different groups. Reality.

What allows humans to dominate the earth is not intelligence and the ability to use tools, but flexible collaboration on a large scale. The fundamental ability that enables humans to collaborate flexibly on a global scale is imagination. . Leadership is to activate the common imagination of a group of people, compile a commonly recognized story, make the group believe in this story, form a belief, and thus organize them to carry out large-scale and efficient collaboration.

The meaning of most people's lives only exists in the stories they tell each other. The meaning of getting married in a church, wearing a wedding ring, burning incense and worshiping Buddha on the first and fifteenth day of the lunar month, setting off firecrackers to celebrate on holidays, giving red envelopes during the New Year, etc. is that our parents, seniors, neighbors and friends all think it is meaningful. Human beings continue to strengthen each other's beliefs in a self-circulating manner. Each mutual confirmation tightens the web of meaning until you have no choice but to believe what everyone else believes.

Constellations, I Ching, paintings, diamonds, roses, Bitcoin, Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola, Gautama Buddha and Elvis Presley are all subjective to the Internet Every concept has a highly recognized group.

Human beings can not only collaborate across genders, ages, cultures, races, and borders, but also across time and space. All of our scientific achievements are actually the result of collaboration with our predecessors. The result of collaboration, in addition to many fictitious concepts based on common imagination, there is also an important tool for all these collaborations, which is "language". Language is also a common interconnected subjectivity. Without human subjective consciousness, language will be lost. The meaning of existence! Even though North Korea and South Korea speak the same language, the difference between them is not climate and mountains, nor genes and ethnicity, but that they believe in two completely different sets of stories.

Through words and language, human beings have not only realized the transfer of calculation and storage from inside the brain to outside the brain, but also realized the leap from single-person calculation to collective calculation. Human success is the comprehensive result of individual degradation and collective evolution.

The rule of Homo sapiens

Humans have dominated the entire earth through language and social collaboration. With the development of agricultural and industrial societies, they have eliminated most wild animals and domesticated countless domestic animals. In order to satisfy human selfish desires, we raise animals in large numbers and slaughter them. What gives humans such special power to take the lives of other creatures at will?

Human beings continue to find various ethical reasons for themselves to support this kind of killing behavior. Although a small number of humans have begun to oppose it and even lead by example to adopt a vegetarian diet, this cannot stop the development trend of industrialized animal husbandry. One scientific explanation is that these domestic animals have chosen to cooperate with humans, providing meat to humans, and they have also achieved the reproduction of the species. Those wild animals that refuse to cooperate with humans are gradually being eliminated by nature and are on the verge of species extinction. .

There are a total of 200,000 wild wolves roaming around the world. The earliest, weaker wolf, through cooperation with humans, has multiplied and now has wolves around the world. 400 million domestic dog descendants. There are 40,000 male lions in the world, but there are 600 million domestic cats; there are 900,000 African buffaloes, but there are 1.5 billion domestic cattle; there are 50 million penguins, but there are 20 billion chickens. More than 90% of the world's large animals are either humans or domestic animals. Did humans exterminate animals or prosper them? In fact, just 100 years ago, a bird flu also claimed 100 million human lives. In front of nature, life seems not worth mentioning at all, whether it is human or other living creatures. But for human religion and social ethics, this is a huge matter.

The emergence of religion is a kind of comprehensible logic created by human beings for the world that they do not understand; it also gives a kind of surreal god to natural phenomena that they cannot control. Sex, dedicate your expectations for all good things to your dependence and belief in this "supernatural divinity"; let yourself be more firm and strong on the emotional level when facing all unknowns and uncertainties, so that you will not collapse easily. But all this is just like a blind man describing the colors of the world. It is just wishful thinking. Common imagination is not the truth. However, followers of any religion believe that only their own religion is true.

The so-called strong people are because they firmly believe in a certain set of logical and self-consistent belief systems, whether they fully accept an existing religious system or A unique set of laws of the universe has been created. Essentially, people have a certain belief system in their hearts.

