Speculating is fun, but ultimately useless. This post may serve as an example, and then a morale on that.
There have been some “recent” news on aliens, intelligence, and simulations. More precisely:
- Aliens may be so intelligent that they are “artificial”, either because AI is what remains of them, because they used mind uploading, or because their intelligence is artificially enhanced.
- Half of the universe missing matter has been found, it is filaments of hot, diffuse gas.
- China wants to lead the efforts to discover alien life, and find it before 2030!
- Nick Bostrom and Elon Musk say we probably live in a simulation. Scientists say that is impossible. Relevant XKCD.
- Bostrom, Musk, and Stephen Hawking are worried about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). Hawking is also worried about contacting aliens.
Now it’s speculation time.
- If aliens are uploaded minds (1), they may:
- appear as hot gas to our observation instruments (2), quantum computers hosting universes can be quite small from the distance.
- not care about the “real universe” we live in, or emit anything out of their virtual reality, being undetectable to our technology (3).
- offer us to join their simulations, preserving resources in the “base” universe so that their simulations can last longer. Contacting them (5) would be the best idea ever. Columbus’ arrival had different consequences in North and South America.
- If we live in a simulation (4):
- The Universe may be quite empty (that explains Fermi’s paradox). Any attempt at contacting aliens (5) is as harmless as futile. AI is also harmless as much as God is a metaphor.
- All our population, technology, and observational technology may be making the simulation very expensive and hard to maintain. Alien life, artificial intelligence, or any other existential risk may be ways to end the simulation “safely“, before 2030! (3)
- Is it really impossible that we live in a simulation? (4) We could have different levels of detail, which could explain the wave-particle duality. We could not prove that P≠NP yet either.
- Even if we hide, aliens (5) may find us, and artificial superintelligence (5) may be the only technology capable of saving us from them.
- We are the prey (5), the matter we cannot see (2)… are aliens in the hide!
I could continue for weeks, but I am committing to a 500 word limit per post.
Now we could try to put everything into context and try to extract conclusions that make any sense, but without any reality checks to verify anything of this, that would be a huge waste of time. Some speculation has no consequences and is not constructive, e.g. solipsism.
Morale: some speculation is useless, maybe going as far as complete mindfulness all the time is not necessary, but focusing on the circle of influence, SMART goals, and keeping a skeptic and pragmatic approach may not be bad ideas. Think big, but be specific about what you can do.
Last bit of speculation: if economy and politicians focused on real problems and especially real solutions, we all would be happier.