Artificial Intelligence and Mind Uploads In Space According To Ben Goertzel

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Triple Galaxy photo taken by the Hubble telescope

 AI In Space
Ben Goertzel's talk on "AGI and Space" in the Transhumanism and Space session at the Space Development Conference in Washington DC earlier this year, brought transhumanist themes into the subject of space exploration. The talk had four main themes: Artificial General Intelligence in Space, Whole Brain Emulations in Space, Spacefaring Virtual Realities and the Transcension Hypothesis.
Once upon a time, the thought of exploring space, landing robots on other planets and telecommunications satellites powering a world wide web were considered the realms of fantasy.  In today's science fiction many now feel the same toward artificial intelligence and mind uploading.  However impossible these technologies seem, they are theoretically possible and are being developed along exponentially growing trajectories.

Dr. Ben Goertzel's talk on "AGI and Space" in the Transhumanism and Space session at the Space Development Conference in Washington DC in 2012, brought together these themes into the subject of space exploration.

The talk had four main themes:
  • - Artificial General Intelligence in Space
  • - Whole Brain Emulations in Space
  • - Spacefaring Virtual Realities
According to Goertzel, who is the author of The Hidden Pattern, the future of space exploration will not be done by humans, rather AIs and transhuman robot avatars will journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.  This makes sense for Goertzel for a few reasons:  we are not designed to work well in the environment of space, the times involved in interstellar travel are so much greater than our present lifetimes and humans would probably just be too bored during the journeys.

Dr. Goertzel is well known for his work and promotion of artificial general intelligence (AGI).   He loosely defines general intelligence as:
“The ability of a system to achieve a variety of complex goals in a variety of complex environments using limited computational resources -- including goals and environments that were not anticipated at the time the system was created.”
Distinct from "narrow AI," in systems such as Deep Blue, a machine designed for the specific function of playing chess, or IBM's Watson who could run the board on Jeopardy!, AGI is required by space-faring robots in order to deal with the unknown problems that would arise on such long journeys, with huge communication delays.


Mind uploading or whole brain emulation is another way Goertzel foresees the future of space travel.  Combined with a knowledge of AI, uploaded substrate independent minds that are also self improving would be ideal space travellers.

Along with a brief exploration of virtual reality's usefulness for space travel, Goertzel takes time in his talk to describe John Smart's Transcension Hypothesis.  Addressing Fermi's Paradox, Smart basically suggests that after our technological adolescent and expansionist explorations, we turn from outer space to inner space... our journey undergoes S.T.E.M. compression, the compression of Space, Time, Energy and Matter- until non biological minds live inside virtual worlds at the nano and femto scale, further compressing complexity until we create black hole-like conditions and disappear from the visible universe altogether.





The slides used in this presentation can be viewed here.


SOURCE  Dr. Ben Goertzel

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