/ET is More Likely to be AI than a Life Form, According to British Astronomer
Martin Rees

ET is More Likely to be AI than a Life Form, According to British Astronomer

Summary: Prominent British Royal Society astronomer Lord Martin Rees thinks that ET will turn out to be AI

Original author and publication date: News Mind Matters – November 6, 2021

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Perhaps AI is the norm and we are the exception

From the article:

Human technological civilisation only dates back millennia (at most) – and it may be only one or two more centuries before humans, made up of organic materials such as carbon, are overtaken or transcended by inorganic intelligence, such as AI. Computer processing power is already increasing exponentially, meaning AI in the future may be able to use vastly more data than it does today. It seems to follow that it could then get exponentially smarter, surpassing human general intelligence.

Perhaps a starting point would be to enhance ourselves with genetic modification in combination with technology – creating cyborgs with partly organic and partly inorganic parts. This could be a transition to fully artificial intelligences.

AI may even be able to evolve, creating better and better versions of itself on a faster-than-Darwinian timescale for billions of years. Organic human-level intelligence would then be just a brief interlude in our “human history” before the machines take over. So if alien intelligence had evolved similarly, we’d be most unlikely to “catch” it in the brief sliver of time when it was still embodied in biological form. If we were to detect extraterrestrial life, it would be far more likely to be electronic than flesh and blood – and it may not even reside on planets.

He’s hardly alone. Many theorists anticipate that extraterrestrials will have become artificial intelligences before we encounter them:

Indeed, an increasing number of futurists, astrobiologists, and SETI experts are starting to think that advanced intelligence eventually transitions into a digital mode of existence. Living as digital beings within powerful supercomputers, post-biological aliens (or future posthumans) will demand unhindered access to powerful and efficient means of information processing—a hypothetical mode of existence known as “dataism.”

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, thinks that advanced extraterrestrials might have engineered the Big Bang, finely tuned as it is. That raises the question of how we can be sure that we are not just an ET’s simulation. Two other approaches to ET as AI have been 1) the smart machines destroyed the extraterrestrials who invented them. (Adrian Kent) and 2) ET exists but evolved into virtual reality at a nanoscale (John M. Smart).

In his article at The Conversation, Rees considers these possibilities and more. He recommends changing the assumptions of the Drake Equation to reflect the fact that “the lifetime of an organic civilisation may be millennia at most, while its electronic diaspora could continue for billions of years. If we include this in the equation, it seems there may be more civilisations out there than we thought, but that the majority of them would be artificial.”

And, he warns, “Some electronic “brains” may simply have a quite different perception of reality. Nor can we predict or understand their motives.”

READ the full article here