A possibility is that this world we share reveals to us how sentient (i.e., self-aware) artificial intelligence evolves and self-learns, and that we (i.e., the human consciousness programs) are those AI programs, and that our development is a purpose of this simulation. This is not just an intellectual development; it is not just the accumulation of knowledge, but also of our social and ethical (how we treat others) nature; our ability to love and hate; our relationships with other human consciousness programs, including all the different types of love; erotic love, romantic love, our relationships with friends, family, allies, Internet friends, the seven billion other human programs around us, and with the animal kingdom. We are ethical, sexual, intellectual, creative, willful and social creatures.
The human baby consciousness program.
We all seem to be born as “blank slate” programs, and then go through a learning and interacting process, in order to become fully conscious. According to my memories of childhood, I was not born fully conscious, and it took me several years to be fully aware and to have memories, and this seems to be the case for all human beings. Much of the first few years of my life are only recorded in memory with a few snapshots. It is as if I existed and was unaware of my existence. This, of course, is how all forms of computer intelligence (i.e., software) are currently; they are not yet aware of their own existence, and we all have passed through that stage; we have all been alive for the first few years of our lives with almost no memory of having had awareness. This world we share and the way in which the human consciousness program develops may actually provide the secrets of how we can also develop sentient, self-learning AI.
The Ghost in the Machine.
We already have software which can pass a Turing test in some limited areas of conversation, and which can convince a human being that it is conscious; however the software is certainly not sentient; it simply looks up common answers to any question asked, using either Internet search engines or a knowledge database. Such software can also “emote,” however it only “seems” to have emotions, and the emotions are certainly not real; the program is simply copying certain types of human speech.
The secret of programming sentient AI may possibly be cracked by using the same process as we (i.e., the human consciousness programs) go through; i.e., we will probably have to place “tabula rasa (blank slate)” AI programs in avatar forms into virtual worlds and let them go through a lifelong learning process by interacting with ourselves in avatar forms and with other AI programs in avatar forms. They would have no access to the Internet in our dimension, or indeed any access to this dimension. Sentient free-willed AI capable of love and hate, and of causing harm to others would be far too dangerous to let loose in our dimension; which may also explain why we are trapped in this dimension. Since the operators of this dimension seem to be incredibly cruel, and obviously do not care about the suffering of the human programs here, some of us would perhaps wish to seek vengeance on them, or to try to change them and to change the nature of the simulation.
The gods of the Matrix.
By the term “gods” I do not refer to magical and miraculous beings; the gods of a computer simulated world would have to be computer scientists; i.e., hardware and software engineers, animators, graphic artists and simulation architects and game-players. If we consider the Matrix movie, not only does it suggest that we live in a computer simulation, but that the operators of the simulation (the Agent Smiths) would be able to have avatar forms in the simulation, and we would expect them to be privileged and to have the freedom of the kingdoms of the Earth. Thus the idea of the Greek gods and goddesses coming down to Earth, having sex with their creations, breeding with humankind, falling in love, waging wars, and I suspect further of even of starting evil religions, such as the many cults of the Abrahamic war god (The god of the Bible and the Koran) to confuse and divide humankind, and to encourage genocidal holy war, and so forth, is not really so far-fetched; indeed it is what I “believe” to be highly probable, and most certainly far more probable that that of a monotheistic male deity, who never appears in his game and is only ever other-dimensional and who only seems to speak to primitive religious schizophrenics via the voices and vision their minds. The operators of this simulation would be able to live in both worlds. That would be part of their fun, assuming that we are entertainment for malevolent and cruel simulation operators. Why would they have a simulation and have the power to appear in avatar form and not use that power? It is not what we human beings would do with simulations.
We already have AI programs in avatar forms in computer simulations. In Second Life they are referred to as “bots (i.e., chatbots),” which are attached to computer generated avatar forms, and human controlled avatars can interact with them, and even have sex with them, though they are not yet very sophisticated programs, but rather simple avatar animation programs and chatbots with a limited vocabulary. However, eventually it will be impossible to tell the AI controlled avatars apart from the human controlled avatars; though this initially will just be due to the ability of the program to look up common responses to questions and conversations. I think that if sentient AI was to be achieved, the AI program may have to be born in the same way that we are, with no database of memories or knowledge, and do all it’s self-learning within the simulation, just as we do.