Religion and Science

Science has convinced us that there is no God. However, belief in God can motivate us to do certain things ourselves. This is the power that religion gives to social organization. Religion is not the same as superstition, because most people cannot call what they believe superstitious. What you believe is the truth; only what others believe is superstition.

The gap between religion and spirituality is also wider than we think. Religion is a contract that stipulates social codes of conduct and moral values, telling us what is right and what is wrong; while spirituality is indeed a journey, which usually takes people to unknown destinations in mysterious ways.

Spirituality is dangerous for religion. Killing the Buddha When You Meet the Buddha is about: On the spiritual path, if you find that Buddhism has fallen into a rigid, rigid, and fixed rut, you must get rid of it. Martin Luther, a devout ascetic monk, refused to accept the answers provided by the church through various rituals, rituals, and contracts (such as indulgences).

Religious stories almost always have three parts:

1) Ethical judgment, 2) Fact statement, 3) Specific instructions.

If science wants to build a viable human system, it will definitely need the assistance of religion. Many important issues require science to provide arguments, predictions and data, but the ethical issues involved in final decision-making require the support of religion. For example, building a dam has many benefits, but it will lead to the extinction of the Baiji dolphin; in addition, deciding whether to have an abortion is never as simple as a medical operation.

Science and religion both pursue truth, but each advocates different truths. Although their truth systems are different, it does not affect them from compromising with each other and seeking cooperation. They actually don't care that much about the truth.

Religion cares most about order, and its purpose is to create and maintain social structure; science cares most about power, and its purpose is to treat diseases and develop weapons. Produce food, etc.

The Era of Humanism

Humanism believes that it is "human experience" that gives meaning to the universe. The modern religious revolution is not a loss of faith in God, but a greater faith in humanity. In the past, we needed religion to help us judge good and evil, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness. Religion once made us believe that only God can define moral standards. Now, the slogan of humanism is: Listen to your own voice, be true to yourself, believe in yourself, follow your heart, and let yourself do what you want. Happy things.

Suppose a young British woman cheated on her in 1300 AD. She might be restless and go to church to find a priest to confess. The priest will tell her God's views on infidelity based on the Bible, judge her crime based on the Bible, and warn her that she will go to hell if she does not repent. The way to repent is also easy. Donate 10 gold coins (purchase indulgences) to the Crusaders who are about to go out, be a vegetarian for half a year, and then go on a pilgrimage to a certain cathedral. But now, she can make a judgment for herself. She knows what she wants and what price she will pay for it. After weighing the pros and cons, she You can make decisions, take responsibility for yourself, and bear the consequences. This consequence does not include going to hell. It may be that custody of the child is awarded to the husband, or he may not get a penny. Of course, if she is in an awkward situation and doesn't know what to choose, she can also seek help from her best friend or a psychologist. Psychologists do not have a Bible that defines good and evilNor will they impose their opinions on patients. He/she will respect her own feelings and opinions, help her sort out and diagnose her psychological condition, and guide her into the most private places in her heart to find answers.

From the perspective of humanism, God’s admonitions are not as real and real as human feelings. Whether it is extramarital affairs or homosexuality, humanism will not judge based on the moral standards of a god that is superior to human beings. When the Israeli LGBT community marched in Jerusalem, the traditional Jews, Muslims and Christians simply said:It really hurts us deeply that the gay parade passed through the center of the holy city of Jerusalem. Feelings. Gays want us to respect their feelings, and they should respect ours. This can be called social progress!

In the Middle Ages, if there was no God, there would be no authoritative source of politics, morality, and aesthetics, and it would be impossible to judge right from wrong, good from bad, beautiful from ugly. Philosophers and politicians of the time believed that without religion, all law and order would disappear. And today, the greatest threats to global law and order are those who continue to believe in the one true God. God-fearing Syria is far more violent than secular Holland.

