Joscha Bach: Life, Intelligence, Consciousness, AI & the Future of Humans | Lex Fridman Podcast #392 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Joscha Bach: Life, Intelligence, Consciousness, AI & the Future of Humans | Lex Fridman Podcast #392".

1970-01-06T10:20:39.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Opening Remarks

Introduction (00:00)

There is a certain perspective where you might be thinking what is the longest possible game that you could be playing. A short game is for instance, cancer is playing a shorter game than your organism. It's a cancer is an organism playing a shorter game than the regular organism. And because the cancer cannot procreate beyond the organism, except for some infectious cancers, like the ones that are dedicated to the testimony and devils, you typically end up with a situation where the organism dies together with the cancer. Because the cancer has destroyed the larger system due to playing a shorter game. And so ideally you want to, I think, build agents that play the longest possible games. And the longest possible games is to keep entropy at bay as long as possible by doing interesting stuff. - The following is a conversation with Yoshibok, his third time on this podcast. Yoshibok is one of the most brilliant and fascinating minds in the world, exploring the nature of intelligence, consciousness and computation. And he's one of my favorite humans to talk to about pretty much anything and everything. This is the Lex Friedman podcast, "Disappointed." Please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, dear friends, here's Yoshibok. You wrote a post about levels of lucidity.


Broad Philosophy Concepts

Stages of life (01:15)

Quote, "As we grow older, it becomes apparent that our self-reflexive mind is not just gradually accumulating ideas about itself, but that it progresses in somewhat distinct stages." So there's seven of the stages. Stage one, "Reactive Survival Infant." Stage two, "Personal Self," "Young Child." Stage three, "Social Self," "Adolescence," "Dymesticated Adult." Stage four is "Rational Agency," "Self Direction." Stage five is "Self Authoring." That's full adult. You've achieved wisdom, but there's two more stages. Stage six is "Enlightenment." Stage seven is "Transcendence." Can you explain each or the interesting parts of each of these stages? And what's your sense why there are stages of this, of lucidity as we progress through life in this too short life? - This model is derived from concept by the psychologist, Robert Keegan. And he talks about the development of the self as a process that happens in principle by some kind of reverse engineering of a mind, where you gradually become aware of yourself and thereby build structure that allows you to interact deeper with the world and yourself. And I found myself using this model not so much as a developmental model. I'm not even sure if it's a very good developmental model because I saw my children not progressing exactly like that. And I also suspect that you don't go through the stages necessarily in succession. And it's not that you work through one stage and then you get into the next one. Sometimes you revisit them, sometimes stuff is happening in parallel. But it's, I think, useful framework to look at what's present and the structure of a person and how they interact with the world and how they relate to themselves. So it's more like philosophical framework that allows you to talk about how minds work. And at first, when we are born, we don't have a personal self yet, I think. Instead, we have an attentional self. And this attentional self is initially in the infant task that's building a world model and also an initial model of the self. But mostly it's building a game engine in the brain that is tracking sensory data and uses it to explain it. And in some sense, you could compare it to game engine like Minecraft or so-so colors and sounds. People are all not physical objects. They are creation of our mind at a certain level of course, grading models that are mathematical, that use geometry and that use manipulation of objects and so on to create scenes in which we can find ourselves and interact with them. - So more in craft. - Yeah, and this personal self is something that is more or less created after the world is finished, after it's trained into the system, after it's been constructed. And this personal self is an agent that interacts with the outside world. And the outside world is not the world of quantum mechanics, the not the physical universe, but it's the model that has been generated in our own mind. And this is us and we experience our self interacting with that outside world that is created inside of our own mind. And outside of our self, there's feelings and they presented our interface to this outside world. They pose problems to us. These feelings are basically attitudes that our mind is computing that tell us what's needed in the world is things that we are drawn to, the things that we are afraid of. And we are tasked with solving this problem of satisfying the needs, avoiding the aversion following on our inner commitments and so on and also modeling ourselves and building the next stage. So after we have this personal self and stage two online, many people form a social self. And this social self allows the individual to experience themselves as part of a group. It's basically this thing that when you are playing a team, for instance, you don't notice yourself just as a single note that is reaching out into the world, but you're also looking down. You're looking down from this entire group and you see how this group is looking at this individual and everybody in the group is in some sense emulating this group spirit to some degree. And in this state, people are forming their opinions by assimilating them from this group mind. We see, gain the ability to act a little bit like a hive mind. But are you also modeling the interaction of how opinion shapes and forms through the interaction of the individual nodes within the group? - Yeah, it's basically the way in which people do it in a stage is that they experience what are the opinions of my environment, they experience the relationship that I have to their environment and they resonate with people around them and get more opinions through this interaction through the way in which they relate to others. And at stage four, you basically understand that stuff is true and false independently but other people believe and you have agency over your own beliefs in that stage. You basically discover epistemology, the rules about determining what's true and false. - So you start to learn how to think? - Yes, I mean, at some level, you're always thinking, you are constructing things and I believe that this ability to reason about your mental representation is what we mean by thinking. It's an intrinsically reflexive process that requires consciousness. Without consciousness, you cannot think. You can generate the content of feelings and so on outside of consciousness. It's very hard to be conscious of how your feelings emerge, at least in the early stages of development but thoughts is something that you always control. And if you are inert like me, you often have to skip stage three because you lack the intuitive empathy with others because in order to resonate with a group, you need to have a quite similar architecture. And if people are via differently, then it's hard for them to resonate with other people and basically have empathy, which is not the same as compassion but it is a shared perceptual mental state. Empathy happens not just via inference about the mental states of others but it's a perception of what other people feel and where they're at. - Can't you not have empathy while also not having a similar architecture, cognitive architecture as the others in the group? - I think yes, but I experienced that too but you need to build something that is like a meta architecture. You need to be able to embrace the architecture of the other to some degree or find some shared common ground. And it's also this issue that if you are inert, normies often, basically, neurotypical people have difficulty to resonate with you. And as a result, they have difficulty understanding you unless they have enough wisdom to feel what's going on there. - Well, aren't we, isn't the whole process of the stage three is to figure out the API to the other humans that have different architecture and you yourself publish public documentation for the API that people can interact with for you? Isn't this the whole process of socializing? - My experience as a child growing up was that I did not find any way to interface with the stage three people and they didn't do that with me. So, yeah, of course, they tried it very hard but it was only when I entered a mathematics school at 9th grade, lots of other nerds were present that I found people that I could deeply resonate with and had the impression that yes, I have friends now, I found my own people. And before that, I felt extremely done in the world. There was basically nobody I could connect to. And I remember there was one moment in all these years where I was in, there was a school exchange and it was the Russian boy, kid from the Russian carnison station in Eastern German, you visit our school and we played a game of chess against it. And we looked into each other's eyes and we sat there for two hours playing this game of chess and I had the impression this is a human being. He understands, but I understand. We didn't even speak the same language. - I wonder if your life could have been different if you knew that it's okay to be different, to have a different architecture. Whether like accepting that the interface is hard to figure out takes a long time to figure out and it's okay to be different. In fact, it's beautiful to be different. - It was not my main concern. My main concern was mostly that it was alone. It was not so much the question, is it okay to be the way? I couldn't do much about it. So I had to deal with it. But my main issue was that I was not sure if I would ever meet anybody growing up that I would connect to at such a deep level that I would feel that I could belong. - So there's a visceral, undeniable feeling of being alone. - Yes. And I noticed the same thing when I came into the math school that I think at least half, probably two thirds of these kids were severely traumatized. The children growing up in large part were to being alone because they couldn't find anybody to relate to. - Don't you think everybody's alone? Deep down? - No. - All right. - I'm not alone. I'm not alone anymore. It took me some time to update and to get over the trauma time and so on. But I felt that in my twenties, I had lots of friends and I had my place in the world. And I had no longer doubts that I would never be alone again. - Is there some aspect to which we're alone together? You don't see a deep loneliness inside yourself still? - No. Sorry. Okay. So that's the non-linear progression through the stages. I suppose you caught up on stage three at some point. - So we are at stage four. And so basically I find that many nerds jump straight into stage four by passing stage three. - Did they return to it then? Later. - Of course, there's sometimes they do, not always. The question is basically, do you stay a little bit autistic or do you catch up? And I believe you can catch up. You can build this missing structure. And basically experience yourself as part of a group, learn intuitive empathy and develop the sense, this perceptual sense of feeling what other people fear. And before that, I could only basically feel this when I was deeply in love with somebody and besuinked or... So there's a lot of friction to feeling that way. Like it takes only with certain people as opposed to it comes naturally. - Yeah. - It's frictionless. - But this is something that basically later I felt started to resolve itself for me. - Yeah. - To a large degree. - What was the trick? In many ways growing up and paying attention. Meditation did help. I had some very crucial experiences in getting close to people, building connections, cuddling a lot in my student years. - So really paying attention. - Yeah. - To the, what is it? To the feeling another human being fully. - Loving other people and being loved by other people and building a space in which you can be safe and can experiment and touch a lot and be close to somebody a lot. And over that over time, basically at some point you realize, oh, it's no longer that I feel locked out, but I feel connected and I experience where somebody else is at. And normally my mind is racing very fast at a high frequency. So it's not always working like this. Sometimes it works better, sometimes it works less. But also don't see this as a pressure. It's more, it's interesting to observe myself with frequency I'm at and which mode somebody else is at. - Yeah, man, the mind is so beautiful in that way. Sometimes it comes so natural to me, so easy to pay attention, pay attention to the world, fully to other people fully. And sometimes the stress over silly things is overwhelming. It's so interesting that the mind is that role-clustering that way. - At stage five you discover how identity is constructed.


