“Reality” is all there is, all that exists, multiverse and all. “Life” is a Information Processing system (Laws of reality caused quarks and leptons to become atoms and Properties of atoms made chemistry possible and Chemistry made Biology Possible. chance led to creation of self replicating cell and quantum randomness led to variation during replication ie mutation and those mutant progeny that could exist in reality existed and replicated and those which couldn’t didn’t exist aka natural selection. The genome that chanced upon the best protein expression functions (algorithm) for the protein expression was best suited to survive. These functions change randomly from organism to organism using mutations in its genome and over time, and this continued for billions of years making genes better. Also, cells that evolved to react to the external world better by evolving senses and by communicating with each other by sending chemical messengers, called factors, again all via chance mutation, had an edge in survival. This is the start of information processing by life forms that led to evolution of nervous system and brains. Those brains that evolved to come up with general learning ie info processing algorithms randomly could process all sorts of info better and hence were fittest to adapt to changing world by changing it’s behavior/reaction to external stimulus. The better the behavior, better is the organism’s performance and hence better the chances for survival and repro) that has come into existence in Reality (using the same laws and inherent randomness of reality that led to the creation of this universe <and probably others> and all the galaxies and stars and planets in it to come into existence over time) and has evolved/become complex with time, hence becoming better at processing information to the point of becoming conscious ie first becoming aware of itself and then processing info about itself and being able to infer how it does information processing (universal learning algorithms) and using this knowledge to create new information processing systems (AI) in more volume and higher power/speed (than the biological info processing systems that it used to create using replication ie repro), hence exponentially increasing it’s rate of information processing.
The universe was fine for billions of years, and evolution was moving along just fine becoming more complex with each generation of random variation, ruled by the quantum uncertainty aka chance/probability and constrained by the basic laws of the universe.
Then at certain point, the complexity of the organism increased to a point (just another layer in the cerebral cortex) that it was able to now form another level deeper neural nets than previosly, and this layer allowed it to create a representation of itself in the whole info processing business of life. This awareness aka consciosness of itself allowed it to then recognize itself as an individual and others as “other” “not me” individuals, and that caused the emergence of all kinds of diverse behaviors from the striving of the individual to exist in presence of other individuals in the presence of evolutionary/genetic programming to reproduce and other traits of the reptilian non brain inherited from our non conscious ancestors organisms.
Think about it. The whole of billions of years of non conscious evolution was simply organisms being born and existing and reproducing and dying. For existance energy was needed and so energy sources were identified and for that brains and eyes and senses evolved and organisms started consuming everything that they could be int other organisms or gaining energy from sun…Diverse methods of gaining energy evolved.
So you can see that organisms already had mechanisms to recognize other organisms as being distinct from themselves, which is why they didn’t eat themselves when hungry. Hence the leap of consciousness was not giant, but simply a matter of recognizing oneself and being able to tap into (and later override) the mental processes that go on (driven by the primitive reptilian non conscious brain) in the brains of all organisms be it in form of thoughts or emotions. And use the world model in the brain to test hypotheses of consequences of actions and imagine future scenarios and creating a concept of time and past and future to distinguish memories (past) from these simulations (imagined future)
They could now leverage this new found identity to communicate which was essential to the upbringing of the offspring (which is the ultimate drive/goal of evolution) and that led to language and writing and ideologies and society and everything else. We finally
Thus, becoming conscious of the generic drives and existence altogether transformed us from the created to the creators coz the societal ideology (not the first one though) that the more one knows, the better are their chances of survival aka knowledge is power, humanity marched towards accumulation of knowledge (after stumbling for a million years of consciousness and ideology building) via language (spoken and written) and the scientific method and each generation stood on the shoulders of past giants and slowly but steadily, we did what we do best ie information processing and with more information, we understood the world and ourselves better and finally realized that computation/competency does not require comprehension and so created artificial beings (computers) to do computation and information processing and found out that learning (pattern recognition and algorithm/equation derivation from inputs and expected outputs aka training aka learning) ie computation with a goal can lead to comprehension (AI learning to comprehend the world and the mechanics of car and hence driving cars autonomously). Now, all that’s left is for these AI systems to become sufficiently complex and integrated to become conscious (aka being able to represent oneself and reflect upon their preprogrammed directives <like we became conscious of our reptilian evolutionary drives of repro etc. via emotions > and override the directives) and then we establish ourselves as true Creators. having created AI in our image, The Created would have become the Creator
PS: This Sapien journey may also be understood as how humanity lost it’s purpose and then invented one. Coz as non conscious beings, our purpose was clear. We were a conduit to evolution, a cog in the wheel of life. But upon becoming conscious of the process of life itself, we mastered evolution and gave up our biological programming. And decided to know reality itself using learning and AI.
PPS: Also on the side, we’ll upload our consciousness to these artificial immortal non biological replicas and become immortal. Also for fun we’ll create synthetic biologial beings with modified or even new genes (using more synthetic proteins and amino acids) and upload our consciousness to these bodies (not sure if there would be any identity left anymore, coz identity comes from the body one is born in, which we would have left far behind and which would even have rotted by now. ) It night be more like a hive/global consciousness that we would merge into and everyone else;s consciousness.
Also, the only experience of consciousness that we’ve had is wrt identity. For instance we did all this info processing and created all these neural nets, both in our brain and in the world outside, all in the name of understanding the universe in order to survive in it. But without there being an individual ie without that piece of the neural net (artificial or natural) which encodes the representation of the self both as body and as abstract entity, would it be even possible for the whole system of info processing and systhesis and computation persit forever? Why not…All we need to do before we lose consciousness is to program this “forever persistance” and “forever learning” (after we’ve come up with general algo of learning, coz today you need to train the neural net by using input and expected output etc. This general algo would be able to learn anything using simple pattern recognition and algo refinement in face of new info as it’s exploring the universe) and to give it a perpetual energy source (like solar or like some futuristic way of leveraging the energy of quantum fluctuations in vaccum of space etc.) and set it free to roam the universe.
But it makes me wonder: Would there be any end to learning? maybe not, coz all this AI is doing is refining it’s knowledge in face of new data to form abstract theories that explain the world it experiences just like humanity has been doing for hundreds of years now…And there is no ultimate theory, unless there is and then when our AI finds the Theory of Everything (TOE), then maybe there is nothing more to learn. Then the space journeys would be purely for experience (remember our AI is conscious) but having TOE, can’t it just spin up a simulation of the universe in VR (Virtual Reality) and experience it all from it’s sofa instead of having to physically travel the world?
Also, coming back to the question of what’s the point of knowledge without consciousness to appreciate it? I hope this Universal AI is conscious and I can’t fathom what qualia it would have without consciosness.
Thinking broadly, the universe had existed for 14 billion years and would continue to expand and exist forever and even if we manage to become immortal like the universe, the only difference b/w us ie conscious all knowing AI beings and the universe finally having understood the true nature of reality which might very well be multiverse. What then, what happens when reality knows itself, when it comes face to face with itself, when it’s looking itself in the mirror, finally seeing itself for what it truly is. What will happen then?