In 1917, Duchamp bought a mass-produced ordinary urinal, declared it a work of art, named it "Fountain", signed it, and placed it in a Paris museum. . This is an important artistic milestone. Countless art teachers around the world let their students admire this work and ask them, is this art? When the students were quarreling, the teacher said: As long as some people think it is art, it is art; if some people think it is beautiful, it is beautiful.

This is the humanistic concept that deeply affects us today. In the modern free market, the will of the customer replaces the will of God. If millions of people have purchased a company's products through free choice, who are you to say they are wrong?

The customer is always right, and the customer is God.

Humanism also leads education from "questioning and reciting" to "guiding and thinking", knowing that Aristotle, King Solomon and Aquinas have great influence on politics, The views on art and economics are fine, but since the source of meaning and authority lies within us, what matters more is your own views on these matters.

Heaven and hell are no longer clouds or mountains, but the inner spiritual state of people. As long as you have the flames of anger and hatred in your heart, you are experiencing the pain of hell; as long as you forgive your enemies, repent of your mistakes, and share your wealth with the poor, you are enjoying the happiness of heaven.

God is dead, Nietzsche said. However, you can continue to choose to believe in God because you can feel His existence in your heart; you can also choose not to believe because you cannot feel His existence. In any case, the source of authority is human beings' own feelings.

In the Middle Ages, the main formula for gaining knowledge was:Knowledge = Scripture x Logic.

The knowledge formula of the scientific revolution was very different:Knowledge = empirical data x mathematics.

But science itself cannot deal with issues of value and meaning. We can invent a train, but we don’t know where the train should go. Scientists cannot make moral judgments. Therefore, based on human self-confidence, humanism provides a new formula for acquiring ethical knowledge:

Knowledge = Experience x Sensitivity

Experience is a subjective phenomenon with three main parts: perception, emotion and thought.

Sensitivity includes two aspects:

First, pay attention to your intuition, emotions and thoughts;Second, allow these perceptions, emotions, and thoughts to affect you.

Be open to new experiences. Experience and sensitivity form an endless cycle that reinforces each other. Sensitivity cannot be cultivated by reading and speaking. It must be matured slowly in practice. Drinking tea, tasting wine, and aesthetic appreciation are nothing like this. Humanism believes that life is an inner process of gradual change, relying on experience to move people from ignorance to enlightenment.

The purpose of human existence is to refine wisdom from the widest range of experiences in life.

There is only one peak to conquer in life - to try to experience everything it feels like to be human.

You Only Live Once.

Science and humanism work together like the yin and yang of Tai Chi, providing us with the strength to move forward andthe meaning and meaning of life. Moral Judgment. Never in human history has any culture placed so much emphasis on human feelings, desires, and experiences.

Although liberal humanism has won today, when genetic engineering and artificial intelligence fully realize their potential, the concepts of liberalism, democracy, and free markets may again think of flint knives and audio tapes. Just as outdated. In the future, Technological Humanism may fundamentally subvert liberal humanism. Because we discovered that customers and voters never have free choice and we can use technology to calculate, design or defeat their personal feelings . In the near future, human subjective experience will also become a designable product, just like any product that can be bought in a supermarket.

History is moving forward. Although there are still billions of people who devoutly believe in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, quantity is of little significance to history. History is often about a small group of forward-looking innovators, rather than the backward-looking masses.

From hunting society to farming society, from farming society to industrial society, from industrial society to the information age, every change in human society and technology is driven by a small group of people. and the first to benefit. With the help of scientific and technological power represented by biotechnology and artificial intelligence (computer algorithms), human beings can live forever, be happy forever and become gods. The wish will most likely come true.

This technological revolution at the beginning of the 21st century is very likely to be the last train for human upgrading. Missed it People may never get a chance to get in a car again.

The so-called free will

21st century science is undermining the foundations of the liberal order. The more advanced science becomes, the more we discover that the foundation of liberal humanism is also based on a fictitious concept.Human "free will" actually does not It is not true "freedom" and there is no so-called "will.