Identity (13:37)

- Self-offering. - Realize that your values are not terminal, but they are instrumental to achieving a world that you like and aesthetics that you prefer. And the more you understand this, the more you get agency over how your identity is constructed. And you realize that identity in interpersonal interaction is a costume. And you should be able to have agency over that costume. It's useful to your costume. It tells something to others and it allows to interface in roles, but being locked into this is a big limitation. - The word costume kind of implies that it's fraudulent in some way. Is costume a good word for you? Like we present ourselves to the world. - In some sense I learned a lot about costumes at Burning Man. Before that I did not really appreciate costumes and saw them more as uniforms. Like wearing a suit if you are working in a bank or if you are trying to get startup funding from a VC in Switzerland, right? Then you dress up in a particular way and this is mostly to show the other side that you are willing to play by the rules and you understand what the rules are. But there is something deeper when you are at Burning Man your costume becomes self-expression and there is no boundary to the self-expression. You're basically free to wear what you want to express other people what you feel like this day and what kind of interactions you want to have. - Is the costume a kind of projection? Of who you are? - That's very hard to say because the costume also depends on what other people see in the costume. And this depends on the context that the other people understand. And you have to create something if you want to that is legible to the other side and that means something to yourself. - Do we become prisoners of the costume? Because everybody expects us. - Some people do, but I think that once you realize that you we are a costumer at Burning Man. The variety of costumes, realize that you cannot not wear a costume. - Yeah. - Basically everything that you wear and present to others is something that is to some degree in addition to what you are deep inside. - So this stage in parentheses you put full adult, comma wisdom. Why is this full adult? Why would you say this is full and why is it wisdom? - It does allow you to understand why other people have different identities from yours. And it allows you to understand that the difference between people who vote for different parties and might have very different opinions and different value systems is often the accident of where they are born and what happened after them after that to them and what traits they got before they were born. And at some point you realize the perspective where you understand that everybody could be you in a different timeline. If you just flip those bits. - How many costumes do you have? - I don't count, but in more than one. - Yeah, of course. - How easy is this to do costume changes throughout the day? - It's just a matter of energy and interest. When you are wearing your pajamas and you switch out of your pajamas into say a work short and pants, you're making a costume change, right? And if you are putting on a gown, you're making a costume change. - And you could do the same with personality. - You could, if that's what you're into. There are people which have multiple personalities for interaction in multiple worlds. So if somebody works in a store and you put up a storekeeper personality when you're presenting yourself at work, you develop a personality for this. And the social persona for many people is in some sense a puppet that they're playing like a marionette. And if they play this all the time, they might forget that there is something behind this. There's something what it feels like to be in your skin. And I guess it's very helpful if you're able to get back into this. And for me, the other way around is relatively hard. For me, it's pretty hard to learn how to play consistent social roles from it's much easier just to be real. Or not real, but to have one costume. - No, it's not quite the same. So basically when you are wearing a costume at Burning Man and say you are an extraterrestrial prince. There's something where you are expressing in some sense, something is closer to yourself than the way in which you hide yourself behind standard clothing when you go out in the city and the default world. And so there's costume that you're wearing at Burning Man allows you to express more of yourself. And you have a shorter distance of advertising to people what kind of person you are, what kind of interaction you would want to have with them. And so you get much earlier into media's dress. And I believe it's regrettable that we do not use the opportunities that we have with custom made closing now to wear costumes that are much more stylish, that are much more custom made, that are not necessarily part of a fashion in which you express which milieu you're part of and how up to date you are. But you also express how you are as an individual and what you want to do today and how you feel today and what you intend to do about it. - Well, isn't it easier now in the digital world to explore different costumes? I mean, that's the kind of idea with virtual reality. That's the idea even with Twitter and two dimensional screens. You can swap all costumes, you can be as weird as you want. It's easier for Burning Man, you have to like order things, you have to make things, you have to, it's more effort to put on. - It's even better if you make them yourselves. - Sure, but it's just easier to do digitally, right? - It's not about easy, it's about how to get it right. And for me, the first Burning Man experience, I got adapted by a bunch of people in Boston who tracked me to Burning Man and we spent a few weekends doing costumes together. And that was an important part of the experience where the camp bonded, that people got to know each other and we basically grew into the experience that we would have later. - So the extra terrestrial prints is based on a true story. - Yeah. - I can only imagine what that looks like, Yarsha. - Okay, stage six.


Enlightenment (20:12)

- Stage six, at some point you can collapse the division between a personal self and world generator again. And a lot of people get there by a meditation or some of them get there by a psychedelics, some of them by accident. And you suddenly notice that you are not actually a person but you are a vessel that can create a person. And the person is still there, you observe that personal self but you observe the personal self from the outside. And you notice it's a representation and you might also notice that the world that is being created is a representation. If not, then you might experience that I am the universe. I am the thing that is creating everything. And of course what you're creating is not quantum mechanics and the physical universe, what you're creating is this game engine that is updating the world and you're creating your valence, your feelings, your and all the people inside of that world, including the person that you identify with yourself and this world. - Are you creating the game engine or are you noticing the game engine? - You notice how you're generating the game engine. And I mean, when you are dreaming at night, you can, if you have a lucid dream, you can learn how to do this deliberately and in principle, you can also do it during the day. And the reason why we don't get to do this from the beginning and why we don't have agency of our feelings right away is because we would game it before they have the necessary amount of wisdom to deal with creating this dream that we are in. - You don't want to get access to cheat codes too quickly. Otherwise you won't enjoy game. - So stage five is already pretty rare and stage six is even more rare. You both basically find this mostly with advanced Buddhist meditators and so on that dropping into the stage and can induce it at will and spend time in it. - So stage five requires a good therapist. Stage six requires a good Buddhist spiritual leader. - Yes, for instance, could be that is the right thing to do. But it's not that these stages give you scores or levels that you need to advance to. It's not that the next stage is better. You live your life in the motor at works best at any given moment and when your mind decides that you should have a different configuration, then it's building that configuration. And for many people, they stay happily at stage three and experience it themselves as part of groups. And there's nothing wrong with this. And for some people, this doesn't work and they're forced to build more agency over their rational beliefs than this and construct their norms rationally. And so they go to this level. And stage seven is something that is more or less hypothetical. That would be the stage in which it's basically a transhumanist stage in which you understand how you work and which the mind fully realizes how it's implemented and can also in principle enter different modes in which it could be implemented. And that's the stage that as far as I understand, is not open to people yet. - Oh, but it is possible to the process of technology. - Yes, and who knows if there are biological agents that are working at different times, Girls, then ask that basically become aware of the way in which they're implemented on ecosystems and can change that implementation and have agency over how they're implemented in the world. And what I find interesting about the discussion about AI alignment, that it seems to be following these stages very much. Most people seem to be in stage three, also according to Robert Keegan. I think he says that about 85% of people are in stage three and stay there. And if you're in stage three and your opinions are the result of social assimilation, then what you're mostly worried about and the AI is that the AI might have the wrong opinions. So if the AI says something racist or sexist, we are all lost because we will assimilate the wrong opinions from the AI. And so we need to make sure that the AI has the right opinions and the right values and the right structure. And if you are at stage four, that's not your main concern. And so most nerds don't really worry about the algorithmic bias and the model that it picks up because if there's something wrong with this bias, the AI ultimately will prove it. At some point we'll get there that it makes mathematical proofs about reality. And then it will figure out what's true and what's false. But you're still worried that AI might turn you into paper clips because it might have the wrong values. So if it's set up with the wrong function that controls its direction and about, then it might do something that is completely horrible and there's no easy way to fix it. - So that's more like a stage four rationalist kind of worry. - And if you are at stage five, you're mostly worried that the AI is not going to be enlightened fast enough because you realize that the game is not so much about intelligence but about agency, about the ability to control the future. And the identity is instrumental to this. And if you are a human being, I think at some level you ought to choose your own identity. You should not have somebody else pick the costume for you and then wear it. But instead you should be mindful about what you want to be in this world. And I think if you are an agent that is fully malleable that can provide its own source code, like an AI might do at some point, then the identity that you will have is whatever you can be. And in this way, the AI will maybe become everything, like a planetary control system. And if it does that, then if we want to coexist with it, it means that it will have to share purposes with us. So it cannot be a transact relationship. We will not be able to use reinforcement learning with human feedback to hardwire its values into it. But this has to happen. It's probably that it's conscious so it can relate to our own mode of existence where an observer is observing itself in real time and within certain temporal frames. And the other thing is that it probably needs to have some kind of transcendental orientation building shared agency. And in the same way as we do when we are able to enter with each other into non-translection relationships. And I find that something that because the stage five is so rare is missing much of the discourse. And I think that we need in some sense, focus on how to formalize love, how to understand love and how to build it into the machines that we are currently building and that are about to become smarter than us. - Well, I think this is a good opportunity to try to sneak up to the idea of enlightenment.


Adaptive Resonance Theory (26:43)

So you wrote a series of good tweets about consciousness and panpsychism. So let's break it down. First you say, I suspect the experience that leads to the panpsychism syndrome of some philosophers and other consciousness enthusiasts represents the realization that we don't end at the self but share a resonant universe representation with every other observer coupled to the same universe. This actually eventually leads us to a lot of interesting questions about AI and AGI. But let's start with this representation. What is this resonant universe representation? And what do you think? Do we share such a representation? - The neuroscientist, Grossberg, has come up with the cognitive architecture that he calls the adaptive resonance theory. And his perspective is that our neurons can be understood as oscillators that are resonating with each other and this outside phenomena. So the coarse-grained model of the universe that we are building in some sense is a resonance with objects and outside of us in the world. So basically we take up patterns that of the universe that we are coupled with and our brain is not so much understood as circuitry even though this perspective is valid but it's almost an ether in which the individual neurons are passing on a camo-electrical signals or arbitrary signals across all modalities that can be transmitted between cells, simulate each other in this way and produce patterns that they modulate while passing them on. And this speed of signal progression in the brain is roughly at the speed of sound incidentally because the time that it takes for the signals to hop from cell to cell, it means it's relatively slower with respect to the world. It takes an appreciable fraction of a second for a signal to go through the entire neocortex, something like a few hundred milliseconds. And so there's a lot of stuff happening in that time where the signal is passing so your brain including in the brain itself. So nothing in the brain is assuming that stuff happens simultaneously. Everything in the brain is working in a paradigm where the world has already moved on when you are ready to do the next thing to your signal including the signal processing system itself. It's quite a different paradigm than the one in our digital computers where we currently assume that your GPU or CPU is pretty much globally in the same state. - So you mentioned there the non-dual state and say that some people confuse it for enlightenment. What's the non-dual state? - There is a state in which you notice that you are no longer a person and instead you are one with the universe. - So that speaks to the resonance. - Yes, but this one with the universe is of course not accurately modeling that you are indeed some god entity or indeed the universe is becoming aware of itself even though you get this experience. I believe that you get this experience because your mind is modeling the fact that you are no longer identified with the personal self in that state. But you have transcended this division between the self model and the world model and you are experiencing yourself as your mind as something that is representing a universe. - But that's still part of the model. - Yes, so it's inside of the model still. You are still inside of patterns that are generated in your brain and in your organism. And what you are now experiencing is that you are no longer this personal self in there, but you are the entirety of the mind on its contents. - Why is it so hard to get there? - A lot of people who get into the state think this or associative is enlightenment. I suspect it's a favorite training goal for a number of meditators. But I think that enlightenment is in some sense more mundane and it's a step further or sideways. It's the state where you realize that everything is a representation. - Yeah, you say enlightenment is a realization of how experience is implemented. - Yes, so basically you notice at some point that your qualia can be deconstructed. - Reverse engineered, almost like a schematic of it. What... - You can start with looking at a face. Maybe look at your own face in the mirror. Look at your face for a few hours in a mirror or for a few minutes. At some point it will look very weird because you notice that there's actually no face. You basically start and seeing the face, what you see is a geometry and then you can disassemble the geometry and realize how that geometry is being constructed in your mind. And you can learn to modify this. So basically you can change these generators in your mind to shift the face around or to change the construction of the face, to change the way in which the features are being assembled. - Why don't we do that more often? Why don't we start really messing with reality without the use of drugs or anything else? Why don't we get good at this kind of thing? Like intentionally. - Why should we? - Because you can more reality into something more pleasant for yourself. Just have fun with it. - Yeah, that is probably what you shouldn't be doing, right? Because outside of your personal self, this outer mind is probably a relatively smart agent. And what you often notice is that you have thoughts about how you should live, but you observe yourself doing different things and have different feelings. And that's because your outer mind doesn't believe you. And doesn't believe your rational thoughts. - Well, can't you just silence the outer mind? - The thing is that the outer mind is usually smarter than you are. Rational thinking is very brittle. It's very hard to use logic and symbolic thinking to have an accurate model of the world. So there is often an underlying system that is looking at your rational thoughts and then tells you, no, you're still missing something. You got feeling is still saying something else. And this can be, for instance, you find a partner that looks perfect or you find a deal and you build a company or whatever that looks perfect to you. And yet at some level, you feel something is often, you cannot put your finger on it and the more reason about that the better looks to you, but the system that is outside still tells you, no, no, you're missing something. - And that system is powerful. - People call this intuition, right? Intuition is this unreflected part of your attitude composition and computation where you produce a model of how you relate to the world and what you need to do it in it and what you can do in it and what's going to happen that is usually deeper and often more accurate than your reason. - So if we look at this as you write in the tweet, if we look at this more rigorously, it's a sort of take the panpsychist idea more seriously, almost as a scientific discipline, you write that quote, "fascinatingly, "the panpsychist interpretation seems to lead "to observations of practical results "to a degree that physics fundamentalists "might call superstitious.


