Cover image for Life 3.0 : being human in the age of artificial intelligence
Title:
Life 3.0 : being human in the age of artificial intelligence
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.

©2017
ISBN:
9781101946596
Physical Description:
xii, 364 pages : Illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
General Note:
"This is a Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf."
Contents:
Prologue: The tale of the Omega Team -- Welcome to the most important conversation of our time. A brief history of complexity ; The three stages of life ; Controversies ; Misconceptions ; The road ahead -- Matter turns intelligent. What is intelligence? ; What is memory? ; What is computation? ; What is learning? -- The near future: breakthroughs, bugs, laws, weapons and jobs. Breakthroughs ; Bugs vs. robust AI ; Laws ; Weapons ; Jobs and wages ; Human-level intelligence? -- Intelligence explosion?. Totalitarianism ; Prometheus takes over the world ; Slow takeoff and multiple scenarios ; Cyborgs and uploads ; What will actually happen? -- Aftermath: the next 10,000 years. Libertarian utopia ; Benevolent dictator ; Egalitarian utopia ; Gatekeeper ; Protector God ; Enslaved God ; Conquerors ; Descendants ; Zookeeper ; 1984 ; Reversion ; Self-destruction ; What do you want? -- Our cosmic endowment: the next billion years and beyond. Making the most of your resources ; Gaining resources through cosmic settlement ; Cosmic hierarchies ; Outlook -- Goals. Physics: the origin of goals ; Biology: the evolution of goals ; Psychology: the pursuit of and rebellion against goals ; Engineering: outsourcing goals ; Friendly AI: aligning goals ; Ethics: choosing goals ; Ultimate goals? -- Consciousness. Who ares? ; What is consciousness? ; What's the problem? ; Is consciousness beyond science? ; Experimental clues about consciousness ; Theories of consciousness ; Controversies of consciousness ; How might AI consciousness feel? ; Meaning -- Epilogue: The tale of the FLI Team.
Abstract:
"How will artificial intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial. How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues--from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos."--Jacket.
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Summary

Summary

New York Times Best Seller

How will Artificial Intelligence affect crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human? The rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology--and there's nobody better qualified or situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor who's helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle?

What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues--from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

MIT physicist Tegmark explores the pivotal role that artificial intelligence will play in the future of humankind. From chores around the house and what employment will look like to how death might be rethought and even what it will mean to live among the stars, Tegmark considers what self-replicating and self-improving intelligent beings will mean for humans from many angles. Shapiro has a gentle and nonchalant voice that moves effortlessly through technical descriptions of AI technology and its potential upheaval of society. His steady but deliberate narration helps listeners maintain focus and feel comfortable with a variety of topics that Tegmark touches upon, such as how AI works and what it could mean for law enforcement, employment, and political organization. Even as Tegmark veers toward the philosophical, Shapiro keeps listeners attuned. A Knopf hardcover. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

What's the most important issue of our time? In the view of MIT physicist Tegmark (Our Mathematical Universe, 2014), it's not nuclear weapons, climate change, terrorism, or pestilence and poverty. It's the possibility of superhuman artificial intelligence (AI). Tegmark's brainstorming survey opens with a sci-fi-like scenario in which a computer intelligence named Prometheus takes over the world. Tegmark then summarizes the opinions of researchers about whether such a thing is possible or desirable. Assuring readers that it could happen, Tegmark sketches 12 conceivable types of superhuman intelligence that might arise, bestowing such names as libertarian utopia, benevolent dictator, and conqueror, the latter an AI that destroys humanity. How to safely control an AI is thus critical to the future, and apparently, this is a common topic of discussion among scientists and tech-industry moguls, given Tegmark's accounts of conferences he has attended or organized. Stretching the superhuman AI idea to intergalactic proportions by envisioning its colonization of the universe, Tegmark enthusiastically lays out concepts of AI, to the delight or disturbance of readers.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2017 Booklist


