This is my first post, so I apologize if it doesn’t fit the style of this forum. This isn’t necessarily some business idea, but it is something that stands at the core of my being – a question has plagued me since I was a kid. I have no idea what I would want the future to look like if it were perfect. I’m not talking about eradicating disease – I’m talking about pure optimization of the Universe. I would assume conscious experience to be the pinnacle, but given that I know so little about the brain and about it would be like to be an artificial mind, is there something more profound than consciousness? My limited scope can only suggest heightened senses and ecstatic feelings of joy and bliss, but does that mean a dark room alone feeling really happy? Living multiple lifetimes over and over again in the most adventurous worlds possible, falling in love over and over again? Living multiple lives at the same time? We might actually be able to do that someday. For the record, I’ve assumed you’re all aware of the impending Singularity and the possibility that we might be able to live this “perfect eternity” as posthumans in a computer simulation. But if you think that doesn’t sound perfect, let me know – I’m curious. I’m half expecting some seriously tech-y jargon to spew out from the shadows in response to this post, and would actually love for that to happen. Nothing like transcendent technology.
Welcome to the Fractal Future Forum, Matt. Don’t worry, your post fits pretty well into the style of this forum. And it seems that you have hit pretty much the core of the purpose of this forum with your first post. There’s certainly a lack of compelling, visceral, and realistic positive visions for the future. Ideas about what a great future might look like diverge quite a bit. The utopia of some is the nightmare of others, and vice versa.
I totally get that. I have struggled with this question for many years, too, and still revisit my future visions again and again. Reaching a definite answer seems to be quite unlikely, but collecting many different ideas will certainly expand our horizons.
Ok, but the underlying question is: Optimization for what?
Wow, that’s a rather dizzying question. Shouldn’t everything of value require some kind of conscious being who values it? If so, then conscious experience would be a definite requirement for any kind of value at all. Or can value really exist in some kind of vacuum, without any subject it needs to relate to? What would that even mean?
And what does it mean for something to be “more profound” than consciousness? What could be imagined are enhanced states of consciousness, like the ones you mentioned. Would that justify ascribing a completely new name to this enhanced consciousness? I don’t think so. It would merely be “consciousness+” (as in “consciousness with some extras”), but still be consciousness by its nature.
That doesn’t sound too bad for a start. Apart from existence and happiness, I think there are good reasons also to value (something like) knowledge, wisdom, freedom, diversity, and complexity very highly. Experiencing an artificial sense of joy and bliss all the time doesn’t sound like it would be the most complex experience imaginable. Interacting with others would certainly increase the involved amount of knowledge, diversity, and complexity. But then, eventually it might become difficult to make a clear distinction between “you” and “others” in a maximally advanced civilisation. If I had to compress the purpose of activity in such a civilisation to a short phrase, I would probably choose something like “Exploring the complexity of all kinds of combinations.”
That’s a fair assumption for this forum. The majority of users should be quite familiar with the concept of the technological Singularity.
Some people would object to the idea of being “simplified” to computer simulations. But even for most of those the idea of ultra-realistic virtual worlds wouldn’t be objectionable, if you were always free to leave them at will.
You mean something like the following?
- Dyson swarms
- Black hole computation
- Paradise engineering
- Quantum archeology
- Substrate independent minds
- Many world theory
- Simulation hypothesis
- Alcubierre drive
I mean, sure, we could discuss those, if you like, but your initial post points to a discussion of more fundamental issues like what we would even consider to be “valuable” or “perfect”. Is that something like “I’ll recognize it, when I see it”? Or do we need an elaborate discourse on epistemology and axiology? The following thread would certainly belong to the latter category:
Based on those considerations, I’ve started thinking about a kind of general outline for a kind of a perfect future in
Around those ideas, I’ve recently started spinning a kind of science fiction scenario:
That last thread is probably my best current shot at answering the question about the “perfect future”. I’m currently in the process of writing my first short story within that scenario. It may still take a couple of weeks (or even longer) until it’s finished.
Anyway, thanks for starting this fascinating conversation. I’m very interested in the thoughts of others on this topic. Let me notify some thoughtful visionaries: @AlonzoTG @Amon_Twyman @Darklight @dirk.bruere @Eric_Hunting @FourFire @guillefix @isenhand @Joao_Luz @mam @Maximo_Ramallo @MvB @Peter_Xing @zanthia @ZeUs
Awesome response! I read Civilization System W earlier, I thought it was great. I will now look up a bunch of the tech-y jargon you spewed out from the shadows.
Well, to me, it’s pretty clear that the same “perfect” existence could never fully satisfy more than one person. Most of the times, satisfaction seems to come from the fullfilment of some sort of subjective preference, therefore, I don’t think it’s possible for us to create an equally “perfect” future for everyone.
Sure we could put everyone inside their own VR simulation where they would live their perfect “existence”, but many people, like me for exemple , would not be satisfied with that because they tend to value some concept of “reality”.
In my opinion, the best future we can get is one in which we all live in what we (in this forum) call a Fractal Society, which is a world where all citizins are free to create their own societal niches in which they can live the way they want, while surrounded mostly by likeminded people.
So, what is the perfect future, you ask? It’s the future in which you can do whatever you want with little or no limitation and you have total freedom and infinite time to explore any possibility that you want and decide what makes you happy.
Ahahahahaha I instantly recognized them all except for “Quantum archeology” ( wtf is that ??!)
I guess that after sometime in this forum this kind of words just becomes normal.