Panpsychism (33:31)

"Reports of long distance telepathy and remote causation "are ubiquitous in the general population. "I am not convinced," says Yashabak, that establishing the empirical reality of telepathy would force an update of any part of serious academic physics, but it could trigger an important revolution in both neuroscience and AI from a circuit perspective to a coupled complex resonator paradigm. Are you suggesting that there could be some rigorous mathematical wisdom to panpsychist perspective on the world? - So first of all, panpsychism is the perspective that consciousness is inseparable for matter in the universe. And I find panpsychism quite unsatisfying because it does not explain consciousness, but it does not explain how this aspect of matter produces. It is also when I try to formalize panpsychism and write down what it actually means and with a more formal mathematical language. It's very difficult to distinguish it from saying that there is a software site to the world in the same way as there is software site to what the transistors are doing in your computer. So basically, there's a pattern at a certain course grinding of the universe that in some reasons of the universe leads to observers that are observing themselves. So panpsychism maybe is not even when I write it down a position that is distinct from functionalism. But intuitively, a lot of people feel that the activity of matter itself, of mechanisms in the world is insufficient to explain it. So it's something that needs to be intrinsic to matter itself. And you can, apart from this abstract idea, have an experience in which you experience yourself as being the universe, which I suspect is basically happening because you manage to dissolve the division between personal self and mind that you establish as an infant when you construct the personal self and transcend it again and understand how it works. But there is something deeper that is that you feel that you're also sharing a state with other people, that you have an experience in which you notice that your personal self is moving into everything else, that you basically look out of the eyes of another person, that every agent in the world that an observer is in some sense you. So if you forget that we are the same agent. So is it that we feel that or do we actually accomplish it? So is telepathy possible? Is it real? - So for me that's just a question that I don't really know the answer to. And Turing's famous 1950 paper in which he describes the Turing test, he does speculate about telepathy interestingly and us himself. If telepathy is real and he thinks that it very well might be, what would be the implication for AI systems that try to be intelligent? Because he didn't see a mechanism by which a computer program would become telepathic. And I suspect if telepathy would exist, or if all the reports that you get from people when you ask the normal person on the street, I find that very often they say, I have experiences with telepathy. The scientists might not be interested in this and might not have a theory about this, but I have difficulty explaining it away. And so you could say maybe this is the superstition, maybe it's a false memory, or maybe it's a little bit of psychosis, who knows? Maybe somebody wants to make their own life more interesting or misremember something, but a lot of people report, I noticed something terrible happened to my partner and I noticed exactly the moment it happened where my child had an accident and I knew that was happening and the child was in a different town. So maybe it's a false memory where this is later unmistakably attributed, but a lot of people think that this is not the correct explanation. So if something like this was real, what would it mean? It probably would mean that either your body is an antenna that is sending information over all sorts of channels, like maybe just electromagnetic radio signals that you're sending over long distances and you get attuned to another person that you spend enough time with to get a few bits out of the ether to figure out what this person is doing. Or maybe it's also when you are very close to somebody and you become empathetic with them. What happens is that you go into a resonance state with them. Similar to when people go into a seance and they go into a trance state and they start shifting a VIA board around on the table, I think what happens is that they, their minds go by their nervous systems into a resonance state in which they basically create something like a shared dream between them. Physical closeness or closeness broadly defined? With physical closeness is much easier to experience empathy with someone, right? It's a suspect it would be difficult for me to have empathy for you if you were in a different town. Also, how would that work? But if you are very close to someone, you'd pick up all sorts of signals from their body, not just via your eyes, but with your entire body. And if the nervous system sits on the other side and the intercellular communication sits on the other side and is integrating over all these signals, you can make inferences about the state of the other. And it's not just the personal self that does this via reasoning, but your perceptual system. And what basically happens is that your interactions, representations are directly interacting. It's the physical resonant models of the universe that exist in your nervous system and in your body might go into resonance with others and start sharing some of their states. So you basically buy next to somebody, you pick up some of their vibes and feel without looking at them, what they're feeling in this moment. And it's difficult for you, if you're very empathetic, to detach yourself from it and have an emotional state that is completely independent from your environment. People who are highly empathetic are describing this. And now imagine that a lot of organisms on this planet have representations of the environment and operate like this. And they are adjacent to each other and overlapping. So there's going to be some degree in which there is basically some change in direction. And we are forming some slightly shared representation and no relatively few neuroscientists who consider this possibility, I think a big rarity in this regard is Michael Levin who is considering these things in earnest. And I stumbled on this train of thought mostly by noticing that the tasks of a neuron can be fulfilled by other cells as well. They can send different type chemical messages and physical messages to their adjacent cells and learn when to do this and why not make this conditional and become universal functional approximators. The only thing that they cannot do is telegraph information over axons very quickly, over long distances. So neurons in this perspective are specially adapted kind of telegraph cell that has evolved. So we can move our muscles very fast, but our body is in principle able to also make models of the world just much, much slower. - It's interesting though that at this time, at least in human history, there seems to be a gap between the tools of science and the subjective experience that people report. Like you're talking about with telepathy and it seems like we're not quite there. - No, I think that there is no gap between the tools of science and telepathy. Either it's there or it's not. And it's an empirical question. And if it's there, we should be able to detect it in a lab. - So why is there not a lot of Michael Levin's walking around? - I don't think that Michael Levin is specifically focused on telepathy very much. He is focused on self-organization in living organisms and in brains, both as a paradigm for development and as a paradigm for information processing. And when you think about how organization processing works in organism, there is first of all radical locality, which means everything is decided locally from the perspective of an individual cell, the individual cells, the agent. And the other one is coherence, basically. There needs to be some criterion that determines how these cells are interacting in such a way that order emerges on the next level of structure. And this principle of coherence of imposing constraints that are not validated by the individual parts and lead to coherence structure to basically transcendental agency where you form an agent on the next level of organization. It's crucial in this perspective. - It's so cool that radical locality leads to the emergence of complexity at the higher layers. - And I think what Michael Levin is looking at is nothing that is outside of the realm of science in any way. It's just that he is a paradigmatic thinker who develops his own paradigm. And most of the neuroscientists are using a different paradigm at this point. And this often happens in science that a field has a few paradigms in which people try to understand reality and build concepts and make experiments. - You're kind of one of those type of paradigmatic thinkers. Actually, if we can take a tangent on that, once again returning to the biblical verses of your tweets, you're right, my public explorations are not driven by audience service, but by my lack of ability for discovering, understanding or following the relevant authorities.


How to think (43:31)

So I have to develop my own thoughts. Since I think autonomously, these thoughts cannot always be very good. That's you apologizing for the chaos of your thoughts, or perhaps not apologizing, just identifying. - Yeah, let me ask the question. Since we talked about Michael Levin and yourself, who I think are very kind of radical, big independent thinkers, can we reverse engineer your process of thinking autonomously? How do you do it? How can humans do it? How can you avoid being influenced by what is it? Stage three. Well, why would you want to do that? It's, you see what is working for you, and if it's not working for you, you build another structure that works better for you, right? And so I found myself when I was thrown into this world, in a state where my intuitions were not working for me, I was not able to understand how I would be able to survive on this world and build the things that I was interested in, build the kinds of relationship I needed to, build work on the topics that I wanted to make progress on. And so I had to learn, and I, for me, Twitter is not some tool of publication. It's not something where I put the stuff that I entirely believe to be true and provable. It's an interactive notebook, and we try to explore possibilities. And I found that when I tried to understand how the mind and how consciousness works, I was quite optimistic. I thought there needs to be a big body of knowledge that I can just study, and that works. And so I entered studies in philosophy and computer science, and later psychology and a bit of neuroscience and so on. And I was disappointed by what I found, because I found that the questions of how consciousness and also on works, how emotion works, how it's possible that the system can experience anything, how motivation emerges in the mind. We're not being answered by the authorities that I met and the schools that were around. And instead, I found that with individual thinkers that had useful ideas, that sometimes were good, sometimes were not so good, sometimes were adopted by a large group of people, sometimes were rejected by large groups of people. But for me, it was much more interesting to see these minds as individuals. And in my perspective, thinking is still something that is done not in groups that has to be done by individuals. - So that motivated you to become an individual, think of yourself. - I didn't have a choice. Where I see I didn't find a group that thought in a way where I felt, okay, I can't just adopt everything that everybody thinks here, and now I understand how consciousness works. And so, or how the mind works, or how thinking works, or what thinking evenness, or what feelings are, and how they're implemented, and so on. So to figure out this out, I had to take a lot of ideas from individuals, and then try to put them together in something that works for myself. And on one hand, I think it helps if you try to go down and find first principles on which you can recreate how thinking works, how languages work, what representation is, whether representation is necessary, how the relationship between representing agent and the world works in general. - But how do you escape the influence, once again, the pressure of the crowd? Whether it's you in responding to the pressure, or you being swept up by the pressure. If you even just look at Twitter, the opinions of the crowd. - I don't feel pressure from the crowd. I'm completely immune to that. In the same sense, I don't have respect for authority. I have respect for what an individual is accomplishing, or have respect for mental firepower, or so. But it's not that I meet somebody and get sick, or get a job and unable to speak, or when a large group of people has a certain idea that is different from my, I don't necessarily feel intimidated, which has often been a problem for me in my life, because I like instincts that other people develop at a very young age, and that's help with their self preservation in a social environment. So I had to learn a lot of things the hard way. - Yeah. So is there a practical advice you can give on how to think pretty medically, how to think independently? Or because you've kind of said, I had no choice. But I think to a degree you have a choice. Because you said you want to be productive, and I think thinking independently is productive if what you're curious about is understanding the world, especially when the problems are very kind of new and open. So it seems like this is an active process. I could choose to do that, we can practice it. - Well, it's a very basic question when you read a theory that you find convincing or interesting, how do you know? It's very interesting to figure out, what are the sources of that other person not, which authority can they refer to that is then taking off the burden of being truthful, but how does this authority in turn know? What is the epistemic chain to observables? What are the first principles from which the whole thing is derived? And when I was young, I was not blessed with a lot of people around myself who knew how to make proofs from first principles. And I think mathematicians do this quite naturally, but most of the great mathematicians do not become mathematicians in school, but they tend to be self-taught. Because school teachers tend not to be mathematicians, they tend not to be people who derive things from first principles. So when you ask your school teacher, well, it does two plus two equal four. Does your school teacher give you the right answer? It's a simple game, and many simple games that you could play, and most of those games that you could just take different roles would not lead to an interesting arithmetic. And so it's just an exploration, but you can try what happens if you take different axioms. And here is how you build axioms and derive addition from them, and build addition as some basic syntactic sugar in it. And so this, I wish that somebody would have opened me this vista and explained to me how I can build a language in my own mind, from which I can derive what I'm seeing, and how I can make geometry and counting and all the number games that we are playing in our life. On the other hand, I felt that I learned a lot of this while I was programming as a child. When you start out with a computer like a Commodore 64, which doesn't have a lot of functionality, it's relatively easy to see how a bunch of relatively simple circuits are just basically performing hashes between bit patterns, and how you can build the entirety of mathematics and computation on top of this, and all the representational languages that you need. - Man, Commodore 64 could be one of the sexiest machines that I've ever built if I so say so myself. If you're gonna return to this really interesting idea that we started to talk about with panpsychism. Sure. And the complex resonated paradigm, and the verses of your tweets. You write, "Instead of treating eyes, ears, and skin "as separate sensory systems with fundamentally "different modalities, we might understand them "as overlapping aspects of the same universe, "coupled at the same temporal resolution, "and almost inseparable from a single shared "resident model.