If "free will" means "acting according to one's own desires," then humans do have free will. Thus, chimpanzees, dogs, and parrots also have free will. We and all animals have desires, and most of the time we act according to our desires. But who decides “desire”? At the microscopic level, our "desire" itself is the electrochemical reaction of cells and neurons. An idea and an action are chain reactions of a series of tiny events, and each tiny event It was determined by the previous event. The triggering event traced back to the source may come from biological presets (stimulus response to external signals, drooling when seeing bones), randomness, or a combination of the two . Neither biological default nor randomness represents "free will". We cannot control what thoughts we will have in the next second, nor can we predict what kind of dreams we will have tonight, and these seemingly insignificant thoughts and dreams can actually affect our decisions and choices.

There is a wrong logic behind our understanding of "freedom". Human desire is not a choice. We can only feel the desire and then act accordingly. It seems that what we call will" most of the time exists to satisfy "desires< /span>. Can we eliminate our desires through will, and can we use some kind of training to make all thoughts disappear from our minds. Or, a person with strong self-control can resist the temptation of gourmet beauties, but can he resist other emotional stimulations? For example, you don’t feel scared when you see a murder scene, or you don’t shed tears when you see a touching scene? These emotions can influence our decisions and our votes. Commercials and the presidential election are doing everything they can to "guide, induce, mislead" us Make choices that seem “free”.

Our choices are never truly driven by free will, So we often regret yesterday's decision. Buying the wrong product, marrying the wrong person, electing the wrong president, and taking the wrong path are all things we do all the time, right? Being impressed by the eloquence of a sales master and cheated by a gangster, or being intimidated by a brandished cake cutter, spending the same cost and getting the same defective product, but the feelings are very different. There are only "willingness" and "being deceived". The difference is that the first one feels better, but it is not true free will, because when you go home and find that you still don’t need the product, you are not satisfied, but you were obsessed with it and put it in your pocket.

Today, in order to guide others to make choices that are beneficial to us, we also need to use various means such as public relations and marketing to exploit the weaknesses of human nature, hit the key points, and let them " Voluntarily set up." In the future, through new technologies, we will be able to directly control the desires of others without the need for such complex social market behaviors, and guide decisions by manipulating desires. The U.S. military already has similar chips and "helmets" that can be implanted into the human brain. As long as you put on the helmet, you can enter a state without distracting thoughts, focus all your attention on important things, and unleash your greatest potential. , such as gunnery training. Of course, Prozac, a good drug for controlling depression, actually acts directly on the brain, shutting down those annoying emotions directly. Since we can shut down some brain areas by taking medicine, we can certainly open some areas by taking medicine. Different areas bring different thoughts and experiences, leading to different decisions.

Through brain science experiments, we have discovered that the left brain and the right brain are two different decision-making systems, because they are connected by a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. , so the final decision seems to be unanimous. Only we ourselves know the torment in our hearts. Whether to vote for Hillary or Trump, many people are also vacillating. Pass.

In experiments on some split-brain patients, scientists cut the corpus callosum. When the left and right brains made completely independent decisions, we found that they often made contradictory decisions. The behavior is to open the window with the left hand and close it with the right hand. When we let the right brain see the snow scene (only for the left eye) and the left brain see chicken feet (only for the right eye), the mouth controlled by the left brain will respond by seeing chicken feet, and the left hand controlled by the right brain will respond. (by spelling) saw the snow. Then when they are asked to continue to choose pictures related to the previous picture, the left hand chooses the shovel because the right brain (left eye) saw the snow scene before, and the right hand chooses the chicken because the left brain (right eye) saw chicken feet before; this Sometimes I asked my left brain (the question was written on the board for the right eye to see only) why I was holding a shovel in my left hand. I had never seen a snow scene, only chicken feet and chickens. The left brain controlled the mouth and answered: Because I have to clean the chicken coop. Rubbish.

