Max Tegmark’s full title is …
“Life 3.0 – Being Human in the Age of AI”
… and I remain pretty sceptical about the AI-hype. Last mentioned Max’s book back in 2017, but already added a 2019 note to that just last month.
The book, as the Life 3.0 title suggests, is primarily about evolution and, as director of the “Future Life Institute”, he takes his layered model into futurism – predictions about the future. As I say, I’m sceptical about AI ever getting beyond automated algorithms until such time as “real” A-Life has also evolved, and I’m sceptical about predictions generally. However, his layered 1.0 / 2.0 / 3.0 model is based entirely on information patterns AND he has an entire chapter “Goals” on the cosmic teleology implied in the inevitability of the 2nd Law statistically favouring increasingly intelligent life.
This cosmic inevitability of intelligent life, human and beyond often attracts “anthropic” criticisms, but such criticisms are political, the political correctness of orthodox science that insists humanity ain’t that special. This was the life’s work of Rick Ryals about whom I posted a page only last week. Rick was primarily a physicist with cosmological interests, as is Tegmark though for him the mathematics is the real focus. He uses maths where I say “information”.
Actually, despite my scepticism, the whole book is a good read, well written and witty in his everyday examples. A red-pill / blue-pill matrix allusion in the idea of the AI singularity overtaking humanity, plenty of good thought experiments. As ever, I’m just gutting the book to satisfy my focus.
Given my anthropic-information / layered-evolution focus, Tegmark’s story seems entirely consistent. Encouraging to see Jeremy England referred to as a colleague at the FLI, since it was England’s work that Dan Brown referenced explicitly in “Origin”. In fact Tegmark could be as much a candidate as Ray Kurzweil for the protagonist in that work.
Everything really is hanging together increasingly consistently, reinforcing the impression that I need to shift my focus from reading to writing yet again.