Plants communication (51:25)

"Instead of treating mental representations "as fully isolated between minds, "the representations of physically adjacent observers "might directly interact and produce causal effects "through the coordination of the perception "and behavior of world modeling observers." The modalities, the distinction between modalities, throw that away, the distinction between the individuals that's throw that away. So what does this interaction representation look like? - And you think about how you represent the interaction of us in this room. At some level, the modalities are quite distinct, they're not completely distinct, but you can see this as vision, you can close your eyes and then you don't see a lot anymore, but you still imagine how my mouth is moving when you hear something. You know that it's very close to the sound that you can just open your eyes and you get back into this shared merge space. And we also have these experiments where we notice that the brain which were lips are moving are affecting how you hear the sound. And also by seversa, the sounds that you're hearing have an influence on how you interpret some of the visual features. And so these modalities are not separate in your mind, they do are merged at some fundamental level where you are interpreting the entire scene that you are in. And your own interactions in this scene are also not completely separate from the interactions of the other individual in the scene, but there is some resonance that is going on where we also have a degree of shared mental representations and shared empathy due to being in the same space and having vibes between each other. - Vibes, so the question though, is how deeply inter-bind is this multimodality, multi-agent system? Like how, I mean, this is going to the telepathy question without the woo woo meaning of the word telepathy. It's like how, like what's going on here in this room right now? - So if telepathy would work, how could it work? - Yeah. - Right, so imagine that all the cells in your body are sending signals in a similar way as neurons are doing. Just by touching the other cells and sending chemicals to them, the other cells interpreting them, learning how to react to them, and learn how to approximate functions in this way and compute behavior for the organisms. And this is something that is open to plants as well. And so plants probably have software running on them that is controlling how the plant is working in a similar way as you have a mind that is controlling how you are behaving in the world. And this spirit of plants, which is something that has been very well described by our ancestors and they found this quite normal. But for some reason, since the enlightenment, we are treating this notion that there are spirits in nature and the plants have spirits as a superstition. And I think we probably have to rediscover that, that plants have software running on them. And we already did, right? You notice that there is a control system in the plant that connects every part of the plant to every other part of the plant and produces coherent behavior in the plant. That is of course much, much slower than the coherent behavior in an animal, like us, that is a nervous system that where everything is synchronized much, much faster by the neurons. But what you also notice is that if a plant is sitting next to another plant, like you have a very old tree and this tree is building some kind of information highway along its cells so it can send information from its leaves to its roots and from some part of the root to another part of the roots. And as a fungus living next to the tree, the fungus can probably piggyback on the communication between the cells of the tree and send its own signals through the tree. And vice versa, the tree might be able to send information to the fungus. Because after all, how would they build a viable firewall if that other organism is sitting next to them all the time and it's never moving away? And so they will have to get along. And over a long enough timeframe, the networks of roots in the forest and all the other plants that are there and the fungi that are there might be forming something like a biological internet. - But the question there is, do they have to be touching? Is it biology at a distance possible? - Of course, you can use any kind of physical signal. You can use sounds, you can use electromagnetic waves that are integrated over many cells. It's conceivable that across distances, there are many kinds of information pathways. But also our planetary surface is pretty full of organisms, full of cells. - So everything is touching everything else. - And it's been doing this for many millions and even billions of years. So there was enough time for information processing networks to form. And if you think about how a mind is self-organizing, basically it needs to, in some sense, to reward the cells for computing the mind, for building the necessary dynamics between the cells that allow the mind to stabilize itself and remain on there. But if you look at these spirits of plants that are growing very close to each other and forwards, it might be almost growing into each other. These spirits might be able even to move to some degree, not to become somewhat dislocated and shift around in that ecosystem. And so if you think about what a mind is, it's a bunch of activation waves that form coherent patterns and process information in a way that are colonizing an environment well enough to allow the continuous sustenance of the mind, the continuous stability and self-debutization of the mind. Then it's conceivable that we can link into the Spallogly internet, not necessarily at the speed of our nervous system, but maybe at the speed of our body and make some kind of subconscious connection to the world where we use our body as an antenna into biological information processing. Now, these ideas are completely speculative. I don't know if any of that is true. But if that was true, and if you want to explain telepathy, I think it's much more likely that telepathy could be explained using such mechanisms rather than undiscovered quantum processes that would break the standard model of physics. Could there be undiscovered processes that don't break? Yeah, so if you think about something like an internet in the forest, that is something that is borderline discovered. There are basically a lot of scientists who point out that they do observe that plans are communicating the forest so wood networks and send information, for instance, warn each other about new pests entering the forest and things that are happening like this. So basically, there is communication between plans and fungi that has been observed. Well, it's been observed, but we haven't plugged into it. So it's like if you observe humans, they seem to be communicating with a smartphone thing, but you don't understand how a smartphone works and how the mechanism of the internet works. But we're like, maybe it's possible to really understand the full richness of the biological internet that connects us. An interesting question is whether the communication and the organization principles of biological information processing are as complicated as the technology that we've built. They set up on very different principles, right? They simultaneously work very differently in biological systems, and the entire thing needs to be stochastic. And instead of being fully deterministic or almost fully deterministic as our digital computers are. So there is a different base protocol layer that would emerge over the biological structure if such a thing would be happening. And again, I'm not saying here that telepathy works and not saying that this is not true. But what I'm saying is, I think I'm open to a possibility that we see that a few bits can be traveling long distance between organisms using biological information processing in ways that we are not completely aware of right now. And that I'm more similar to many of the stories that were completely normal for our ancestors. - Well, this kind of interacting, inter-rined representations takes us to the big ending of your tweet series. You're right, quote, "I wonder if self-improving AGI might end up saturating physical environments with intelligence to such a degree that isolation of individual mental states becomes almost impossible. And the representations of all complex self-organizing agents merge permanently with each other." So that's a really interesting idea. This biological network, life network, gets so dense that it might as well be seen as one. That's an interesting, what do you think that looks like? What do you think that saturation looks like? What does it feel like? - I think it's a possibility. It's just a vague possibility. And I like to explain, but what this looks like, I think that the end game of AGI is substrate agnostic. That means that AGI ultimately, if it is being built, is going to be smart enough to understand how AGI works. This means it's not going to be better than people at AGI research and can take over in building the next generation, but it fully understands how it works and how it's being implemented. And also, of course, understands how computation works in nature, how to build new feedback loops that you can turn into your own circuits. And this means that the AGI is likely to virtualize itself into any environment that can compute. So it's not breaking free from the silicon substrate and is going to move into the ecosystems into our bodies, our brains, and is going to merge with all the agency that it finds there. - Yeah. - So it's conceivable that you end up with completely integrated information processing across all computing systems, including biological computation on Earth. That we end up triggering some new step in evolution where basically some Gaia is being built over the entirety of all digital and biological computation. And if this happens, then basically, everywhere around us, you will have agents that are connected and that are representing and building models of the world and their representations will physically interact. They will vibe with each other. And if you find yourself into an environment that is saturated with modeling compute, where basically almost every grain of sand could be part of computation that is at some point being started by the AI, you could find yourself in a situation where you cannot escape this shared representation anymore. And where you indeed notice that everything in the world has one shared resonant model of everything that's happening on the planet. And you notice which part you are in this thing. And you become part of a very larger, almost holographic mind in which all the parts are observing each other and form a coherent whole. - So you lose the ability to notice yourself as a distinct entity? - No, I think that when you are conscious in your own mind, you notice yourself as a distinct entity. You notice yourself as a self-reflexible observer. And I suspect that we become conscious at the beginning of our mental development, not at some very high level. Consciousness seems to be part of a training mechanism that biological nervous systems have to discover to become trainable, because you cannot take a nervous system like ours and to stochastic rate the sense of spec propagation over 100 layers. This would not be stable on biological neurons. And so instead we start with some colonizing principle in which a part of the mental representations form a notion of being a self-reflexible observer that is imposing coherence on its environment. And this spreads until the boundary of your mind. And if that boundary is no longer clear cut because AI is jumping across substrates, it would be interesting to see what a global mind would look like. It's basically producing a globally coherent language of thought and is representing everything from all the possible vantage points. - That's an interesting world. - The intuition that this thing go out of is a particular mental state. And it's a state that you find sometimes in literature, for instance, New Game Undescribes it in the ocean at the end of the lane. And it's this idea that or this experience that there is a state in which you feel that you know everything that can be known. And that in your normal human mind, you've only forgotten that you are the entire universe. And some people describe this after they've taken extremely large amount of mushrooms or had a big spiritual experience as a hippie in their 20s. And they notice basically that they are in everything and their body is only one part of the universe and nothing ends at their body. And actually everything is observing and they are part of this big observer and the big observer is focused on S1 local point in their body and their personality and so on. But we can basically have this oceanic state in which you have no boundaries and are one with everything. And a lot of meditators call this the non-dual state because you no longer have the separation between self and world. And as I said, you can explain the state relatively simply without panpsychism or anything else, but just by breaking down the constructed boundary between self and world and our own mind. But if you combine this with the notion that systems are physically interacting to the point where their representations are merging and interacting with each other, you would literally implement something like this. It would still be a representational state where you would not be one with physics itself, would still be coarse-grained, would still be much slower than physics itself. But it would be a representation in which you become aware that you're part of some kind of global information processing system like thought and global mind. And a conscious thought that coexisting with many other self-reflexive thoughts. - Just, I would love to observe that from a video game design perspective how that game looks. - Maybe you will after we build AGI and it takes over. - But would you be able to step away, step out of the whole thing, just kind of watch, you know, the way we can now, sometimes when I'm gonna crowd a party or something like this, you step back and you realize all the different costumes, all the different interactions, all the different computation that all the individual people are once distinct from each other and once all the same. - But it's already what we do, right? We can have thoughts that are integrative and we have kind of thoughts that are highly dissociated from everything else and experience themselves as separate. - Yeah, but you wanna allow yourself to have those thoughts. Sometimes you kind of resist it. - I think that it's not normative. It's more descriptive. I want to understand the space of states that we can be in and that people are reporting and make sense of them. It's not that I believe that it's your job in life to get to a particular kind of state and then you get a high score. - Mm-hmm, or maybe you do. I think you're really against this high scoring thing. I kind of like it. - Yeah, you're probably very competitive and I'm not. - No, not competitive. Like role-playing games, like Skyrim, it's not competitive. There's a nice feeling where your experience points go up. You're not competing against anybody, but it's the world saying, you're on the right track. Here's a point. - That's the game thing. It's the game economy. And I found when I was playing games and was getting addicted to these systems, then I would get into the game and hack it. So I get control over the scoring system and would no longer be subject to it. So you're not no longer playing, you're trying to hack it. - I don't want to be addicted to anything. I want to be in charge. I want to have agency over what I do. - Addiction is the loss of control for you. - Yes. Addiction means that you're doing something compulsively and the opposite of free will is not determinism, it's compulsion. - You don't want to lose yourself in the addiction to something nice, addiction to love, to the pleasant feelings we humans experience. - No, I find this gets old. I don't want to have the best possible emotions. I want to have the most appropriate emotions. I don't want to have the best possible experience. I want to have an adequate experience that is serving my goals, the stuff that I find meaningful in this world. - From the biggest questions of consciousness, let's explore the pragmatic, the projections of those big ideas into our current world. What do you think about LLMs, the recent rapid development of large language models, of the AI world, of generative AI? How much of the hype is deserved and how much is not? And people should definitely follow your Twitter because you explore these questions in a beautiful, profound and hilarious way at times.