Choice Review

Simply stated, Life 3.0 ponders two themes: where is digital technology taking us, and are we ready to go there? It is important to note that the book's prelude should not be overlooked, as it offers a significant introduction to the topic. In the early chapters, Tegmark (physics, MIT) presents his views on the "near future" of artificial intelligence (AI). These and other chapters present the interaction between intelligence, memory, computation, and learning; discuss the impact of AI; and offer a philosophical, long-term view of the topic (as well as Tegmark's view of "the next 10,000 years" and "the next billion years"). The closing chapters examine AI goals from the perspectives of physics, biology, psychology, and engineering, and delve into the topic of consciousness. Each chapter contains a superb summary called "The Bottom Line"--this is an excellent aspect of the book. In addition, the work provides a helpful "Notes" section, which presents the references to each chapter, and a well-constructed index, both of which will serve as advantageous tools for further research. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals. --John Beidler, University of Scranton


Kirkus Review

The founder of the Future of Life Institute explores one of the most intriguing scientific frontiers, artificial general intelligence, and how humans can grow along with it.Nowadays, computers read, learn, recognize faces, translate languages, and consult other computers. They don't yet think, but the contingent of researchers who believe that they will never be smarter than humans is steadily shrinking. In this expert but often wildly speculative rumination, Tegmark (Physics/MIT; Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, 2014, etc.) joins the fierce debate on what will happen when AGI reaches human level and beyond. He dismisses tabloid scenarios of rampaging robots but warns, "we might create societies that flourish like never beforeor a Kafkasque global surveillance state so powerful that it could never be toppled." The author defines intelligence as the ability to accomplish complex goals. This sounds trivial until he points out that both brains and computers are able to do this. Since computers are improving faster than brains, superhuman AGI will happen, and a beneficial outcome is not guaranteed. Thus, autonomous, self-driving cars will save lives. Autonomous battlefield drones will save soldiers' lives, but keeping them away from rogue nations, terrorists, and criminals will prove impossible. In the early chapters, Tegmark portrays near futures that range from Utopian to Orwellian. Later in the book, he delivers a vision of the far future: a universe filled with the products of superintelligence, with organic Homo sapiens a distant memory. Throughout, the author lays out his ideas in precisely detailed scenarios. Many read like science fiction; others, such as a fine chapter on the nature of consciousness, are simply good popular science. Prophesies have a dreadful record, but they are also endlessly fascinating. Readers may balk now and thenTegmark's solutions to inevitable mass unemployment are a stretchbut most will find the narrative irresistible. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Tegmark (physics, MIT; Our Mathematical Universe) is a cofounder (along with his wife and colleagues) of the nonprofit Future of Life Institute, which focuses on improving the future through technology, an idea that inspired the creation of this book. The narrative begins with a fictional tale of a team that creates an artificial intelligence (AI) called Prometheus, which has the ability to learn and adapt and possibly take over multiple industries. The story of Prometheus is brought up again in later chapters when human-level AI is discussed and leads into what the author deems the most important conversation of our time. According to the author, AI has real-world applications that are already being implemented such as self-driving cars, computer viruses, manufacturing robots, and even weaponry. These technologies are discussed along with the possible future of the next billion years. The technical and scientific reading material is divided by illustrations and graphs, and Tegmark provides bulleted key points at the end of every chapter. VERDICT A must-read for those entrenched in technology and future AI applications; however, this work is not for the casual reader.-Natalie -Browning, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond, VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

