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Is Our Universe Ruled by Artificial Intelligence?

Article Updated: 26 Dec , 2015

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Science fiction is filled with unusual alien species. But apart from the occasional robot, biological life is running the show. But NASA scientist, Dr. Steven Dick, sees a future Universe that has evolved past biology. Where every intelligence is artificial. Consider the likelihood of a postbiological Universe.

Does intelligent life exist beyond Earth? It’s easily the most profound and challenging question that humans have ever asked. The consequences of discovering other intelligent life would ripple through every aspect of human society, and actually meeting another species would be even more challenging.

But are there abundant intelligent life forms out there? Or is the biological life on Earth just a stage? Just a single step towards our inevitable technological existence.

In a recent paper published in the journal Acta Astronautica, entitled The Post Biological Universe, Dr. Steven Dick notes how every search for extraterrestrial intelligence assumes that life will be biological. And yet, here on Earth we can see that intelligent life develops more and more sophisticated tools over time. And these tools will eventually lead to artificial intelligence that outstrips its makers.

If extraterrestrials are out there, they likely live in much older civilizations than ours, and have already transitioned through biology and into technology. The majority of worlds out there are already postbiological.

According to many scientists, it’s easy for civilizations to be older than us. The first metal rich stars with terrestrial planets could have formed a billion years after the Big Bang – 12.5 billion years ago. If intelligent life took another 5 billion years to evolve, just like it did here on Earth, that still means life could have been around for 7.5 billion years.

Plenty of time to evolve into intelligent life, and then transition into artificial intelligence.

Cultural advancement also seems to be an inevitable consequence of evolution. Not just humans, but many animals, such as chimpanzees have demonstrated that technology can be developed, improved and passed down from generation to generation.

Here’s a quote from the paper,

Hans Moravec, a highly respected AI pioneer and robotic expert at Carnegie-Mellon, predicted “What awaits is not oblivion but rather a future which, from our present vantage point, is best described by the words ‘postbiological’ or even ‘supernatural’. It is a world in which the human race has been swept away by the tide of cultural change, usurped by its own artificial progeny.” Our machines, Moravec predicted, will eventually transcend us, and be “released from the plodding pace of biological evolution.”

How could this change the search for extraterrestrials? Well, when you’re looking for robots, you can look anywhere. Dr. Dick suggests that the SETI community consider the environmental tolerance of robots and the availability of resources beyond planets. AI will be looking for places that provide the most raw material and energy – think quasars, not habitable planets.

Postbiologicals probably have no interesting talking with us regular biologicals. But it might be possible for us to intercept their communications if we know what we’re looking for.

He also thinks that postbiologicals might be more interested in receiving our communications, that talking to us. We should consider very special messages that we might want to send out to the AI civilizations.

Of course, the difference between our minds and theirs might be so great that communication is impossible.

But it doesn’t hurt to try.

Original Source: Acta Astronautica


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LLDIAZ
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LLDIAZ
March 27, 2008 2:45 PM

the author of this article discredits mankind unjustly, we have for many a millenia pushed our minds to the limits of our capacity and we will continue to do so in the far future. A machine on the other hand can only process numbers no matter how advanced it is. We will never be erased it is an impossibility that our inventions will somehow replace our souls.

Miky
Guest
Miky
March 27, 2008 3:46 PM

Sometimes I wish I could see 200 or 300 years lifestyle from now…I wanna enjoy their science!
But I return to reality and enjoy life like it is, because none will enjoy this moment anymore ^_^

Dan Boyce
Guest
Dan Boyce
March 27, 2008 12:25 PM

Why does it seem that every article that talks about the possibility of extraterrestrial life say that alien civilizations must be older than ours? Yes, it is certainly possible for older civilizations than ours to exist, but that doesn’t mean that they have to!

Laszlo
Guest
Laszlo
March 27, 2008 12:48 PM

Who’s going to construct & program these metal mental mindsprings? There may yet be some use for us earthlings, perhaps as a subordinate maintenance role.
But beware, “Stone Balls do not intelligence make, nor metal minds a Sage.”

morepower
Member
morepower
March 27, 2008 1:23 PM

There’s a novel out there that illustrates this concept nicely. It’s called “Code of the Lifemaker”, by James Hogan.

Ronni
Guest
Ronni
March 27, 2008 2:03 PM
More or less every time I read something about the future of our species, or the idea of advanced alien species, it is allmost a given right that er eill see a fusion of robtics and humans (or aliens), or just pure robots with AI. It amazes me how often people forget another posibility for advanced species. Instead of creating robotics with an AI and letting them evolve passed their creators, the advanced AI (or perhaps even the species themselves) could raise biotechology to a level where all the “non-biological” traits mentioned above (plus many others) could be ensured by advanced biotechnology, and thus “added” to the orginal spicies. That way, an advanced species would not make itself… Read more »
Kevin
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Kevin
March 27, 2008 3:09 PM

A machine can only process numbers no matter how advanced it is??? Would you like to prove that? In fact, you might also want to define a soul and show us some proof that it exists.