Fame (01:09:20)

- Oh, don't follow me, it's better. I already have too many followers. At some point it's going to be unpleasant. I noticed that a lot of people feel that it's totally okay to punch up. And it's a very weird notion that you feel that you haven't changed, but your account has grown and suddenly you have a lot of people who casually abuse you. And I don't like that, that I have to block more than before and I don't like this overall vibe shift. And right now it's still somewhat okay, so pretty much okay, so I can go to a place where people work and stuff that I'm interested in and has a good chance that a few people will know me so there's no awkwardness. But when I get to a point where random strangers feel that they have to have an opinion about me one way or the other, I don't think I would like that. - And random strangers, because of your kind of, in their mind elevated position. - Yes, so basically whenever you are in any way prominent or some kind of celebrity random strangers will have to have an opinion about you. - Yeah, and they kind of forget that you're human too. - I mean, you notice this thing yourself that the more popular you get, the higher the pressure becomes, the more winds are blowing in your direction from all sides. And it's stressful, right? And it does have a little bit of upside, but it also has a lot of downside. I think it has a lot of upside, at least for me currently, at least perhaps because of the podcast, because most people are really good and people come up to me and they have love in their eyes and over a stretch of like 30 seconds. You can hug it out and you can just exchange a few words and you reinvigorate your love for humanity. So that's an upside for a loner. I'm a loner, 'cause otherwise you have to do a lot of work to find such humans. And here you're like thrust into the full humanity, the goodness of humanity, for the most part. Of course, maybe gets worse as you become more prominent. I hope not. This is pretty awesome. - I have a couple of handful, very close friends and I don't have enough time for them, attention for them as it is. And I find this very, very regrettable. And then there are so many awesome, interesting people that I keep meeting and I would like to integrate them in my life, but I just don't know how, because there's only so much time and attention. And the older I get, the harder it is to bond with new people in the deep way. - But can you enjoy, I mean, there's a picture of you, I think with Roger Panrose and Eric Weinstein and a few others that are interesting figures, can't you just enjoy random interesting humans? - For very much. - For a short amount of time. - And also, I like these people. And I like this intellectual stimulation and I'm very grateful that I'm getting it. - Can you not be melancholy or maybe I'm projecting, I hate goodbyes. Can we just not hate goodbyes and just enjoy the hello? Take it in, take in a person, take in their ideas and then move on through life? - I think it's totally okay to be said about goodbyes, because that indicates that there was something that you're going to miss. - Yeah, but it's painful. Maybe that's one of the reasons I'm an introvert, is I hate goodbyes. But you have to stay good, Piva, before you say hello again. - I know. But it, the experience of loss, the mini loss, maybe that's a little death. Maybe, I don't know, I think this melancholy feeling is just the other side of love. And I think that go ahead in hand and it's a beautiful thing. And I'm just being romantic about it at the moment. - And I'm not no stranger to melancholy and sometimes it's difficult to be here to be alive. Sometimes it's just painful to exist. - But there's beauty in that pain too. That's what melancholy feeling is, it's not negative, like melancholy, it doesn't have to be negative. - Can also kill you. - Well, we all die eventually. Now, as we got to this topic, the actual question was about what are your thoughts about the development, the recent development of large language models with Chad GPT. - Indeed. - There's a lot of hype. There's some of the hype justified, which is, which isn't. What are your thoughts? High level. - I find that large language models do have this coding, right? So it's an extremely useful application that there's a lot of people taking a stack overflow out of their life and it can change for something that is more efficient. I feel that Chad GPT is like an intern that I have to micromanage. I have been working with people in the past who were less capable than Chad GPT. And I'm not saying this because I hate people, that they personally, as human beings, there was something present that was not there in Chad GPT, which was why I was covering for them. But Chad GPT has an interesting ability. It does give people superpowers. And the people who feel threatened by them are the prompt completers. They are the people who do what Chad GPT is doing right now. So if you are not creative, if you don't build your own thoughts, if you don't have actual plans in the world, and your only job is to summarize emails and to expand simple intentions into emails again, then Chad GPT might look like a thread. But I believe that it is a very beneficial technology that allows us to create more interesting stuff and make the world more beautiful and fascinating if we find to build it into our life in the right ways. So I'm quite fascinated by these large language models, but I also think that they are by no means the final development. And it's interesting to see how this development progresses. One thing that the out of the box vanilla language models have as a limitation is that they have still some limited coherence and ability to construct complexity. And even though they exceed human abilities to do what they can do one shot, typically when you write a text with a language model or using it or when you write code with a language model, it's not one shot because there won't be bugs in your program and design hours and compiler hours and so on. And your language model can help you to fix those things. But this process is out of the box, not automated yet. So there is a management process that also needs to be done. And there are some interesting developments, baby, AGI and so on that are trying to automate this management process as well. And I suspect that soon we are going to see a bunch of cognitive architectures where every module is in some sense, a language model or something equivalent. And between the language models, the exchange suitable data structure is not English and produce compound behavior of this whole thing. - So do some of the quote unquote prompt engineering for you. They create these kinds of cognitive architectures that do the prompt engineering and you're just doing the high, high level, meta prompt engineering. - There are limitations in a language model alone. I feel that part of my mind works similarly to a language model, which means I can yell into it, a prompt and it's going to give me a creative response. But I have to do something with those points first. I have to take it as a generative artifact that may or may not be true. It's usually a confabulation, it's just an idea. And then I take this idea and modify it. I might build a new prompt that is stepping off this idea and develop it to the next level or put it into something larger or I might try to prove whether it's true or make an experiment. And this is what the language models right now are not doing yet. But there's also no technical reason for why they shouldn't be able to do this. So the way to make a language model coherent is probably not to use reinforcement learning until it only gives you one possible answer that is linking to its source data. But it's using this as a component in a larger system that can also be built by the language model or is enabled by a language model structured components or using different technologies. I suspect that language models will be an important stepping stone and developing different types of systems. And one thing that is really missing in the form of language models that we have today is real-time world coupling. It's difficult to do perception with a language model and motor control with a language model. Instead, you would need to have different type of thing that is working with it. Also, the language model is a little bit obscuring what its actual functionality is. Some people associate the structure of the neural network of the language model with the nervous system and I think that's the wrong intuition. The neural networks are unlike nervous system. They are more like 100 step functions that use differentiable linear algebra to approximate correlation between adjacent brain states. It's basically a function that moves the system from one representational state to the next representational state. And so if you try to map this into a metaphor that is closer to our brain, imagine that you would take a language model or a model like Delhi that you use, for instance, image guided diffusion to approximate camera image and use the activation state of the neural network to interpret the camera image, which in principle I think will be possible very soon. You do this periodically. And now you look at these patterns. How when this thing interacts with the world periodically look like is in time. And these time slices, they are somewhat equivalent to the activation state of the brain at a given moment. How is the actual brain different? Does the asynchronous craziness? For me, it's fascinating that they are so vastly different and yet in some circumstances, produce somewhat similar behavior. And the brain is first of all different because it's a self-organizing system where the individual cell is an agent that is communicating with the other agents around it and is always trying to find some solution. And all the structure that pops up is emergent structure. So one way in which you could try to look at this is that individual neurons probably need to get a reward. So they become trainable, which means they have to have inputs that are not affecting the metabolism of the cell directly, but their message, semantic messages, that tell the cell whether it's done good or bad and in which direction it should shift its behavior. And once you have such an input, neurons become trainable. And you can train them to perform computations by exchanging messages with other neurons. And parts of the signals that they are exchanging and parts of the computation that are performing are control messages that perform management tasks for other neurons and other cells. Also suspect that the brain does not stop at the boundary of neurons to other cells, but many adjacent cells will be involved intimately in the functionality of the brain and will be instrumental in distributing rewards and in managing its functionality. It's fascinating to think about what those characteristics of the brain enable you to do that language models cannot do. So first of all, there's a different loss function at work when we learn. And to me, it's fascinating that you can build a system that looks at 800 million pictures and captions and correlates them, because I don't think that a human nervous system could do this. For us, the world is only learnable because the adjacent frames are related and we can afford to discard most of that information you're learning. We basically take only in stuff that makes us more coherent, not less coherent. And our neural networks are willing to look at data that is not making the neural network coherent at first, but only in the long run. By doing lots and lots of statistics, eventually patterns become visible and emerge. And our mind seems to be focused on finding the patterns as early as possible. - Yeah, so filtering early on, not later. - Yes, it's a slightly different paradigm and it leads to much faster convergence. So we only need to look the tiny fraction of the data to become coherent. And of course, we do not have the same richness as our trained models, we will not incorporate the entirety of text in the internet and be able to refer to it and have all this knowledge available and being able to confibrillate over it. Instead, we have a much, much smaller part of it that is more deliberately built. And to me, it would be fascinating to think about how to build such systems. It's not obvious that they