In 2012, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME Magazine the question: “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe”? His response is captured in this 3-minute video.
If there is one thing you can take away from this short video, it is this: that we are made up of the same materials that make up our huge universe. All of life, and non-life that exist today are interconnected parts, made of the same “ingredients”. This, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson, makes us, human beings, relevant, a participant of the everything that goes on around us – from the death and birth of stars, the creation of new living systems, and the destruction and revival of nature.
Implications for AI
Neil de Grasse Tyson’s response provides us with an overview of the importance of our existence, in all the glory of our strengths, and our frailties. It took more than 11 billion years for the universe to create life on earth. It took another 2.5 billion years of transformation of the same materials from the Big Bang before human beings appeared in our planet.
Through the process of evolution, the universe created, recreated, and transformed the materials from the Big Bang, before it a life form, one that has the capacity for consciousness to be developed. And as Dr. Amit Goswami has said, it is only through our consciousness that we know that we know. Our consciousness has enabled us to look within, as well as look beyond ourselves. It has enabled us to understand nature, and nature’s creations. All this cannot simply be due to chance [see Paul Davies: The universe is not meaningless for a contextual discussion of this].
The creation of an artificial intelligence that can surpass the intelligence of the human mind is about to void the process that the universe and nature had to go through in order to give birth to the human form. Replacing our physical bodies with silicon will be equal to saying that we don’t trust the process of nature, and that the billions of years of evolution were useless after all.
When transhumanism and mind uploading becomes possible, then we will have effectively ended our connection with all of the universe’s creations. Then, we will have finally lost the meaning of our existence.