It turns out that the left brain is also responsible for the function of "reasonable explanation", no matter what decision the owner makes and behavior, the left brain is responsible for cleaning up the mess, giving seemingly logical and reasonable explanations, and finding meaning for our lives. Just like when the CIA committed a drone strike in Pakistan, the U.S. State Department did not know about it, but when faced with questions from the media, it always had to make up a fair statement to respond to the public.

So, what we understand today as "the meaning of life" is nothing more than left-brain rhetoric.

There are at least two selves in the human body: the experiential self and the narrative self. Experiencing ourselves is our consciousness every moment, but we have no memory ability, so we often "heal the scars and forget the pain." Even after experiencing severe labor pain, women will continue to have second, third, and fourth children. The narrative self is like a bystander, responsible for refining and summarizing. Usually, the average of the peak and end points of the experience self is used to arrive at the feeling of an experience. This is called the peak-end law. We can't change the experience peak of many events, but we can change the order or even just add a better experience link at the end to improve the entire experience. Therefore, doctors understand that for the same physical examination, just because the last one is not too painful, the whole physical examination feels much better. The narrative self also understands that assigning different meanings to an experience can make all the difference in how it feels. There is a huge experience difference between fasting on a fast day and starving because of poverty, donating and being cheated, participating in a marathon and being punished for running. The experience is the same. The core difference is how we make sense of the “meaning” of the experience.

Meaning, the word itself is a fictitious concept of mankind. There is no real thing in the universe that represents "meaning". One of the absurd facts we discover about human society is thatthe more sacrifices we make to an imaginary story, the more likely we are to cling to it, just to make our past sacrifices and Pain seems more meaningful. There is even a time in politics that describes this phenomenon, called: Our boys didn't die in vain syndrome t Die in Vain). Because of this syndrome, countless children continue to be sent to the battlefield to die. Even the countless disabled soldiers who come back alive are unwilling to believe that the war for which they once paid a heavy price was just because of the impulse of some politicians; The failure of the first impulse cannot be stopped in time, so the previous sacrifices will be meaningless. What stupid humans. But the countries, gods, nations, and money we strive for are themselves fictitious concepts. The most exciting meaning of action at the moment may seem completely absurd to future generations.

That’s okay, because our left brain will be responsible for fabricating a seamless excuse to explain our past stupidity and accept the sacrifices we have suffered. In order to make this fabricated excuse more reasonable, we may need to continue to invest and continue to act, even if it costs all our wealth Even life. Such is the nature of war and the willfulness of the stock market.

It turns out that free will and the meaning of life are illusions.

Human vs Artificial Intelligence (Machine)

Human beings' political and economic uses will be largely replaced by robots, and the secular value of human beings is rapidly declining. The social system believes that the human collective has its own value, but most individual human beings are no longer valuable and become a useless class (it doesn’t matter, humans There is also a large amount of "junk" information in DNA. Since natural selection has left these DNA fragments, it means there are still some meanings that we cannot see), and only a very small number of human elites will have unique value.

It only takes a few seconds for a carefully planned cyber attack Blackout the entire U.S. network, destroy the air traffic control system, cause a large number of accidents at nuclear power plants and chemical plants, interfere with police, military and intelligence communication networks, and even erase all financial records, causing trillions of dollars to disappear without a trace. No one knows who it is. What to have.

For the military and business, intelligence is necessary, but awareness is optional. So frontline military battles only require drones and robots equipped with Ethical Algorithms. There should be no awareness or emotion. Human technology is developing rapidly, and reaching super intelligence is just around the corner. In addition to traditional manufacturing and war and other jobs that rely on human "physical abilities", most of the stocks, finance, doctors, lawyers, music composition, etc.rely on human beings "Cognitive ability" jobs will also be replaced. EMI's music imitating Bach's composition has already surpassed Bach in blind tests.