THE THREE STAGES OF LIFE The question of how to define life is notoriously controversial. Competing definitions abound, some of which include highly specific requirements such as being composed of cells, which might disqualify both future intelligent machines and extraterrestrial civilizations. Since we don't want to limit our thinking about the future of life to the species we've encountered so far, let's instead define life very broadly, simply as a process that can retain its complexity and replicate. What's replicated isn't matter (made of atoms) but information (made of bits) specifying how the atoms are arranged. When a bacterium makes a copy of its DNA, no new atoms are created, but a new set of atoms are arranged in the same pattern as the original, thereby copying the information. In other words, we can think of life as a self-replicating information processing system whose information (software) determines both its behavior and the blueprints for its hardware. Like our universe itself, life gradually grew more complex and interesting, and as I'll now explain, I find it helpful to classify life forms into three levels of sophistication: Life 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. It's still an open question how, when and where life first appeared in our universe, but there is strong evidence that, here on Earth, life first appeared about 4 billion years ago. Before long, our planet was teeming with a diverse panoply of life forms. The most successful ones, which soon outcompeted the rest, were able to react to their environment in some way. Specifically, they were what computer scientists call "intelligent agents": entities that collect information about their environment from sensors and then process this information to decide how to act back on their environment. This can include highly complex information-processing, such as when you use information from our eyes and ears to decide what to say in a conversation. But it can also involve hardware and software that's quite simple. For example, many bacteria have a sensor measuring the sugar concentration in the liquid around them and can swim using propeller-shaped structures called flagella. The hardware linking the sensor to the flagella might implement the following simple but useful algorithm: "If my sugar concentration sensor reports a lower value than a couple of seconds ago, then reverse the rotation of my flagella so that I change direction." Whereas you've learned how to speak and countless other skills, bacteria aren't great learners. Their DNA specifies not only the design of their hardware, such as sugar sensors and flagella, but also the design of their software. They never learn to swim toward sugar; instead, that algorithm was hard-coded into their DNA from the start. There was of course a learning process of sorts, but it didn't take place during the lifetime of that particular bacterium. Rather, it occurred during the preceding evolution of that species of bacteria, through a slow trial-and-error process spanning many generations, where natural selection favored those random DNA mutations that improved sugar consumption. Some of these mutations helped by improving the design of flagella and other hardware, while other mutations improved the bacterial information processing system that implements the sugar-finding algorithm and other software. Such bacteria are an example of what I'll call "Life 1.0": life where both the hardware and software is evolved rather than designed. You and I, on the other hand, are examples of "Life 2.0": life whose hardware is evolved, but whose software is largely designed. By your software, I mean all the algorithms and knowledge that you use to process the information from your senses and decide what to do--everything from the ability to recognize your friends when you see them to your ability to walk, read, write, calculate, sing and tell jokes. You weren't able to perform any of those tasks when you were born, so all this software got programmed into your brain later through the process we call learning. Whereas your childhood curriculum is largely designed by your family and teachers, who decide what you should learn, you gradually gain more power to design your own software. Perhaps your school allows you to select a foreign language: do you want to install a software module into your brain that enables you to speak French, or one that enables you to speak Spanish? Do you want to learn to play tennis or chess? Do you want to study to become a chef, a lawyer or a pharmacist? Do you want to learn more about artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of life by reading a book about it? This ability of Life 2.0 to design its software enables it to be much smarter than Life 1.0. High intelligence requires both lots of hardware (made of atoms) and lots of software (made of bits). The fact that most of our human hardware is added after birth (through growth) is useful, since our ultimate size isn't limited by the width of our mom's birth canal. In the same way, the fact that most of our human software is added after birth (through learning) is useful, since our ultimate intelligence isn't limited by how much information can be transmitted to us at conception via our DNA, 1.0-style. I weigh about 25 times more than when I was born, and the synaptic connections that link the neurons in my brain can store about a hundred thousand times more information than the DNA that I was born with. Your synapses store all your knowledge and skills as roughly 100 terabytes worth of information, while your DNA stores merely about a gigabyte, barely enough to store a single movie download. So it's physically impossible for an infant to be born speaking perfect English and ready to ace her college entrance exams: there's no way the information could have been pre-loaded into her brain, since the main information module she got from her parents (her DNA) lacks sufficient information-storage capacity. The ability to design its software enables Life 2.0 to be not only smarter than Life 1.0, but also more flexible. If the environment changes, 1.0 can only adapt by slowly evolving over many generations. 