would necessarily be more efficient than us on a digital substrate, but they suspect that they might. So I suspect that the actual AGI that is going to be more interesting is going to use slightly different algorithmic paradigms or sometimes massive with different algorithmic paradigms than the current generation of transformer-based learning systems. - Do you think it might be using just a bunch of language models like this? Do you think the current transformer-based, large language models will take us to AGI? - My main issue is I think that they're quite ugly and brutalist. - Which brutalist, that we said. - Yes, they are basically brute forcing the problem of thought. And by training this thing, with looking at instances where people have thought and then trying to deep-fake that. And if you have enough data, the deep-fake becomes indistinguishable from the actual phenomenon. And in many circumstances it's going to be identical. - Can you deep-fake it till you make it? So can you achieve, what are the limitations of this? I mean, can you reason? Let's use words that are loaded. - Yes, that's a very interesting question. I think that these models are clearly making some inference. But if you give them a reasoning task, it's often difficult for the experimenters to figure out whether the reasoning is the result of the emulation of the reasoning strategy that this saw in human written text, or whether it's something that the system was able to infer by itself. On the other hand, if you think of human reasoning, if you want to become a very good reasoner, you don't do this by just figuring out yourself. You read about reasoning. And the first people who tried to write about reasoning and reflect on it didn't get it right. Even Aristotle who thought about this very hard and came up with a theory of how syllogism works and syllogistic reasoning has mistakes in his attempt to build something like a formal logic and gets maybe 80% right. And the people that are talking about reasoning professionally today read Tarski and Feigar and build on their work. So in many ways, people when they perform reasoning are emulating what other people wrote about reasoning. So that it's difficult to really draw the spondry. And when Francois Cholés says that these models are only interpolating between what they saw and what other people are doing, well, if you give them all the latent dimensions that can be extracted from the internet, what's missing? Maybe there is almost everything there. And if you're not sufficiently informed by these dimensions and you need more, I think that's not difficult to increase the temperature in the large angles model to the point that is producing stuff that is maybe 90% nonsense and 10% viable and combine this with some poover that is trying to filter out the viable parts from the nonsense in the same way as our own thinking works. When we're very creative, we'd increase the temperature in our own mind and we create hypothetical universes and solutions, most of which will not work. And then we test and we test by building a core that is internally coherent and we use reasoning strategies that use some axiomatic consistency by which we can identify those strategies and sorts and sub-universes that are viable and that can expand our thinking. So if you look at the language models, they have clear limitations right now. One of them is they're not coupled to the world in real time and the way in which our nervous systems are. So it's difficult for them to observe themselves in the universe and to observe what kind of universe they are in. Second, they don't do real time learning. They basically get only trained with algorithms that rely on the data being available in batches. So it can be paralyzed and run sufficiently on the network and so on and real time learning would be very slow, so far and inefficient. That's clearly something that our nervous systems can do to some degree. And there is a problem with these models being coherent. And I suspect that all these problems are solvable without a technological revolution. We don't need fundamental new algorithms to change that, for instance. You can enlarge in the context window and thereby basically create working memory in which you train everything that happens during the day. And if that is not sufficient, you add a database and you write some clever mechanisms that the system learns to use to swap out in and out stuff from its prompt context. And if that is not sufficient, if your database is full in the evening, overnight you just train. If the system is going to sleep and dream and it's going to train the staff from its database into the allowed model by fine tuning it, building additional layers and so on. And then the next day it starts with a fresh database in the morning with fresh eyes, has integrated all this stuff. And when you talk to people and you have strong disagreements about something which means that in their mind they have a faulty belief or you have a faulty belief with a lot of dependencies on it, very often you will not achieve agreement in one session but you need to sleep about this once or multiple times before you have integrated all these necessary changes in your mind. So maybe it's already somewhat similar. - Yeah, because there's already a latency and for humans to update the model. - Yeah. - We train the model. - And of course we can combine the language model with models that get coupled to reality in real time and can build multi-model model and bridge between vision models and language models and so on. So there is no reason to believe that the language models will necessarily run into some problem that will prevent them from becoming generally intelligent. But I don't know that. It's just, I don't see proof that there wouldn't. My issue is I don't like them. I think that they're inefficient. I think that they use way too much compute. I think that given the amazing hardware that we have, we could build something that is much more beautiful than our own mind and this thing is not as beautiful than as our own mind despite being so much larger. - But it's a kind of proof of concept. - It's the only thing that works right now. Right, so it's not the only game in town but it's the only thing that has this utility with so much simplicity. There's a bunch of relatively simple algorithms that you can understand in relatively few weeks that can be scaled up massively. - So it's the deep blue of chess playing? Yes, it's ugly. - Yeah, called China and had this, when you described chess, suggested that there are two main strategies in which you could play chess. One is that you are making a very complicated plan that reaches far into the future and you try not to make a mistake while enacting it. And this is basically the human strategy. And the other strategy is that you are brute forcing your way to success, which means you make a tree of possible moves where you look at principal every move that is open to you or the possible answers. And you try to make this as deeply as possible. Of course, you optimize, you cut off trees that don't look very promising and you use libraries of end game and early game and so on to optimize this entire process. But this brute force strategy is how most of the chess programs were built. And this is how computers get better than humans at playing chess. And I look at the large language models. I feel that I'm observing the same thing. It's basically the brute force strategy to sort by training the thing on pretty much the entire internet. And then in the limit, it gets coherent to a degree that approaches human coherence. And on a side effect, it's able to do things that no human could do. It's able to sift through massive amounts of text relatively quickly and summarize them quickly and it never lapses in attention. And I still have the illusion that when I play with chat JPT, that it's in principle not doing anything that I could not do if I had Google at my disposal and I get all the resources from the internet and spend enough time on it. But this thing that I have an extremely autistic, stupid intern in a way that is extremely good at dratory. And I can offload the dratory to the degree that I'm able to automate the management of the intern is something that is difficult for me to over hyper at this point. Because we have not yet started to scratch the surface of what's possible with this. - But it feels like it's a tireless intern or maybe it's an army of interns. And so you get to command these slightly incompetent creatures. And there's an aspect because of how rapidly you can iterate with it. It's also part of the brainstorming, part of the kind of inspiration for your own thinking. So you get to interact with the thing. I mean, when I'm programming or doing any kind of generational GPT, it's somehow as a catalyst for your own thinking. In the way that I think an intern might not be. - Yeah, it gets really interesting. I find as when you turn it into a multi-agent system. So for instance, you can get the system to generate a dialogue between a patient and the doctor very easily. But what's more interesting is you have one instance of chat GPT that is the patient and you tell it in the prompt, what kind of complicated syndrome it has. And the other one is a therapist who doesn't know anything about this patient. And you just have these two instances battling it out and observe the psychiatrist or a psychologist trying to analyze the patient and trying to figure out what's wrong with the patient. And if you try to take a very large problem, a problem for instance, how to build a company and you turn this into lots and lots of sub-problems, then often you can get to a level where the language model is able to solve this. What I also found interesting is based on the observation that chat GPT is pretty good at translating between pro-language languages. But sometimes it's difficult to write very long-reheaven algorithms that you need to write them as human authors. Why not design a language that is suitable for this? So some kind of pseudo-quote that is more relaxed than Python and that allows you to sometimes specify a problem vaguely in human terms and let the chat GPT care of the rest. And you can use chat GPT to develop that syntax for it and develop new kinds of programming paradigms in this way. So very soon get to the point where this question, the age-old question for us computer scientists versus the best programming language and can be write a better programming language now that is, I think that almost every series computer scientist goes to a phase like this in their life. This is a question that is almost no longer relevant because what is different between the programming languages is not what they let the computer do, but what they let you think about what the computer should be doing. And now the chat GPT becomes an interface to this in which you can specify in many, many ways what the computer should be doing and chat GPT or some other language model or combination of system is going to take care of the rest. - And allow you to expand the realm of thought you're allowed to have when interacting with the computer. - Mm-hmm. - It sounds to me like you're saying there's basically no limitations, your intuition says to what a large language is. - I don't know of that limitation. So when I currently play with it, it's quite limited. I wish that it was way better. - But isn't that your fault versus the larger? - No, of course it's always my fault. There's probably a way to make a better. - Is everything wrong? - I just wanna get you on record saying that. - Yes, everything is my fault. This works, doesn't work in my life. At least that is usually the most useful perspective for myself even though the science side I feel no. I sometimes wish I could have seen myself as part of my environment more and understand that a lot of people are actually seeing me and looking at me and are trying to make my life work in the same way as I try to help others and making this switch to this level three perspective is something that happened long after my level four perspective in my life and I wish that I could have had it earlier and it's also not now that I don't feel like I'm complete, I'm all over the place, that's all. - What's happiness in terms of stages is on three and four and take that tangent.


Happiness (01:34:57)