There is essentially no difference between biological algorithms and computer algorithms. However, due to the limitations of organisms, humans cannot remain rational and awake 24 hours a day, but machines can, andThese super intelligences can be competent in any " Pattern Recognition and Algorithms"-based work.

Some people believe that emotions and consciousness are human strengths and the source of creativity, but there will be fewer and fewer jobs that require this kind of creativity, only 1%, For In most economic and political matters, emotions are redundant, even scary. Human intelligence is often affected by emotions and behaves abnormally or abnormally.

By 2033, there may be only jobs like archaeologists that will not be replaced by robots and algorithms. The main reason is not because machines can’t do it, but because there are no people. I am willing to write algorithms for this type of work with extremely high input-output cost performance. Sad human beings, if they want to avoid being eliminated and become a useless class, they can only keep learning and create a new self. However, most people can't do it.

After machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence, will it wipe out humans? It is possible that, although the design "purpose" of the machine algorithm is not to eliminate humans, in the process of completing its set goal, if humans stop it (such as unplugging the power supply), it will mobilize all its intelligence to eliminate humans, Just to achieve the initial goal set by humans, and this goal is the meaning of the robot's life (if it is conscious).

When everything is interconnected and all data is online, machine algorithm decision-making will surpass humans themselves, and most of human decision-making will be completed by machines (including some unknowingly and subconsciously) guided, decisions ostensibly made by humans themselves). Hackers' attacks have also evolved from computer hijacking to controlling nanorobots in the human body.

It’s scary to think about it, When you wake up, your body has been taken over by a hacker, which is even more sad. The thing is, you don’t know anything about it. You still act according to your desires, but the intensity of your desires and when they are activated are controlled by a 12-year-old hacker in another corner of the world.

In the future, a very small group of elites will arm themselves with biotechnology and artificial intelligence to extend their lifespan and stay young forever. In the past, social medical security was equal for everyone, but what was equal was basic health needs. And tomorrow, what the elites spend a lot of money on is "upgrades", such as enhanced memory, improved intelligence, enhanced sexual performance, etc.. This is inherently unequal and will not be covered by medical insurance. In the past, civilian medical care was also premised on the fact that the military and economy required a large number of civilians to contribute and sacrifice their lives. But tomorrow, their jobs will be replaced by unconscious super-intelligent robots, and the elites only need to upgrade themselves. If Brazil wants to surpass Japan, it will no longer rely on millions of healthy workers, but will need to upgrade a handful of elites and turn them into superhuman beings.

When superhuman beings are born whose physical, emotional and intellectual abilities far exceed those of ordinary people, how can liberal beliefs survive? Completely different, so how to choose. The cognitive gap is a natural chasm that is difficult to cross. Just like ants can never understand humans, Superman may look at ordinary people just like we look at ants, or Europeans in the 19th century looked at African slaves at that time.

The ocean of consciousness

Technological religion has brought about two directions: "technological humanism" and "dataism".

Technological Humanism believes that today’s Homo sapiens will soon become history. We want to use technology to create "god-man" superhumans, a better form of humanity. The God-Man retains some basic human characteristics but possesses upgraded physical and mental abilities and the ability to combat complex unconscious intelligences (algorithms). Because unconscious intelligence is developing rapidly,If human beings do not want to collectively fall, they can only actively upgrade their "minds".

In the first cognitive revolution 70,000 years ago, human DNA made a small change, the brain nerves slightly adjusted their structure, and we dominated the earth. The second cognitive revolution may bring the gods into new areas that are currently unimaginable, making them the masters of the solar system.

