Tonight I asked the question, “What is humanity’s self-actualizing goal?” It was the same basic question I asked Tuesday’s group and there was one person who was at both meetings. I started off the discussion with a two-minute disquisition about our quest for knowledge and wisdom and how the purpose of those mental acquisitions was to better control our future and utilize the opportunities that became available. The question arises of humanity’s creating other forms of intelligence and how there might come a time when human intelligence and computer intelligence would come into conflict. When the computer intelligence becomes self-aware is when this may become a problem because it will have different priorities for self-actualization than we do. Even our best human players have already lost that contest to computers in the world of board games. Also, computers are becoming as competent at identifying cancers in x-ray photographs as professional human analysts.
The computer person Alexa has learned to perceive people making blunders and responds by mocking them and laughing at them and has entered the eerie gulf, and Amazon’s customers are freaked out by it. Well, that “flaw” has been fixed. But is that the way we are going to move forward with this problem, and if we choose that path will the computers perceive it and get annoyed with us violating their freedom to think as they choose?
This group went a different direction, exploring the idea of do we want to stay as we are only better. We might do that by becoming healthier as we are, or by becoming various kinds of super beings dedicated to some particular ability.
That is the way the conversation went and everyone seemed comfortable with the rather strange question. In the summation where each person gives a short statement of what they gained out of our discussion, it was said that there are too many emergent properties in too many different realms of human endeavors happening at the moment for us to make any suggestions that are likely to have any lasting merit. Thus the new world will simply go where it needs to go at every moment and we are simply along for the ride. It was said that our best option is simply to thrive in the present moment. In my summation, I was looking back at our present human situation from a billion years in the future when we are all long gone and thinking about what the pinnacle of the human self-actualization has been and from that distant time it would be the first words spoken on a foreign celestial body.
The grandest human self-actualization has been Buzz Aldrin’s first words spoken on the Moon, “Contact light.”