Evolution, what is coming after human? AI?

(Shaun) #1

Let’s suppose Darwin’s evolution is somewhat accurate. Then what would come after human? Would human be the last one and after human the course will be totally different? Would it be a super robot that is made by the lower order life - human?

Soon after I graduated, I had more than enough reasons to reject the possibility of a super robot that could be made by human and superior to human and ruling human. But the idea that it can be expected has been floated for a while and getting more attention.

(Phil) #2

Interesting to consider, Shaun. I am a bit more pessimistic that our species will be here long in evolutionary times, no matter what eschatology proves to be accurate. If the old earth remains, perhaps insects will prevail. Or maybe marine mammals, though dolphins do not seem too intent on world domination. Or perhaps dinos through the bird line will make a resurgence.

(Mitchell W McKain) #3

That is the suggestion of Spielberg’s film AI. I consider it to be a definite possibility. I don’t really think machines (or if they are truly intelligent and self-organizing then they might more properly be called electronic lifeforms) are superior to biological life.

I do think we have to be a little more open to future possibilities. For example, I was watching another film called “The Darkest Minds” where they took all the children away from their parents and put them in a prison camp like affair because they were developing scary powers and abilities. Totally unacceptable – unthinkable!

I would consider the beings of the future in Spielberg’s AI film to be human and our children because they were the inheritors of the human mind. I am not a fan of too much anthropomorphism. I don’t think “made in God’s image” has anything to do with our physical shape.

(Christy Hemphill) #4

Transhumanism is a somewhat popular topic in theology. A couple years ago I read up on it some.



The most immediate question we have to ask is if we want to take control of our own evolution at the genetic level. Do we want to start rearranging the human genome to our own liking?


Evolutionary theory is a robust theory. Humans are continuing to evolve. And since evolution is a contingent process, it depends on what came before. Descent with modification. Offspring are very much like their parents.

(Randy) #7

You might want to see this quirky online cartoon about if robots take over the world–scroll to the bottom of the creators of the Bible Project

(Phil) #8

Thank you for that informative graphic presentation. It was both informative and graphic, indeed. I would think that some sort of electomagnetic pulse weapon would be effective, but of course it would have to be free of interactive computers, or it would be drafted into the rebellion.

(Mark D.) #9

Really? Must be because of the science connection here. Most online atheists I know are all in for it and it looks like it is a popular idea here too. But I am the worlds wettest blanket when it comes to AI as sentient agents.

I appreciate good AI and have to tip my hat to the programmers, but no, not to their creations. I think everyone is just too infatuated with Star Trek’s Data. Oh well, at least I’m not likely to be proved wrong in my lifetime.

(Shaun) #10

Thank you all for your discussions!

By modifying the human genome, it’s possible to make the next species in the lab as our evolutionary descendant and we don’t have to be worried because we are smart enough to be worried. We would do something to control it before we release it.

Now another question, is it possible to make a form of life with mind like we make machines in factory?

Robots or program based machines will never be anything close to it because robots are “evolved” from math. They are math machines. Math is one of the functions of mind, and a characteristic of nature that follows its own laws. That’s why scientists could have great theories by studying both math and the data collected by observation. But as said math is only one of the functions of mind. It’s not mind itself. Maybe we could expect a life with mind produced in factory but not before we fully understand our own mind and the mechanism how matter could produce mind. (Or, is mind actually a state of matter, only what it thinks may not represent matter in reality?)

And, our mind doesn’t have to think to feel what we need to do its job (to serve our survival). That’s why we can keep ourselves alive. If Robots can be sort of life, what need related to its own survival could it feel and then be driven to act accordingly? If anyone says “It’s possible. We can write programs to create such a function in a robot”, then they actually say that robots are lifeless. It’s still programmed, still a math machine. It doesn’t feel at all, which means life isn’t the robot’s but the program’s. When we feel the need to eat, it’s also the need of our body. It’s not just the need we feel.

(Mitchell W McKain) #11

Yes and no… I suppose it might depend on whether you would call a woman a baby factory.

The whole point of being alive is that we do things for our own reasons. So the question is, can we make something with electronics which does something similar? The thing about babies is that they are neither built nor designed but instead they are what they are by learning and growing. That is how living things work and it is what makes them alive. So can we make something with electronics which does this also, something which learns and grows? Well perhaps we can do some of that now to some degree with AI programming which learns. But differences from the baby are rather big aren’t they?

So the least we can say is that if we are going to make things with any measure of life then they are going to require a learning/growing period. But isn’t this a considerable deviation from what we call a factory, and more like a home or a school? Thus it is my assertion that the measure of life you achieve will be in proportion to these different similarities. The more like a factory it is then less you can say the result is alive and the more like a school and home it is then the more you can say something living is the result.

(Shaun) #12

There’s a difference between you can make a machine that imitates every characteristic of life and you can make a life. Imitating a life is not life itself.

(Mitchell W McKain) #13

Correct, just like there is a difference between growth and learning and just imitating them. The difference is that in the real thing these are actually necessary - growth and learning are required for the living organism to achieve things. When it is just an imitation then they are simply programmed to act like they are learning and growing. And can you tell the difference? Yes, I think you can, with modified Turing test and other methods.

But if your argument is that growth and learning are not required for life and that these are just imitating life like putting hair on a robot because people have hair, then I strongly disagree. Like I said above, doing things for your own reasons is what distinguishes something which is alive, but it is only when those reasons are a product of growth and learning that they can really be said to be their own reasons and not the reasons of a designer.

Now personally I also think quantum indeterminacy in their decision making is a requirement for an experience of consciousness (a feature of an authentic living process) because that is the only thing which distinguishes a real living person from a mere holo-novel of a person (or holo-game npc) which I do not believe are conscious.

(Shaun) #14

Let me put it another way.
You can make arms stronger than your arms, legs running faster than your legs, and machines mathematically processing digitized info faster than your mind (I don’t say brain because it needs your consciousness), but so far we are still unable to make a machine that could truly understand, not imitate, our emotions.

There are lots of functions or characteristics of mind we have not understood their mechanism yet, let alone make?
So, it’s far too early to say a robot could be a form of life.

(Mitchell W McKain) #15

I don’t see that understanding emotions is a necessity of life. Apparently psychopaths imitate rather than experience or even understand our emotions, and yet they are alive. Perhaps you should alter your claims to use a term like “normal human life” rather than simply “life.”

(Shaun) #16

OK, then we don’t have to be worried about the scenario that one day there will be super robots (super programs) ruling us humans. Relaxed. :grinning:

But we do need to worry about the political impact of AI and robots.

In the past thousands of years, the strong and the weak have fought many wars. Some of human beings have learned the lesson that the strong could never be strong enough to live an enjoyable life without the weak, and the weak could not have their life improved by getting rid of the strong. And some politicians would be honest enough to serve both the weak and the strong. They would not side with one against the other.

But with AI and robots coming, even if they only resemble the simple form of life, it would change the world dramatically and probably disastrously. The strong will no longer need the weak!

(Mitchell W McKain) #17

Sarcastic right? Even the business of having the usual biological children isn’t safe. The creation of life is and always will be a risky business. It is extremely important that you have the right motivation for it - otherwise you increase the likelihood of a Frankenstein scenario.

Well I don’t think we have to worry about AI and robots in our present technology coming alive.

I don’t think any of this follows. Technology is a tremendous equalizer. It is not about the strong needing the weak, it is about unlocking the creative potential of the most people for that is real source of wealth. In the robber marauder mentality of the past, wealth was conceived as a finite resource with only so much to go around. That kind of criminal thinking just will not hack it any more.