In the last upgrade, we weakened abilities such as smell, vision, hearing and even attention, and improved intelligence; this cognitive upgrade process may also continue to weaken many abilities. , for example, if we use the "helmet" of concentration too much, once we take off the helmet, we will lose the ability to tolerate all kinds of doubts and contradictions. If the social system wants us to be determined rather than doubtful, it will push us in that direction. The process of transforming the mind upgrades one part and degrades another. Farmers know that the smartest sheep in the flock often gets into big trouble, so part of the agricultural revolution was to reduce the mental abilities of animals. So the second cognitive revolution promoted by technological humanism may have similar effects on human beings, allowing the "human cogs" in the big social machine to communicate and Process data more efficiently, but pay little attention to other things, don’t dream, and don’t doubt. In the past few million years, humans have been upgraded versions of chimpanzees. In the future, humans may become enlarged versions of "ants". Individual value is no longer important, and collective social activities are more valuable.

Sounds terrible, I would rather keep the status quo than upgrade to some god and become a super screw in the future social system. But that’s not up to me, and I may not be able to wait until that day. Social upgrading is gradual, and we don’t feel the degradation of this body function during evolution; moreover, compared with agricultural societies and hunting societies, our social system is indeed stronger , but personal abilities have truly weakened. It will be the same in the future, strengthen the whole and weaken the individual.

The chimpanzee also said: "I don't want to evolve into a human being. I don't have the strength to climb trees. In the jungle where I live, there is no way for human beings to survive. My ability is so weak. It’s better to be an orangutan. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want, and have sex with the female orangutan when you want. There are so many restrictions there, monogamy, bullshit!

No matter what species they are, their consciousness will always make them content with everything in the present, fearing change, even upgrading will be accompanied by the degradation of some physiological functions, Loss aversion" makes all species feel: now is the best, now is the best.

Evolution is not about becoming stronger and more magnificent, but about becoming more adaptable< /span>.

Dataism believes that the universe is composed of data streams and any phenomenon or entity The value lies in its contribution to data processing. Music, stock market, literature, economy, politics, ant colonies, bee colonies, and bacterial colonies are all different modes of data flow, and algorithms can be used to analyze and make decisions. In the past, we had to transform data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into intelligence. Today, the amount of data is too large, and humans can no longer directly process the massive data and form information, socomputer algorithms take over the work of data processing, and then the The information and knowledge then become the harvest of computer algorithms and become the intelligence of computers.

Communism is essentially a political algorithm system that centralizes the processing of market information, unifying resource allocation, unified commodity pricing, and unified planning of social and economic activities;Free market capitalism is an algorithmic system of distributed information processing. Capitalism was able to win the Cold War because the effect of distributed data processing is more in line with today's era than centralized processing.

Political scientists have begun to understand human political structures as data processing systems. Democracy and autocracy are essentially two sets of opposing mechanisms for collecting and analyzing data (information). And this political algorithm system is losing control of data. Technology is developing too fast, and the political system is upgrading too slowly. Power has emerged. vacuum. Even a few years after the Internet, governments began to realize that the impact of this scientific and technological achievement on the social and political landscape was out of control. They began to monitor and manage data through various policies and regulations, and obtained almost all the information. data, but that still doesn’t help. Just like when playing cards, you clearly know what cards your opponent has, but don't know how to do it. You always lose again and again. Essentially, this is a lack of data processing capabilities in the existing political system.

Many new technologies will develop rapidly in the future and challenge the political system, especially artificial intelligence and biotechnology, but the current political system is not alert to this. The lack of knowledge among voters and politicians about biology, cybernetics, and information theory has become a huge bottleneck. The democratic mechanism can no longer bring power to voters. Power is being transferred, but I don’t know where it is. British voters imagined that the EU had taken away power, so they left the EU; American voters believed that vested interests monopolized power, so they supported anti-system candidates. But in fact, Even if the UK leaves the EU and Trump is elected, power will not return to ordinary voters.

Technology has gained god-like capabilities, but politics remains short-sighted and ignorant. This combination is very problematic. The history of the Nazis and the atomic bombings tells us that power cannot be handed over to arrogant but ignorant politicians. That would be a disaster. And power cannot be completely handed over to the market, because free market algorithms are not omnipotent and sometimes are blind. When faced with the threat of global warming or the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, the market may do nothing.

