I notice that I sometimes lose track of the end goal. I get stuck in day to day hassle of reaching the next milestones of the projects that are supposed to be a small step towards those macro-level milestones that are themselves small steps towards our glorious transhumanist future.
But instead of waking up every day with this future in mind, I get lost in "lower" incentives like the best way to phrase things and optimizing my sleep schedule and picking the snack that has .1 less salt content in it per 100 grams.
So I decided to write something to recount that glorious future. It'll help me to remember becoming one of the stars and forget about finding the pizza place with the highest star rating.
Look inside. Meditate. Try to become aware of your consciousness and it's features. One of those features, perhaps most basic and most notable, is the quality of your subjective experience. Let's say it's the output of your utility function. Your "utility signal".
Now there are (at least) two ways you can appreciate this. There is the wireheader, who takes the signal at face value and doesn't give two shits about how it correlates with the world, and there is the utility realist, who takes the signal to be merely representative of the value in the world.
Let's put a number on that value, as it is right now. Let's say V = 100. Let that number be the value that you perceive in the world right now.
What does it mean if V = 150? Maybe you've had a good day's work, maybe the weather is nice.
V = 200. You just found a great new song. You've noticed that you're losing weight or gaining muscle. A friend just texted a funny meme.
V = 300. A real good meditation session, and now you're enjoying the company of your new love
What is the highest you've ever had? Sitting in the sun with your dear friends, sipping on a cocktail, summer time, no obligations, your favourite sports team has just won the world cup, you're promoted to your dream job, and your crush just texted you back saying they'd love to date? Something like that, or something entirely different but equally good, or better. What shall we call it, V = 500?
Now imagine V = 10^50.
There is nothing in the laws of physics that suggests this isn't possible, and there is something in the growth trajectory of technology that suggests this is likely. Of course we all know the grand ideas. Transhumanism. Indefinite lifespans. Intelligence explosion. Singularity.
By it's very definition we can't fully comprehend what a successful singularity event is like. It is beyond our imagination. But we can imagine the best possible future, and quite reasonably take it as a lower bound.
The goal is a world where:
- You can directly edit the makeup of your immediate surroundings by a mere thought. You just will it into existence and 2 seconds later it's there.
- Everything is extremely beautiful, polished, has character/significance, and life feels like a fantasy game.
- Everyone has perfect personhood, in the sense that their every experience has various spectators that lovingly relate to it's significance, and their every thought and need is fully taken into account.
- There will never be an end to exploration as the world is infinite and infinitely diverse.
- No one ever dies, there is a hard cap on suffering, and conditions are so that everyone is (wants to be) a perfect utilitarian by heart.
- As a result, there is complete trust from everyone in everyone, in all respects, ever.
- Complete morphological freedom.
- Any type of bodily pleasure is freely attainable to any extent.
...and so on.
But how do we get there?
All of these things are outcomes of intelligence. It couldn't be otherwise, that's how we define it. To get anywhere close to this, we will have to augment our intelligence strongly. The project to align AI is merely a subgoal of that. It's learning how to correctly dispatch agents that optimize for our needs alongside us. That's just one way to do it (and an extremely risky way at that).
Another way is to add technology to our brains. Replace neural networks with sillicon chips or plug in a neural lace with a signal to a laptop.
Another way is to figure out better solutions to group rationality, figuring out how to set up institutions in which we can collaborate and function much more effectively. Temples and shit.
And then there is our deadlines. Being humans, we only have a century to live if we're lucky. If it wasn't for time, we would be so much more likely to reach our goal. We could take it as slow as we needed to, preventing mistakes. This is why some of us are taking pills every morning. This is why we're doing anti-aging research. A century is the longest time you'll ever experience, but making such an extreme amount of progress in so little time isn't easy, or likely.
So yeah. Next time if you find yourself agonizing over the correct morning routine, or whether that friendly nod to a passer-by on the street was awkward, wake up.
We have a mission.