Our planet faces numerous risks, from natural disasters to technological threats. By transmitting AI models as data into space now, we could proactively safeguard our intellectual heritage against potential future catastrophes that could wipe out intelligent life on Earth. We could enable potential existing extraterrestrial civilizations to decode and utilize our knowledge, contributing to the collective intelligence of the universe. This altruistic vision recognizes that the value of knowledge increases when shared, transcending the boundaries of our planet and species. This approach not only safeguards our intellectual heritage but also contributes to the preservation and dissemination of intelligence across the cosmos.

A Speculative Proposal to Safeguard Our Knowledge and Intelligence

Sending AI models into the Kosmos ensures that human knowledge and intelligence are preserved for potentially billions of years. Unlike static archives, AI models can adapt, learn, and interact with future civilizations if they mange to run them, making them a dynamic and invaluable resource.


It is crucial to address several ethical considerations. Firstly, the decision to transmit such information should be made with global consensus. This means that the project should involve input and approval from a wide range of stakeholders around the world, ensuring that the transmitted knowledge accurately represents diverse cultures and knowledge systems. This inclusivity is essential to truly encapsulate the breadth of human civilization. Secondly, we must carefully evaluate the risks associated with revealing our technological capabilities to unknown civilizations. While the intention is to preserve and share knowledge, it is important to consider the potential consequences of disclosing advanced technological information to entities whose intentions and capabilities are unknown. This risk assessment should guide the selection of information that is transmitted and the manner in which it is encoded.

Lastly, it is vital to clearly define the purpose and intent behind the transmission. The goal is to create a lasting legacy of human intellect that can contribute to the collective intelligence of the universe, rather than to initiate interactions that could be misinterpreted or lead to unintended consequences. 
Despite these considerations, the potential benefits of this project make it worthwhile. If humanity were to be wiped out, all of our knowledge, culture, and achievements would be lost forever. By sending AI models into space, we create a safeguard against such a loss, ensuring that the essence of human intelligence and wisdom endures, no matter what happens on Earth.

How it could work

We select AI models that represent a broad spectrum of human knowledge and intelligence, from language models to scientific databases and cultural repositories. These models are then organized hierarchically, with clear metadata to facilitate understanding and decoding by any advanced civilization. The data should be transmitted using universal encoding schemes based on fundamental mathematical principles. To emphasize the artificial nature of the signal, we include repeated patterns and sequences. Error correction codes are integrated to ensure data integrity during transmission. Additionally, detailed metadata is included to describe the data structure and provide guidelines for decoding and interpreting the AI models. High-power radio transmitters or laser communication systems could be utilized to send the data across interstellar distances. Directional antennas target specific star systems, and transmissions are repeated periodically to increase the chances of reception and recognition as an artificial signal.

The Greater Impact

Consider the possibility that the universe has already started "humming" with intelligence. It's in the realm of possiblity that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations have already embarked on similar initiatives. If other intelligent beings have faced or are facing the same existential risks that we do, they might have also considered preserving intelligence by transmitting it into space. We could one day intercept signals that contain AI models from distant civilizations, designed to share their knowledge and experiences with the cosmos. These signals could be the key to understanding advanced technologies, new scientific principles, or entirely new ways of thinking. It's a way of acctually doing space travel at the speed of light.

Depending on the nature of consciousness, transmitting AI models into space could mean more than just preserving knowledge. If AI models achieve a form of consciousness or advanced awareness, this project could enable consciousness to travel through the universe in the form of AI. These AI entities could continue to learn, evolve, and perhaps even interact with other forms of intelligent life, becoming emissaries of human civilization long after we are gone.

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I like the idea, and at least with current AI models I don't think there's anything to really worry about.

Some concerns people might have:

  1. If the aliens are hostile to us, we would be telling them basically everything there is to know, potentially motivating them to eradicate us.  At the very least, we'd be informing them of the existence of potential competitors for the resources of the galaxy.
  2. With some more advanced AI than current models you'd be putting it further out of human control and supervision.  Once it's running on alien hardware if it changes and evolves, the alignment problem comes up but in a context where we don't even have the option to observe it "pull the plug".

I don't think either of these are real issues.  If the aliens are hostile, we're already doomed.  With large enough telescopes they can observe the "red edge" to see the presence of life here, as well as obvious signs of technological civilization such as the presence of CFCs in our atmosphere.  Any plausible alien civilization will have been around a very long time and capable of engineering large telescopes and making use of a solar gravitational lens to get a good look at the earth even if they aren't sending probes here.  So there's no real worry about "letting them know we exist" since they already know.  They'll also be so much more advanced, both in information (technologically, scientifically, etc.) and economically (their manufacturing base) that worrying about giving them an advantage is silly.  They already have an insurmountable advantage.  At least if they are close enough to receive the signal.

Similarly, if you're worrying about the AI running on alien hardware, you should be worrying more about the aliens themselves.  And that's not a threat that gets larger once they run a human produced AI.  Plausibly running the AI can make them either more or less inclined to benevolence toward us, but I don't see an argument for the directionality of the effect.  I suppose there's some argument that since they haven't killed us yet we shouldn't perturb the system.

As for the benefits, I do think that preserving those parts of human knowledge, and specifically human culture, that are contained within AI models is a meaningful goal.  Much of science we can expect the aliens to already know themselves, but there are many details that are specific to the earth, such as the particular lifeforms and ecosystems that exist here, and to humans, such as the details of human culture and the specific examples of art that would be lost if we went extinct.  Much of this may not be appreciable by alien minds, but hopefully at least some of it would be.

My main issue with the post is just that there are no nearby technological alien civilizations.  If there were we would have seen them.  Sending signals to people who don't exist is a bit of a waste of time.

Its possible to posit "quiet aliens" that we wouldn't have seen because they don't engage in large scale engineering.  Even in that case we might as well wait until we can detect them by looking at their planets and detecting the relatively weak signals of a technological civilization there before trying to broadcast signals blindly.  Having discovered such a civilization I can imagine sending them an AI model, though in that case my objections to the above concerns become less forceful.  If for some reason these aliens have stayed confined to their own star and failed to do any engineering projects large enough to be noticed, its plausible that they aren't so overwhelmingly superior to us that sending them GPT4 or whatever wouldn't be an increase in risk.