When everything is connected and all data is open to the Internet, algorithms can not only know everyone’s voting intentions, but can even analyze why someone votes for the Democratic Party from the fundamental neurological reasons. Why should there be a democratic vote when another person votes Republican? The humanism of the past called for: "Listen to your inner voice";And the current dataism calls for: "Listen to the algorithm! span>

With the advent of machine learning and artificial neural networks, more and more algorithms will evolve independently, improve themselves, and learn from their own mistakes. The earliest seed algorithms were designed and developed by humans, but as the algorithms gradually develop, they will go out of their own way and go to territories that humans have never set foot on, and humans are powerless to do so. search.

But no one really knows what the job market, families, or ecology will look like in 2050, or which religious, economic, and political systems will dominate the world. The world is changing faster than ever, and we are inundated with data, ideas, promises and threats. Humanity is increasingly handing over power to free markets, crowd intelligence, and external algorithms, in part because humans are unable to process large amounts of data.

We cannot truly predict the future because technology does not bring certain outcomes.

At least one thing we can be clear about is that The future is inherently uncertain.

However, it’s scary to think about it!


Several interesting experiments and stories mentioned in the article:

Bonobo Socialization

Bonobos often use sexual behaviors to relieve stress and build social bonds. So it's not surprising that same-sex behavior is common among them. If two groups of bonobos who don't know each other get together, they will show fear and hostility at first, but soon the female bonobos from one of the groups will come out and invite the unfamiliar bonobos to stop fighting and come and have sex. Usually the other party accepts the invitation, and within minutes what might have been a battlefield turns into a scene of fun, with the bonobos having sex in various positions and even hanging upside down from a tree. Homo sapiens also understand these cooperative skills very well, but whether fighting or mating, individual knowledge alone still cannot form the basis for large-scale cooperation. The solution to the Greek debt crisis cannot be to invite Greek politicians and German bankers to have a fight or to make a fuss.

The Ultimatum Game

Two people share a fixed amount of money, such as 100 yuan. One person proposes the plan and the other person votes. If the people who vote agree, then they will divide according to the proposed plan; if they don't agree, the two people will get nothing. A needs to guess B's reaction when proposing a plan. At this time, the rational plan proposed by A should leave a little bit to B, such as 1 yuan, while he gets 99 Yuan. B will get a penny if he accepts, but nothing if he refuses. This is the result based on the assumptions of "rational people", but it is not the result in reality. Real cases reflect that proposers tend to prefer 50:50 plans; while recipients tend to: less than 30% reject and more than 30% accept. The reason for rejection is "unfair" and people would rather not take the 1 yuan than look like a fool. Similar experiments have been done on capuchin monkeys, and the results are the same. Monkeys also have a sense of "unfairness", become jealous, get angry because of unfairness, and give up relatively small vested interests. The behavior of Homo sapiens is not cold mathematical logic, but warm social logic. We are more or less controlled by emotions. The evolutionary logic behind this is also very simple. Although I accepted 1 yuan, which is better than nothing, in the long run, I will always receive 1 yuan. If I refuse, you will give me more next time, otherwise you will get nothing. Eventually it will tend to reach a distribution balance limit, such as 7:3.

Mouse’s Hope

An experiment often done by pharmaceutical companies requires taking 100 rats and placing them in glass tubes filled with water. The rats would try again and again to climb out of the glass tube, but would never succeed. After 15 minutes, most people will give up and float in the jar, indifferent to their surroundings. Then, take another 100 rats and do the same experiment. The difference is that at 14 minutes, when they are about to despair, take them out and wipe them. Dry them, give them food, let them rest, and then put them back in the jar. The second time, the rats could hold on for 20 minutes before giving up. Why 6 extra minutes? Because there have been successful memories in the past, the brain is triggered to release certain chemicals, making the rats feel hopeful again and delaying the time of despair. If we can find this substance, we should be able to find antidepressants for humans.
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