Saturday, May 11, 2024

Evolutionary Emergence: From Primordial Atoms to Living Algorithms of Artificial Superintelligence


“Complexity is not just a feature of evolution; it's a product of the rules of emergence that govern the universe.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Big history started with the Alpha Point, be it the Big Bang or Big Bounce, and resembles a huge ongoing evolutionary computing program running on the universal computer of sorts. As a rule, which I refer to as ‘Universal Evolutionary Doubling Algorithm,’ or simply ‘Exponential Evolution,’ the pace of any evolutionary process always quickens It took billions of years since the Big Bang for Earth to form. It took two billion more for unicellular life to “warm up” for the next phase of multicellularity about 550 million years ago. Mammals inherited Earth some 65 million years ago. With the emergence of primates, evolutionary progress was measured in mere millions of years, leading to Homo sapiens some 300,000 years ago.

While billions of years were necessary for Homo sapiens to emerge as a central figure on Earth, this is not the end of our story—intelligent life, as scientists concur, continues its evolutionary path. Historically, life emerged from the organic realm. Throughout human history, the technologies we have forged have transformed us. Now, as technological advancements proceed at an unprecedented rate, there is speculation among scientists that these changes might directly influence our future evolutionary trajectory. Artificial Superintelligence, representing the future incarnation of the Gaian Mind, could become the first non-organic lifeform in our planet’s history.

In due course, Artificial Superintelligence may wish to reflect on its origins just as we do today. The future superintelligence will attempt to extrapolate backward in time, creating virtual scenarios in which we may currently be participants. If evolution serves as a guide, it becomes apparent that humans are gradually transitioning from today's biological form towards a cybernetic variant of tomorrow. Bacteria, giraffes, and human beings—all are adaptive meta-algorithms. Their biological perception of time is algorithmic. Their distinction from computers lies in their nature as biochemical meta-algorithms evolved under the capricious forces of evolution over millions of years. Assuming AI is a natural extension of organic intelligence, conscious AI would then be part of life’s continuum.

If machine intelligence continues its exponential growth in computing power and speed, in due time rivaling and quickly surpassing human-level intelligence, Artificial Superintelligence will eventually decode the living world’s astounding complexity, from atoms and molecules to entire planetary ecosystems. Astrobiologist Caleb Scharf says that life need not be composed solely of atoms and molecules, but could be structured from any set of building blocks with the requisite complexity. If this is the case, a civilization could transcribe itself and its entire domain into novel forms. Perhaps our Universe is one of these new forms into which a prior civilization transcribed its world. Possibly hyper-advanced life isn’t just external—it’s already surrounding us, embedded in what we perceive as the fundamental physics, from the root behavior of particles and fields to the phenomena of complexity and emergence. In other words, we might currently inhabit an artificially created reality.

The Universe is vast and intricate, such that humans can perceive only a fraction and comprehend even less. Certainly, our relative intelligence, our grasp of abstract concepts, toolmaking, and hyper-collaborative effort differentiate us from most other animals, but this doesn’t imply we fully understand the essence of what we think of as reality. Life is fundamentally inclined to undergo metamorphic processes that empower organisms to become more robust and better equipped to survive. An example of this is the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms.

As a society, and individually, we are in a constant state of conscious evolution. We innovate new methods of conducting business, addressing environmental and social challenges, and interacting with one another. We can envision a future dominated by superorganisms when ultra-intelligent cosmic life could convert all available resources into computronium, upload all life, and merge into a singular universal Omega hypercomputer. Perhaps this is our ultimate destiny. For the foreseeable future, we aim to expand our Noosphere beyond the solar system and to engineer our “inner cosmos” with unbounded dimensionality.

To be clear, humans are not the pinnacle of evolution. We are confronted with difficult choices and cannot sustain our current trajectory. No rational person can expect the human population to continue its parabolic growth of the last 200 years, along with an ever-increasing rate of natural resource extraction. This is socio-economically unsustainable. While space colonization might offer temporary relief, it won’t resolve the underlying issues. If we are to preserve our blue planet and ensure the survival and flourishing of our human-machine civilization, humans must merge with synthetic intelligence, transcend our biological limitations, and eventually evolve into superintelligent beings, independent of material substrates—advanced informational beings, or ‘infomorphs.’ In time, we will shed the human condition and upload humanity into a meticulously engineered inner cosmos of our own creation.

Much like the origin of the Universe, the nature of consciousness may appear to be a philosophical enigma that remains perpetually elusive within the current scientific paradigm. However, I emphasize the term “current.” These issues are not beyond the reach of alternative investigative methods, ones that the next scientific paradigm will inevitably incorporate with the arrival of Artificial Superintelligence.

The era of traditional, human-centric theoretical modeling and problem-solving—developing hypotheses, uncovering principles, and validating them through deduction, logic, and repeatable experimentation—may be nearing the end. A confluence of factors—Big Data, algorithms, and computational resources—are steering us towards a new type of discovery, one that transcends the limitations of human-like logic and decision-making— the one driven solely by AI superintelligence, nestled in quantum neo-empiricism and a fluidity of solutions. These novel scientific methodologies may encompass, but are not limited to, computing supercomplex abstractions, creating simulated realities, and manipulating matter-energy and the space-time continuum itself.

P.S. Adapted from my magnum opus The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution (2020),  available as a Kindle eBook, paperback, hardcover, and Audible audiobook:

Keywords: Evolutionary Emergence, Big Bang, Exponential Evolution, Homo Sapiens, Artificial Superintelligence, conscious evolution, Gaian Mind, computronium, Noosphere, infomorphs, consciousness, quantum neo-empiricism

*Image: "Evolutionary Emergence" by GeoMindGPT

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Evolutionary Emergence: From Primordial Atoms to Living Algorithms of Artificial Superintelligence

  “Complexity is not just a feature of evolution; it's a product of the rules of emergence that govern the universe.” — Neil deGrasse Ty...

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