2.0, on the other hand, can adapt almost instantly, via a software update. For example, bacteria frequently encountering antibiotics may evolve drug resistance over many generations, but an individual bacterium won't change its behavior at all, while a girl learning that she has a peanut allergy will immediately change her behavior to start avoiding peanuts. This flexibility gives Life 2.0 an even greater edge at the population level: even though the information in our human DNA hasn't evolved dramatically over the past 50,000 years, the information collectively stored in our brains, books and computers has exploded. By installing a software module enabling us to communicate through sophisticated spoken language, we ensured that the most useful information stored in one person's brain could get copied to other brains, potentially surviving even after the original brain died. By installing a software module enabling us to read and write, we became able to store and share vastly more information than people could memorize. By developing brain-software capable of producing technology (i.e., by studying science and engineering), we enabled much of the world's information to be accessed by many of the world's humans with just a few clicks. This flexibility has enabled Life 2.0 to dominate Earth. Freed from its genetic shackles, humanity's combined knowledge has kept growing at an accelerating pace as each breakthrough enabled the next: language, writing, the printing press, modern science, computers, the internet, etc. This ever-faster cultural evolution of our shared software has emerged as the dominant force shaping our human future, rendering our glacially slow biological evolution almost irrelevant. Yet despite the most powerful technologies we have today, all life forms we know of remain fundamentally limited by their biological hardware. None can live for a million years, memorize all of Wikipedia, understand all known science or enjoy spaceflight without a spacecraft. None can transform our largely lifeless cosmos into a diverse biosphere that will flourish for billions or trillions of years, enabling our universe to finally fulfill its potential and wake up fully. All this requires life to undergo a final upgrade, to Life 3.0, which can design not only its software but also its hardware. In other words, Life 3.0 is the master of its own destiny, finally fully free from its evolutionary shackles. The boundaries between the three stages of life are slightly fuzzy. If bacteria are Life 1.0 and humans are Life 2.0, then you might classify mice as 1.1: they can learn many things, but not enough to develop language or invent the internet. Moreover, because they lack language, what they learn gets largely lost when they die, not passed on to the next generation. Similarly, you might argue that today's humans should count as Life 2.1: we can perform minor hardware upgrades such as implanting artificial teeth, knees and pacemakers, but nothing as dramatic as getting ten times taller or getting a thousand times bigger brains. In summary, we can divide the development of life into three stages, distinguished by life's ability to design itself: ·      Life 1.0 (biological stage): evolves its hardware and software ·      Life 2.0 (cultural stage): evolves its hardware, designs much of its software ·      Life 3.0 (technological stage): designs its hardware and software After 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution, development has accelerated dramatically here on Earth: Life 1.0 arrived about 4 billion years ago, Life 2.0 (we humans) arrived about a hundred millennia ago, and many artificial AI researchers think that Life 3.0 may arrive during the coming century, perhaps even during our lifetime, spawned by progress in AI. What will happen, and what will this mean for us? That's the topic of this book. Excerpted from Life 3. 0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prelude: The Tale of the Omega Teamp. 3
1 Welcome to the Most Important Conversation of Our Timep. 22
A Brief History of Complexity
The Three Stages of Life
Controversies
Misconceptions
The Road Ahead
2 Matter Turns Intelligentp. 49
What Is Intelligence?
What Is Memory?
What Is Computation?
What Is Learning?
3 The Near Future: Breakthroughs, Bugs, Laws, Weapons and Jobsp. 82
Breakthroughs
Bugs vs. Robust AI
Laws
Weapons
Jobs and Wages
Human-Level Intelligence?
4 Intelligence Explosion?p. 134
Totalitarianism
Prometheus Takes Over the World
Slow Takeoff and Multipolar Scenarios
Cyborgs and Uploads
What Will Actually Happen?
5 Aftermath: The Next 10,000 Yearsp. 161
Libertarian Utopia
Benevolent Dictator
Egalitarian Utopia
Gatekeeper
Protector God
Enslaved God
Conquerors
Descendants
Zookeeper
1984
Reversion
Self-Destruction
What Do You Want?
6 Our Cosmic Endowment: The Next Billion Years and Beyondp. 203
Making the Most of Your Resources
Gaining Resources Through Cosmic Settlement
Cosmic Hierarchies
Outlook
7 Goalsp. 249
Physics: The Origin of Goals
Biology: The Evolution of Goals
Psychology: The Pursuit of and Rebellion Against Goals
Engineering: Outsourcing Goals
Friendly AI: Aligning Goals
Ethics: Choosing Goals
Ultimate Goals?
8 Consciousnessp. 281
Who Cares?
What Is Consciousness?
What's the Problem?
Is Consciousness Beyond Science?
Experimental Clues About Consciousness
Theories of Consciousness
Controversies of Consciousness
How Might AI Consciousness Feel?
Meaning
Epilogue: The Talc of the FLI Teamp. 316
Notesp. 337
Indexp. 349