Intelligent self awareness baffles me sometimes.  The universe has, literally, slammed enough atoms and molecules together for long enough that, eventually, something jump started and that led to parts of it starting to look at itself in mirrors and microscopes and wonder what it is.  If I think about that for long enough I start feeling like a mystic. . . somebody talk me down!!    . . lol.  

I've been pondering both the nature and destiny of intelligence for a while and I am very interested in what thoughts and/or conclusions smart and rational thinkers have on the subject.  I thought we had an an amazing discussion in a thread I posted a while back "What is rational thinking?".  So I thought I would zero in on a section of that discussion with more detail.

I've put together some questions that I often ask myself on this subject.  First a word on semantics:  When I use the word "intelligence" here, I am sometimes using it like the word "mankind" is used.  It is representing the entire group of intelligent beings that may exist in the universe (here or elsewhere) and/or any form those beings may take now or in the future (naturally or through technology).

Anyway, here are my questions:

1) What is this "intelligence thing" that we humans recognize in ourselves?  Is it different somehow from other animal intelligence or do we just tell ourselves that?

2) Does our living proof that intelligence exists here, combined with the evidence of the massive size of the universe, allow for a deduction that intelligence has, or will, occur again elsewhere even if we vanish?

3) What are the chances that the progress of technology may one day make intelligence immortal?  

4) It took roughly 13.5 billion years for time and physics to randomly create this new thing: intelligence, out of raw matter.  It seems like a bit of a game changer now that parts of the universe have "will" and "ambition".   What can this new thing accomplish in the future given an equal, or greater amount of time?   

5) If enough time passes that we get to the projected end of the universe itself, will intelligence have "evolved" for long enough that it somehow gains the ability to escape or overcome those natural forces working to finally take it down?   Can/could/will intelligence beat the machine?

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If there is no grid like Newton suggested, then what are those two independent "spaces" existing inside of?

Your question begs a question, which is IS there some overarching superspace in which two subspaces exist?

If you want an answer, the best one I can give you is these two words: "your mind."

As the philosopher Wittgenstein rightly pointed out in his later philosophy, we often get into trouble by following our language, which is unfettered by physical law, into questions which really have no meaning.

In other words, it doesn't follow that since you can ask a question, that the question means anything. For example:

"How many bars of The Star Spangled Banner can fit in a cigar box before it's full?"

I agree about language.  Language is a huge barrier in some cases.

But what you are saying sounds a little like solipsism .

How could your version of space be any different than mine if neither of us can use language to describe it in the end anyway?

It throws us into the same infuriating category as "the lord works in mysterious ways".

The long term continuation of earth life seems precarious to me. It's a race between our intelligence/knowledge and the slightest change in environmental conditions (caused by us or not) that can easily snuff out all carbon life forms. Evolution is often just too slow to help earth life to survive fast step changes.

We require food/water/o2 in a narrow concentration/radiation shielding/near earth gravity/low acceleration levels/narrow temperature ranges/and even other life forms living in our bodies to survive.

Perhaps there are less needy life forms out there. Our brand of intelligence seems tainted with less that rational processes so that in addition to our physical frailty we must also survive ourselves.

I think this is entirely reasonable in the context of earth.   If we look at nature, though, it seems to over produce the stuff that pops up out of it.   Do you think that no planet in the universe could finally achieve an intelligence with an open ended life span?

Yes. I think us humans could achieve the technology of immortality given enough time.

Maybe we should go ahead and create artificial intelligence and let it take the ball and run with it.

We may have no choice in the matter. LOL

Seriously, though, it may turn out that long after the carbon-based human race is gone, we live on through our machines which, by then have the capacity to learn and to reproduce, improving their design along the way.

Hmm, there's the basis of a sci-fi epic there.

To be clear, I'm sure there is a lot of science fiction about a race of living robots. I was speculating about humans BECOMING robots.

I've thought a lot about this too.  The idea of "mind uploading" into artificial brains is very fascinating to me.   I'm not sure if that or a "free will" and fully intelligent AI would come first. . .as a technology.   And would we know the difference if we met them?

It all sounds too much to me like homo sapiens breeding neanderthals out of existence, except that this time we'll be the neanderthals.

Wait, that sounds too pessimistic. Maybe it's better to assume that our inner neanderthals have been sincerely thankful for their ride in us for the past thousands of years.

I think we kind of get into mind/body confusions on that issue for sure.

What is a body?  I've heard it called a vessel for the mind to get around with which makes some sense since the mind seems to be the dominant force.  It is biological because that is how nature created the mind in the first place. . .  but now that the mind is here, assuming it can be preserved outside these biological bodies. . . then what truly is the purpose of a body other than to extend the mind's journey further if possible?

The body is so temporary and fragile, while the mind seems so endless and immortal in it's potential.  The mind often feels like it should have a longer ride than it's been given.

I don't think many minds would object to being transferred into a more durable vehicle.  The idea of ceasing to exist any longer is very hard for many minds to grasp.  It doesn't seem like it should be possible.. .  which is where the afterlife ideas must have come from.

Of course that's sort of what we are talking about isn't it?  An artificial afterlife where we no longer have problems of the flesh and we live forever?

And them I sometimes wonder what super advanced technology would look like doing this stuff. . . which is what brings on this post in the first place. 


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