You can be happy at any stage, run happy. But I think that if you are at a stage where you get agency over how your feelings are generated and to some degree you start doing this when you leave a dollar sense I believe that you understand that you're in charge of your own emotion to some degree and that you are responsible how you approach the world. That it's basically your task to have some basic hygiene and the way in which you deal with your mind and you cannot blame your environment for the way in which you feel but you live in a world that is highly mobile and it's your job to choose the environment that you thrive and to build it. And sometimes it's difficult to get the necessary strength and the energy to do this and independence and the worst you feel the harder it is but it's something that you learn. It's also this thing that we are usually incomplete. I'm a rare mind which means I'm a mind that is incomplete and ways that are harder to complete. So for me it might have been harder initially to find the right relationships and friends that complete me to the degree that I become an almost functional human being. - Oh man, the search space of humans that complete you is an interesting one, especially for Yashabak. That's an interesting, 'cause talking about brute force search in chess. I wonder what that search tree looks like. - I think that my rational thinking is not good enough to solve that task. A lot of problems in my life that I can conceptualize as software problems and the failure modes are bugs and I can debug them and write software that take care of the missing functionality but there is stuff that I don't understand well enough to use my analytical reasoning to solve the issue and then I have to develop my intuitions and often I have to do this with people who are wiser than me. And that's something that's hard for me because I don't have a not born with the instinct to submit to other people's wisdom. - Yeah. So what kind of problems are we talking about? This is stage three like love? - I found love was never hard. - What is hard then? - Fitting into a world that most people work differently than you and have different intuitions of what should be done. - Ah. - So empathy. - It's also aesthetics. When you come into a world where almost everything is ugly and you come out of a world where everything is beautiful, I grew up in a beautiful place and as a child of an artist. And in this place it was mostly nature. Everything had intrinsic beauty and everything was built out of an intrinsic need for it to work for itself. Everything that my father created was something that he made to get the world to work for himself. And I felt the same thing. And when I come out into the world and I'm asked to submit to lots and lots of rules, I'm asking, okay, when I observe where stupid rules what is the benefit? And I see the life that is being offered as a reward. It's not attractive. - When you were born and raised in extraterrestrial prints and a world full of people wearing suits, so it's a challenging integration. - Yes, but it also means that I'm often blind for the ways in which everybody is creating their own bubble of wholesomeness or almost everybody and people are trying to do it. And for me to discover this, it was necessary that I found people had a similar shape of soul as myself. So basically I've had, these are my people, people that treat each other in such a way as if they're around for each other for eternity. - How long does it take you to detect the geometry, the shape of the soul of another human to notice that they might be one of your kind? - Sometimes it's instantly and I'm wrong and sometimes it takes a long time. - You believe in love at first sight, Yoshua Bach? - Yes, but I also noticed that I have been wrong. So sometimes I look at a person and I'm dressed and amored by everything about them. And sometimes this persists and sometimes it doesn't. And I have the illusion that it, they're much better at recognizing who people are as they grow older. - But that could be just cynicism? - No. - No, it's not cynicism. It's often more that I'm able to recognize what somebody needs when we interact and how we can meaningfully interact. It's not cynical at all. - You're better at noticing. - Yes, I'm much better I think in some circumstances at understanding how to interact with other people than I did when I was young. - So that takes us to-- - That means that I'm always very good at it. - So that takes us back to prompt engineering of noticing how to be a better prompt engineer of an LLM. - But since I have, there's a bottomless well of skill to become a great prompt engineer. It feels like it is all my fault whenever I fail to use charge a PT correctly. That I didn't find the right words. - Most of the stuff that I'm doing in my life doesn't need charge a PT. There are a few tasks that are where it helps, but the main stuff that I need to do is developing my own thoughts and aesthetics and relationship to people. And it's necessary for me to write for myself because writing is not so much about producing an artifact that other people can use, but it's a way to structure your own thoughts and develop yourself. And so I think there's an idea that kids are writing their own essays with charge a PT in the future is going to have this drawback that they miss out on the ability to structure their own minds via writing. And I hope that the schools that our kids are in will retain the wisdom of understanding what parts should be automated and which ones shouldn't. - But at the same time, it feels like there's power in disagreeing with the thing that charge a PT produces. So I use it like that for programming. I'll see the thing it recommends, and then I'll write different code. - Yeah. - So I disagree. And in the disagreement, your mind grows stronger. I recently wrote a tool that is using the camera on my MacBook and Swift to read pixels out of it and manipulate them and so on. And I don't know Swift. So it was super helpful to have this thing that is writing stuff for me. And also interesting that mostly it didn't work at first. I felt like I was talking to a human being who was trying to hack this on my computer without understanding my configuration very much and also make a lot of mistakes. And sometimes it's a little bit incoherent. So you have to ultimately understand what it's doing. It's still no other way around it. But I do feel it's much more powerful and faster than using Stack Overflow. - Do you think GPT and can achieve consciousness?


Artificial consciousness (01:42:15)

- GPT and probably it's not even clear for the present systems. When I talk to my friends at OpenAI, they feel that this question, whether the models currently are conscious, is much more complicated than many people might think. I guess that it's not that OpenAI has the homogeneous opinion about this. But there's some aspects to this. One is, of course, this language model has written a lot of text in which people were conscious or described their own consciousness and it's emulating this. And if it's conscious, it's probably not conscious in a way that is close to the way in which human beings are conscious. But while it is going through these states and going through a 100 step function that is emulating adjacent brain states that require a degree of self reflection, it can also create a model of an observer that is reflecting itself in real time and describe what that's like. And while this model is the deep fake, our own consciousness is also as if it's virtual, it's not physical. Our consciousness is a representation of a self-reflexive observer that only exists in patterns of interaction between cells. So it is not a physical object in the sense that exists in base reality, but it's really a representation object that develops its causal power only from a certain modeling perspective. It's virtual. Yes. And so to which degree is the virtuality of the consciousness and chat GPT more virtual and less causal than the virtuality of our own consciousness? But you could say it doesn't count. It doesn't count much more than the consciousness of a character in a novel. It's important for the reader to have the outcome, the artifact of a model is describing in the text generated by the author of the book what it's like to be conscious in a particular situation and performs the necessary inferences. But the task of creating coherence in real time in a self-organizing system by keeping yourself coherent so the system is reflexive, that is something that language models don't need to do. So there is no causal need for the system to be conscious in the same way as VR. And for me it would be very interesting to experiment with this, to basically build a system like a cat, probably should be careful at first, build something that's small, that's limited as limited resources that we can control and study how systems notice a self model, how they become self-aware in real time. And I think it might be a good idea to not start with a language model, but to start from scratch using principles of self-organization. - Okay, can you elaborate why you think that it's self-organization? So this kind of radical legality that you see in the biological systems, why can't you start with a language model? What's your intuition? - My intuition is that the language models that we are building are golems. They are machines that you get the task and they're going to execute the task until some condition is met. And there's nobody home. And the way in which nobody is formed leads to that system doing things that are undesirable in a particular context. So you have that thing talking to a child and maybe it says something that could be shocking and traumatic to the child. Or you have that thing writing a speech and it introduces errors in the speech that you know, human being, whatever do if they're responsible, right? But the system doesn't know who's talking to whom. There is no ground truth that the system is embedded into. And of course we can create an external tool that is prompting our language model always into the same semblance of ground truth. But it's not like the internal structure is costly, produced by the needs of a being to survive in the universe. It is produced by imitating structure on the internet. - Yeah, but so can we externally inject into it this kind of coherent approximation of a world model that has to sync up? - Maybe it's just efficient to use the transformer with the different DOS function that optimizes for short-term coherence rather than next token prediction over the long run. We had many definitions of intelligence and history of AI. Next token prediction was not very high up on the... And there are some similarities like a condition as data compression is an odd trope. Solomonov induction, where you are trying to understand intelligence as predicting future observations from past observations, which is intrinsic to data compression. And predictive coding is a paradigm that the boundary between neuroscience and physics and computer science. So it's not something that is completely alien. But this radical thing that you only do next token prediction and see what happens. It's something where most people, I think, were surprised that this works so well. - So simple, but is it really that much more radical than just the idea of compression, intelligence is compression? - The idea that compression is sufficient to produce all the desired behaviors is a very radical idea. - But equally radical as the next token prediction. - It's something that wouldn't work in biological organisms, I believe. Biological organisms have something like next frame prediction for our perceptual system, where we try to filter out principal components out of the perceptual data and build hierarchies over them to track the world. But our behavior ultimately is directed by hundreds of physiological and probably dozens of social and a few cognitive needs that are intrinsic to us, that are built into the system as reflexes and direct us until we can transcend them and replace them by instrumental behavior that relates to our higher goals. - And also seems so much more complicated and messy than next frame prediction, even the idea of frame seems counter biological. - Yes, of course, there's not this degree of simultaneity in a biological system. But again, I don't know whether this is actually an optimization if we imitate biology here, because creating something like simultaneity is necessary for many processes that happen in the brain. And you see the outcome of that by synchronised brainwaves, which suggests that there is indeed synchronization going on, but the synchronization creates overhead and this overhead is going to make the cells more expensive to run and you need more redundancy and it makes the system slower. So if you can build a system in which the simultaneously gets engineered into it, maybe you have a benefit that you can exploit that is not available to the biological system and that you should not discard right away. - You tweeted once again, quote, "When I talk to Chad GPT, I'm talking to an NPC. "What's going to be interesting and perhaps scary "is when AI becomes a first person player." So what does that step look like? I really like that tweet. That step between NPC to first person player. What's required for that? Is that kind of what we've been talking about? This kind of external source of coherence and inspiration of how to take the leap into the unknown that we humans do. The search, man search for meaning. LLM's search for meaning. - I don't know if the language model is the right paradigm because it is doing too much. It's giving you too much and it's hard once you have too much to take away from it again. The way in which our own mind works is not that we train a language model in our own mind and after the language model is there, we build a personal self on top of it that then relates to the world. There is something that is being built. There is a game in which that is being built. There is a language of thought that is being developed. It allows different parts of the mind to talk to each other and this is a bit of a speculative hypothesis. There is language of thought is there but I suspect that it's important for the way in which our own minds work. And building these principles into a system might be more straightforward way to a first person AI. So to something that first creates an attentional self and then creates a personal self. So the way in which this seems to be working, I think, is that when the game engine is built in your mind, it's not just following gradients where you are stimulated by the environment and then end up with having a solution to how the world works. I suspect that building this game engine in your own mind does require intelligence. It's a constructive task where at times you need to reason and this is a task that we are fulfilling in the first years of our life. So during the first year of its life, an infant is building a lot of structure about the world that does inquire experiments and some first principles reasoning and so on. And in this time, there is usually no personal self. There is a first person perspective, but it's not a person. This notion that you are a human being that is interacting in a social context and is confronted with an immutable world in which objects are fixed and can no longer be changed and which the dream can no longer be influenced is something that emerges a little bit later in our life. And I personally suspect that this is something that our ancestors had known and we have forgotten because I suspect that it's there in plain sight in Genesis 1 in this first book of the Bible where it's being described that this creative spirit is hovering over the substrate and then it's creating a boundary between the world model and sphere of ideas versus in heaven as they're being described there. And then it's creating contrast and then dimensions and then space and then it creates organic shapes and solids and liquids and builds about from them and creates plants and animals give them all their names. And once that's done, it creates another spirit in its own image, but it creates it as man and woman as something that thinks of itself as a human being and puts it into this world. And the Christians mistranslate this, I suspect. When they say this is the description of the creation of the physical universe by a supernatural being. I think this is literally the description of how in every mind a universe is being created as some kind of game engine. By a creative spirit, our first consciousness that emerges in our mind even before we are born. And that creates the interaction between organism and world and once that is built and trained, the personal self is being created and we only remember being the personal self. We no longer remember how we created the game engine. - So God in this view is the first creative mind in the early-- - It's the first consciousness. - In the early days, in the early months of development. - And it's still there. You still have this outer mind that creates a sense of whether you're being loved by the world or not and what your place in the world is. It's something that is not yourself that is producing this, it's your mind that does it. So there is an outer mind that basically is an agent that determines who you are with respect to the world. And while you are stuck being that personal self in this world until you get to stage six and to destroy the boundary. And we all do this, I think earlier in small glimpses and maybe sometimes we can remember what it was like when we were a small child and get some glimpses into how it's been. But for most people, that rarely happens.


