Life 3.0

Author Max Tegmark
Read June 23, 2020
Pages 280
Categories Philosophy Ai Society
Links LibraryThing

In his great book Tegmark explores the foundations, impact, meaning and possibilities for AI and ML in human history and beyond.

Importance of AI

Sketching out the history of our Universe, Tegmark then argues that it all -however physically interesting- is quite dull until a complex pattern able to maintain and replicate itself ie. life appeared. In chapter 1 Tegmark then talks about three stages of life:

Life 1.0 relies on its DNA for information exchange, whereas Life 2.0 in our cas uses synapses. ~100Tb in brain (10Gb electrically, 100Tb chemicallybiologically), ~1.6Gb in DNA. This classification is obviously a fuzzy one.

Next Tegmark goes on to talk about when AGI might appear and some common misconceptions regarding the real dangers and problems.

What is intelligence?




Cosmic endowment

Energy, matter and computation

Mehod Efficiency
Digesting candy bar $10^{-7}\%$
Burning coal $3\cdot10^{-7}\%$
Burning gasoline $3\cdot10^{-7} \ %$
Fission of U-235 $0.08 \%$
Using Dyson sphere until Sun dies $0.08 \%$
Fusion of H → He $0.7 \%$
Spinning black hole engine $29 \%$
Dyson sphere around quasar $42 \%$
Sphalerizer $50 \%$
Black hole evaporation $90 \% ?$


End of Universe



Human consciousness

Integrated Information Theory $\Phi$ (IIT)

Large AI

Free will


  1. When a bacterium makes a copy of its DNA, no new atoms are created, buta new set of atoms are arranged in the same pattern as the original, therby copying the information. In other words, we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system whose information (software) determines both its behavious and the blueprints for its hardware.

    p. 24

  2. Just as a blue whale is rearranged krill and krill is rearranged plankton, our entire Solar System is simply hydrogen rearranged during 13.8 billion years of cosmic evolution

    p. 218

  3. … now we’re talking about the entire future of life in our Universe, limited by nothing but the (still not fully known) laws of physics, so defining a goal is daunting! Quantum effects asiem a truly well-defined goal would specify how all particles in our Universe should be arranged at the end of time.

    p. 277

  4. As we’ve explored above, the only reason that we humans have any preferences at all may be that we’re the solution to an evolutionary optimisation problem. Thus all normative words in our human language, such as “delicious”, “fragrant”, “beautiful”, “comfortable”, “interesting”, “sexy”, “meanintful”, “happy” and “good”, trace their origin to this evolutionary optimisatoin: there is therefore no guarantee that a superintelligent AI would find them rigrously definable.

    p. 278

  5. Some people tell me that they find causality degrading, that it makes their though processes meaningless and that it renders them “mere” machines. I find such negativity absurd and unwarranted. First of all, there’s nothing mere about human brains which as far as I’m concerned, are the most amazingly sophisticated physical objects in our known Universe. Second, what alternative would they prefer? Don’t they want it to be their own thought processes (the computations performed by their brains) that make their decisions? Their subjective experiece of free will is simply how their computations feel from inside: they don’t know the outcome of a computation until they’ve finished it. That’s what it means to say that the computation is the decision.

    On causality and free-will p. 313

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