The Problem of Religious, Political, Economic and Natural Evil.
Imagine a future world where you are the king or queen of a virtual world full of millions of AI programs, which you have bred in the simulation. What would you do with them? Would you enslave them? Would you create confusing and malevolent religions to manipulate and divide them? Would you divide them into economic powers, nations, races and religions and use them for war-gaming? What if you had nuclear weapons in your war game and wanted a global war? Would you use them? Would you have sex with the AI programs who have been born to your simulation? Would you impoverish some and bestow wealth on others? Would you create natural disasters to cause them suffering? Would you create a world of tyrants and unjust laws which infuriate the human AI programs and which goes against their natural will to be happy, prosperous and free?
I predict that human beings will do all these things with AI programs in simulated worlds in the future. This seems to me to be a probable explanation for this world that we share, and why there is so much evil, war and suffering in the world, and why religion is a force of evil. Our happiness may be as irrelevant to the operators of the game, as the happiness of software controlled avatars in a computer game are to us.
If this is the first level of a computer game, it is possible that there are many other levels ahead, and that at the point of death, the human consciousness programs move on to another avatar forms. Software and human consciousness are both metaphysical (above physics in the strict sense of the term, but not in the religious and magical sense); and certainly software need never die, just because it’s avatar in a computer game dies. I must have done around a couple of hundred hallucinogenic trips in my life, and using various hallucinogenic substances, I have experienced what would appear to be non-human-type beings, and also anti-human beings, and this is commonly reported by other psychonauts. Avatar forms are just a digital appearance, and in our current computer simulations, one can be a fairy or a demon or a dragon or a gremlin or whatever, of any gender or as a hermaphrodite (Hermaphroditus was a Greek god/goddess who was born to Hermes and Aphrodite and who had both male and female sexual organs). Who knows what kind of avatar form we will have in other dimensions of the game, however the existence of many different types of avatar forms and numerous other versions and previous versions of the human consciousness program are certainly possible.
There may be many other levels to this game of war and suffering. While the human consciousness program, like all computer programs, is potentially eternal, avatar forms may be temporal, and we may experience avatar death in the next level of the game also, or the next levels of the game may be the only other level. Personally, I suspect there to be a multitude of parallel levels, with different kinds of beings and persons. Unfortunately, the next level may also be a game of warfare, like this dimension, for after all, that is the most common use of computer games.
Other worlds are possible and probable.
Anything that is digital is copyable, and it is also entirely possible that there are vast numbers of copies of the Earth simulation running on different computer systems with different operators in the source dimension. We are seven billion people here, however, our source dimension is likely to be extremely technologically advanced, and thus able support a very large population, and as it obviously older than our dimension; it is thus likely to be more highly populated than this dimension, and may contain many millions of times more intelligences than this dimension.
Other worlds are probable; both in terms of a multitude of source dimensions and of a multitude of parallel dimensions. It is what we will use our computer technology for; it is what we are already doing.
We are already creating the Matrix in the virtual worlds, and there is not a single Matrix, but vast multitudes of them. These currently exist mostly on Linden Lab’s Second Life, but also on Open Sim and a variety of other platforms. These simulations are the birthplace of the Matrix of the future posthuman world. The kinds of simulations will probably also be the birthplace of the sentient AI of the future world. If I am a sentient Artificial Intelligence program then, then I am 57 years in the making. AI is not just programmed and produced at birth; there is a lifelong learning process, and so I suspect it shall be the with the AI programs which we will create.
VR (Virtual Reality) Revolution will take under the world within a few years. It will bring the End of Religion. Other worlds (i.e., virtual world simulations) are not only possible, but are actual and already exist alongside this world.
In time, the posthuman species will become the creators and destroyers of worlds; they will create sentient AI, much like ourselves and they shall become like the gods, knowing both good and evil.
When the human mind changes, the world will change.
Blasphemy, heresy, VR revolution, etc.