The field of "scientific theology" deals with the question of the ultimate vocation of thinking
One of the advantages - or disadvantages? – that being a seasoned science buff is that new things often seem like an old story. for example, At an artificial intelligence conference recently, I was listening to smart people talk about the desires of super-intelligent machines, and I couldn't stop thinking about things I'd heard, seen, and read before.
As several of the speakers said, countless works of science fiction have already imagined what artificial minds might want. The common cinematic answers are power (“2001: Space Odyssey","Terminator","Matrix"), freedom ("I am a robot","Ex prepares") and love ("artificial intelligenceSteven Spielberg's "She” by Spike Jonze).
But what will happen if the machines get all the power, freedom (some say it's the same thing) and love they need? What would happen if all the machines merged into one huge brain? At that time, freedom, power and love, which are social goals, will become irrelevant. What would this cosmic computer want? How will he pass the time?
in my bookThe end of science” I called this kind of speculation “scientific theology”. Among those involved in the field, Freeman Dyson He is my favorite. In 1979 Dyson published in the journal Reviews of Modern Physics an article titled Time Without End: Physics and Biology in an Open Universe, which was written as a reaction toHis comment The physicist's infamous Steven Weinberg, according to which: "The more understandable the universe seems, the more purposeless it seems."
No universe with intelligence is without purpose, Dyson replied. He tried to show that even in an eternally expanding universe, intelligence could always exist and reject the The heat death of the universe Through smart conservation of energy.
B"infinite everywhere”, Dyson's collection of essays from 1988, he imagines an intelligence spreading across the entire universe and turning it into a vast cosmic mind. "What will the mind choose to do when it knows the entire universe and controls it?" Dyson asked. "We cannot hope" to find an absolute answer to this question, he claimed, because the question is theological and not scientific:
"I do not clearly distinguish between the intellect and God. God is what the understanding becomes after it passes our ability to perceive. God can be the soul of the world, or a collection of such world souls. At the current stage of its development, we are the primary offshoots of our planet's God. In the future we may grow together with him, or be left behind."
Dyson's ideas were influenced by the science fiction writer (and philosopher). Olaf Stapledon, who died in 1950. in his books The first and last person וCreator of the stars, Stapledon imagined what the brain would become millions or billions of years later. He hypothesized that a cosmic intelligence would want to create. She will become an artist, whose works are entire universes.
It's a cool idea (and implies that we're living in one of these works of art), but I prefer Dyson's hypothesis. He hypothesizes that a cosmic mind would not be an artist but a scientist, a seeker of knowledge. When I interviewed Dyson in 1993, he confidently asserted that the search for knowledge will never end, because knowledge itself is infinite.
His optimism is derived, in part, fromgrown up sentence, according to which in every set of axioms there are questions that cannot be answered within those axioms. From this sentence it follows that mathematics is "open", and therefore it is possible to continue to develop it forever.
"Since we know that the laws of physics are mathematical," Dyson told me, "and we know that mathematics is an untraceable system, it seems logical to some extent that physics is also untraceable" and therefore open.
It was hard for me to imagine the cosmic computer at the end of time - in other words, "God" - dealing with mathematical or physical puzzles. In my opinion (drug induced, I admit) he will wonder about the riddle of his own origin. Here is the big question: Will he solve this mystery, the mother of all mysteries, or will he remain forever unsolved?
Addendum: It is worth mentioning two more scientific theologians. the physicist Frank Tipler, In his book The physics of immortality (1994), claims that in the end times a machine like El will bring back to life every creature that has ever lived, in a blissful cybernetic paradise. The sex will be fantastic. the writer Stanislav Lem, described in his book Solaris From 1961 an encounter between humans and an intelligent planet and claimed that superintelligence would be incomprehensible. His point of view is negative theology, according to which God will forever be beyond the reach of our knowledge. The brilliant twist in Lem's plot is that the ancient human mind is also quite incomprehensible.
The article is taken from her author's blog, Cross-Check, on the Scientific American website, and its content reflects the views of the writer and not necessarily of the editors of Scientific American.