The greatest tragedy in life is…

This is your life’s knowledge and experience when you die

The greatest tragedy in life isn’t death or impermanence or suffering. These are all ego-centric and selfish tragedies.

The greatest tragedy in life is the loss of your knowledge and experience when you die. You spend an entire lifetime learning about the world, developing a point of view, building expertise, advancing human knowledge.

And then poof, in an instant it’s all gone to waste. Artificial intelligence might help us solve this disaster.

Consider that we spend decades of our time on Earth just trying to learn the things necessary to succeed in the world. The modern economy has become so ultra-specialized that knowledge worker jobs are now increasingly atomized into niche threads in a tapestry of employment that spans the globe.

You might spend 12 years in primary and secondary school, four years in college, and then two to four (or more) years earning a master’s or doctorate degree.

Then you’ll spend thirty to forty years (or more) putting that knowledge to use building expertise in one or more fields. You might even become a thought leader or world-recognized expert in your field.

And then you’re going to die. And unlike your genes, which you can pass along in a few seconds of sweaty thrusting, you can never really pass along the knowledge and experience of your life. It is utterly and irrevocably gone forever.

This is a tragic loss for humanity.

Solving this problem should be the ultimate goal of research in artificial intelligence and brain-machine interfaces. Sure it would be great to create strong AI that could take over all work, move us to a post-scarcity society and give us lives of ultimate leisure.

But what do human beings do then? We’re still going to want to excel, especially in fields where AIs might not have a competitive advantage, like art, philosophy and diplomacy? I postulate that this life of leisure could lead to the end of the human race.

Instead, we should preserve you, so that your life, knowledge, experience and consciousness can continue indefinitely.

Thoughts?

~

This article is a Short Byte, a brief piece designed to ignite thinking. More Short Bytes are here.

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