I am sure that most people back in the 1950’s would say the computer of today could never have been created. I wouldn’t presume to know what will be possible in 20 years, more less thousands or millions of years from now.

sofista
Member
March 27, 2008 3:42 PM

La ciencia ficción está colmada de especies alienígenas inusuales. Pero aparte de alguno que otro robot, la vida biológica acapara la escena. […] Fuente: Fraser Cain para Universe Today.

Molecular
Member
Molecular
March 27, 2008 4:00 PM
It only seems reasonable, to a certain extent, that any intelligent life-form with the technological means, would use some form of AI as an extension of the things that they could not do physically, for the time being. Just as we currently have probes, satellites, and telescopes roaming around in space to carry out our deeds, in the not too distant future, will we not have more advanced forms of these same kinds of devices, carrying out missions further out beyond our solar system? I think so. The advances in technology will soon step beyond the common use of silicon as a means of processing complex ideas, and begin to make use of other concepts still in developmental… Read more »
MrBill
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MrBill
March 27, 2008 11:16 PM

Resistance is futile.

john
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john
March 27, 2008 5:35 PM

We are always at war, we can’t get on with each other … we ignore the problemes(poverty, hunger, disease) of third world country’s, we destroy our own planet more and more…
I think that for an alien civilisation to meet us would be the worst thing that could ever happen to them.

As for robots replacing humans…. right what’s the point of evolving millions of years to be replaced by artificial machines ?

Underlings
Member
March 28, 2008 12:47 AM
I think it is pretty much self-evident that machines will replace us, or that we will become our machines. With advanced molecular manufacturing (probably sometime between 2025 and 2035), we will be able to construct life with FAR stronger, flexible, resilient, tougher, and overall more capable materials than the varied but weak protein which biology uses to construct life. At the rate robotics technologies are improving, we will likely see robots indistinguishable from humans (apart from greater strength, speed, sensitivity, etc.) within the next two decades. Evolution has pretty well maxed out biological capabilities (more or less), and I don’t think biotech will be able to vastly improve on what nature has accomplished–certainly not to the extent machines… Read more »
Rog.
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Rog.
March 27, 2008 5:59 PM

I belief this is the next logical step in human evolution. If we want to explore all the exotic places in the universe we must to go beyond the confines of this fragile shell we call our bodies. Only then can we take our place among the great explorers of the cosmos.

Silver Thread
Member
Silver Thread
March 27, 2008 6:05 PM
They cite the “Plodding” pace of Evolution as being the downfall of a Biological Life Form. This fails to account for the ability a Biological Life Form would have to decode it’s basic makeup and modify it’s own biology sufficiently to adapt to exceptionally harsh environments. If a civilization has mastery of technology to the extent described by the author, then that species should also have attained a mastery of it’s own biological form and could there by produce equally supernatural biology in it’s own image. Besides this point, there are variables to our own biology which we haven’t begun to grasp. We share Genetic material with a large portion of the creatures on the earth, it’s not… Read more »
H-town Mack
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H-town Mack
March 27, 2008 7:18 PM

Thank you Molecular. I need that kind of an answer instead of the crazy Terminator versions, cause I’m high as hell right now. I can’t take it about being some crazy stuff like that. I need your kumbaya version, which works for me. Seriously, I just hope that some race out there isn’t like a “shark” type race or something. I just don’t wish us to come into contact with a race where their version of Al Qaeda took the planet over and is travelling space now.

William Patrick Haines
Guest
William Patrick Haines
March 28, 2008 3:22 AM
I think concept this was introduced in various Sci Fi movies even the Three Stooges features this idea in one of their films where they ventured to venus . It is true computers since the tube days could do astounding computations logic functions that could converted into boolean algerbra but creativity intution was involved by an ever changing enviroment not a program that involed limited number of variables however vast it might be . It is true life could elolve else where since the laws of science do have commonality . But life took billions of years to elvolve . I pretty much doubt that any civilazation would spend centuries to devolp something that took billions of years… Read more »
RL
Member
RL
March 27, 2008 8:23 PM

Maybe its just coincidence, but when I opened the link to read this story, the first thing I saw was an advertisement for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica season. Coincidence? Or Cylon conspiracy?

sail4evr
Member
sail4evr
March 27, 2008 11:01 PM

In all these discussions of AI and its ongoing growth and superiorority there has been no mention of a soul. AI will never have a soul. They will never have faith. It will all be calculated probabilities, but not faith/

Luke
Guest
Luke
March 28, 2008 7:57 AM

Dear Y’all

“Moment by moment (what is a moment, at it’s shortest (the “frame rate” of “Reality”)) in true autopoetic fashion, life unfolds in an evolving transcendence through the surface tensions of an indeterminable infinity of probable outcomes with wilful intent to improvise a counterpoint in harmony with the frequency of it’s current position on the trajectory through 4space’s hyperspectral manifold of topologically geometrodynamic orthogonal rotations, Or not” He said in a most loquacious death rattle.
To what degree “is” reality “by consent”? And how may I “animate” IT?

Yours sincerey

Lucian Coulson (AKA Luke (to my “buddies”) and WetDog (In game (Red Orchesrtra) player name)

Luke
Guest
Luke
March 28, 2008 8:01 AM

Sorry, that should have read, “Yours Faithfurry”.

Later.

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