Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence is up there with George Dyson’s Darwin Among the Machines in its mind-blowing it isn’t sci-fi but could be topic.
It is a philosophical/strategic assessment of the prospects of Superintelligence (i.e. the development of Artificial Intelligences which are to us humans what we are to flies or worms), and why it is important that we are very careful with the development of such things. The reason for paying attention to such matters that the development of Superintelligence might well be the last problem we ever have – because it ends us, or because it ends all our problems.
We will talk in future posts about the awesome/awful scenarios where things go wrong – poetically/starkly named situations like Perverse Instantiation, Infrastructure Profusion or Mind Crime.
However, today we wanted to talk about the payoff if things go right and we create Superintelligences that work collaboratively with our species to make the most of our Cosmic Endowment.
What does this mean?
If we are able to create general artificial superintelligences, this means that in principle we (or they) should also be able to simulate and/or upload human intelligences in a computational environment implemented in (Von Neumann) probes that can be fired into deep space, to spread our species across the cosmos reducing the risks of extinction due to catastrophic events in our planet/system/segment of the galaxy.
These probes would contain inside them genetic information and codes to reproduce flesh-and-blood-and-probably-silicon humans upon arriving to their destination. The universe is made our oyster and we become eternal. That is our cosmic endowment.
This being 20jazzfunkgreats, we consider the music that such humans-but-not-as-you-know them would create and enjoy.
Humans with consciences, hearts, eyes, hands and feet reared in virtual environments surging through the blackness of space and its magnificent wonders. Physically instantiated in terraformable planets or modified to thrive in non-terraformable ones, looking up at stellar configurations which are new, but also familiar, for they are their family’s homes. Achieving feats of architectural engineering, Dyson spheres and the like, perhaps even developing new languages to communicate with whichever lifeforms and conscious phenomena they stumble upon.
We think that their music would be familiar, echoing primate sensibilities evolved over millions of years, since we first gazed – and knew ourselves gazing – at dawn from the primeval savannah, but also alien, shaped by the epic scales that spawned it, by points of view where Terra is but an tiny spot in the cosmic tapestry, physically infinitesimal, but emotionally massive.
We think it would sound a bit like Montañamuerte’s The Space Hates Cowards. Music that comes from the space, and in that reminds us of things as great as Craig Leon’s songs of the Nommos, or the uncanny resonances in Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Under the Skin, but also comes from us, and is pregnant with a great love preserved across impossible expanses of space and time, for Terra, our mother.
Montañamuerte – Arrat
The Space Hates Cowards is a limited edition (50 units) cassette published by Discos Porno and La Mano de Matar. You should get it here. You can find more info about Cosmonaut C, the great human behind it, here.
(Artwork by John Harris for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Basic Programming Manual (!!) as found in this Tumblr)