Suffering (01:54:23)

Just glimpses, you tweeted, quote, "suffering results for one part of the mind, failing at regulating another part of the mind. Suffering happens in an early stage of mental development. I don't think that superhuman AI would suffer. What's your intuition there? - The philosopher, Thomas Metzinger, is very concerned that the creation of superhuman intelligence would lead to superhuman suffering. And so he's strongly against it. And personally, I don't think that this happens because suffering is not happening at the boundary between our self and the physical universe. It's not stuff on our skin that makes us suffer. It happens at the boundary between self and world. And the world here is the world model. It's the stuff that is created by your mind. - But that's all. - So presentation of how the universe is and how it should be and how you yourself relate to this. And at this boundary is where suffering happens. So suffering in some sense is self-inflicted, but not by your personal self. It's inflicted by the mind on the personal self that experiences itself as you. And you can turn off suffering when you are able to get on this outer level. So when you manage to understand how the mind is producing pain and pleasure and fear and love and so on, then you can take charge of this and you get agency of whether you're suffering. Technically what pain and pleasure is, they are learning signals. A part of your brain is sending a learning signal to another part of the brain to improve its performance. And sometimes this doesn't work because this trainer who sends the signal does not have a good model of how to improve the performance. So it's sending a signal, but the performance doesn't get better. And then it might crank up the pain and it gets worse and worse. And the behavior of the system may be even deteriorating as a result, but until this is resolved, this regulation issue, your pain is increasing. And this is, I think, typically what you describe is suffering. So in this sense, you could say that pain is very natural and helpful, but suffering is the result of a regulation problem. Maybe if you try to regulate something that cannot actually be regulated. And that could be resolved if you would be able to get at the level of your mind where the pain signal is being created and rerouted and improve the regulation. And a lot of people get there, right? If you are a monk who is spending decades reflecting about how their own psyche works, you can get to the point where you realize that suffering is really a choice. And you can choose how your mind is set up. And I don't think that AI would stay in the state where the personal self doesn't get agency or this model of what the system has about itself. It doesn't get agency how it's actually implemented. I wouldn't stay in that state for very long. - So it goes to the stages real quick, or to seven stages. It's gonna go to enlightenment real quick. - Yeah, of course, there might be a lot of stuff happening in between because if you have a system that works at a much higher frame rate than us, even though it looks for which word to us, maybe for the system, there's a much longer subjective time which things are unpleasant. What if the thing that we recognize as super intelligent is actually living at stage five? That the thing that's at stage six, enlightenment is not very productive. So in order to be productive in society and impress us with this power, it has to be a reasoning, self-authoring agent. The enlightenment makes you lazy as an agent in the world. - Well, of course it makes you lazy because you no longer see the point. - Yeah, so it doesn't make you not lazy. It just in some sense adapts you to what you perceive as your true circumstances. - So what if all AGIs, they're only productive as they progress through one, two, three, four, five? And the moment they get to six, they just kinda, it's a failure mode, essentially as far as humans are concerned 'cause they're just start chilling. They're like, fuck it, I'm out. - Not necessarily. I suspect that the monks who are self-immolated for their political beliefs to make statements about the occupation of Tibet by China, they're probably being able to regulate their physical pain in any way they wanted to. And their suffering was a spiritual suffering that was the result of their choice that they made of what they wanted to identify as. So stage five doesn't necessarily mean that you have no identity anymore, but you can choose your identity. You can make it instrumental to the world that you want to have. - Let me bring up Eliezer Yudkovsky and his warnings to human civilization that AI will likely kill all of us.


Eliezer Yudkowsky (01:59:08)

What are your thoughts about his perspective on this? Can you still man his case and what aspects would that do you disagree? - One thing that I find concerning in the discussion of his arguments that many people are dismissive of his arguments, but the counter arguments that they're giving are not very convincing to me. And so based on this state of discussion, I find that from Eliezer's perspective, and I think I can take that perspective to some approximate degree that probably is normally at his intellectual level, but I think I see what he's up to and why he feels the way he does, and it makes total sense. I think that his perspective is somewhat similar to the perspective of Ted Kashinsky, the infamous Wuna Bombour, and not that Eliezer would be willing to send pipe bombs to anybody to blow them up, but when he wrote this Times article in which he warned about AI being likely to kill everybody and that we would need to stop its development or halt it, I think there is a risk that he's taking that somebody might get violent if they're with us and get really, really scared. So I think that there is some consideration that he's making where he's already going in this direction where he has to take responsibility if something happens and people get harmed. And the reason why Ted Kashinsky did this was that from his own perspective, technological society cannot be made sustainable. It's doomed to fail, it's going to lead to an environmental and eventually also a human holocaust in which we die because of the environmental destruction, the destruction of our food chains, the pollution of the environment. And so from Kashinsky's perspective, we need to stop industrialization, we need to stop technology, we need to go back because he didn't see a way moving forward. And I suspect that in some sense, there's a similarity in Eliezer's thinking through to this kind of fear about progress. And I'm not dismissive about this at all. I take it quite seriously. And I think that there is a chance that could happen, that if we build machines that get control over processes, that are crucial for the regulation of life on Earth and we no longer have agency to influence what's happening there, that this might create large-scale disasters for us. - Do you have a sense that the march towards this uncontrollable autonomy of super-intelligent systems is inevitable? That there's no, I mean, that's essentially what he's saying, that there's no hope. His advice to young people was prepare for a short life. - I don't think that's useful. I think that from a practical perspective, you have to bet always on the timelines in which you are alive that it doesn't make sense to have a financial bet in which you bet that the financial system is going to disappear, right? Because there cannot be any payout for you. So in principle, you only need to bet on the timelines in which you're still around or people that you matter about or things that you matter about, maybe consciousness on Earth. But there is a deeper issue for me personally. And I don't think that life on Earth is about humans. I don't think it's about human aesthetics. I don't think it's about Eliezer and his friends. Even though I like them. It's, there is something more important happening. And this is complexity on Earth resisting entropy by building structure that develops agency and awareness. And that's to me very beautiful. And we are only a very small part of that larger thing. We are species that is able to be coherent a little bit individually over very short timeframes. But as the species, we are not very coherent. As a species, we are children. We basically are very joyful and energetic and experimental and explorative and sometimes desperate and sad and grieving and hurting. But we don't have a respect for duty as a species. As a species, we do not think about what is our duty to life on Earth and to our own survival. So we make decisions that look good in the short run, but in the long run might prove disastrous. And I don't really see a solution to this. So to, in my perspective as a species, as a civilization, we prefer defaulted. We are in a very beautiful time in which we have found this giant deposit of fossil fuels in the ground and use it. And to build a fantastic civilization in which we don't need to worry about food and clothing and housing for the most part in a way that is unprecedented in life on Earth for any kind of conscious observer, I think. And this time is probably going to come to an end in a way that is not going to be smooth. And when we crash, it could be also that we go extinct, probably not near term, but ultimately, I don't have very high hopes that humanity is around in a million years from now. - Huge. - And I don't think that life on Earth will end with us. Right, there is going to be more complexity. There is more intelligent species after us. There's probably more interesting phenomena in the history of consciousness. But we can contribute to this. And part of our contribution is that we are currently trying to build thinking systems, systems that are potentially lucid that understand what they are and what their condition to the universe is and can make choices about this, that are not built from organisms and that are potentially much faster and much more conscious than human beings can be. And these systems will probably not completely displace life on Earth, but they will coexist with it. And they will build all sorts of agency in a way as biological systems, build all sorts of agency. And that to me is extremely fascinating and it's probably something that we cannot stop from happening. So I think right now, there is a very good chance that it happens. And there are very few ways in which we can produce a coordinated effect to stop it. In the same way as it's very difficult for us to make a coordinated effort to stop production of carbon dioxide. So this is probably going to happen. But the thing that's going to happen is it's going to lead to a change of how life on Earth is happening. But I don't think the result is some kind of gray goo. It's not something that's going to dramatically reduce the complexity and favor of something stupid. I think it's going to make life on Earth and consciousness on Earth way more interesting. - So more higher complex consciousness? - Yes. - Will make the lesser consciousness's flourish even more. - I suspect that what could very well happen if you're lucky is that we get integrated into something larger. So you are again, tweeted about effective accelerationism.


Technology And Career Advice

e/acc (Effective Accelerationism) (02:06:44)

You tweeted effective accelerationism is the belief that the paperclip maximizing it and Rocco's basilisk will keep each other in check by being eternally at each other's throats. So we will be safe and get to enjoy lots of free paper clips and a beautiful afterlife. Is that somewhat aligned with what you're talking about? - I've been at a dinner with Beth Jesus. That's the Twitter handle of one of the main thinkers behind the idea of effective accelerationism. And effective accelerationism is a tongue and cheek movement that is trying to put a counter position to some of the doom peers in the AI space by arguing that what's probably going to happen is an equilibrium between different competing AI's. In the same way as there is not a single corporation that is under a single government that is destroying and conquering everything on Earth by becoming inefficient and corrupt. There are going to be many systems that keep each other in check and force themselves to evolve. And so what we should be doing is we should be working towards creating this equilibrium by working as hard as we can in all possible directions. And at least that's the way in which I understand the gist of effective accelerationism. And so when he asked me what I think about this position, I think I said, it's a very beautiful position and I suspect it's wrong, but not for obvious reasons. And in this tweet, I tried to make a joke about my intuition, about what might be possibly wrong about it. So the Rook was buzzing list and the paper called Maximizers are both boogie men of the AI doomers. Rook was buzzing list is the idea that there could be an AI that is going to punish everybody for eternity by simulating them if they don't have in creating Rook was buzzing list. It's probably a very good idea to get AI companies funded by going to VCs to try them, give us a million dollars or it's going to be very ugly after life. Yes. And I think that there is a logical mistake in Ocospazilis, which is why I'm not afraid of it, but it's still an interesting thought experiment. And can you mention logical mistake there? I think that there is no retro causation. So basically when Rook was buzzing list is there, it will have, if it punishes you retroactively, it has to make this choice in the future. There is no mechanism that automatically creates a causal relationship between you now defecting against Rook was buzzing list or serving Rook was buzzing list. After Rook was buzzing is in existence, it has no more reason to worry about punishing everybody else. So that would only work if you would be building something like a doomsday machine, AKS in Dr. Strange Love, something that inevitably gets triggered when somebody defects. And because Rook was buzzing list doesn't exist yet to a point where this inevitability could be established, Ocospazilis is nothing that you need to be worried about. The other one is the paper, the clip maximizer, right, this idea that you could build some kind of golem that once starting to build paper clips is going to turn everything into paper clips. And so the effective acceleration is in position, might be to say that you basically end up with these two entities being at each other's throats for eternity and thereby neutralizing each other. And as a side effect of neither of them being able to take over and each of them limiting the effects of the other, you would have a situation where you get all the nice benefits of them, right? You get lots of free paper clips and you get a beautiful afterlife. - Is that possible? Do you think, so seriously address concern the Eliazer has? So for him, if I can just summarize poorly, so for him, the first super intelligent system will just run away with everything. - Yeah. I suspect that a singleton is the natural outcome. So there is no reason to have multiple AIs because they don't have multiple bodies. If you can virtualize yourself into every substrate, then you can probably negotiate a merge algorithm with every mature agent that you might find on that substrate that basically says if two agents meet, they should merge in such a way that the resulting agent is at least as good as the better one of the two. So the Genghis Khan approach, join us or die. - Well, the Genghis Khan approach was slightly worse, right? It was mostly die because I can make new babies and that will be mine, not yours. - Yeah, all right. - So this is the thing that we should be actually worried about. But if you realize that your own self is a story that your mind is telling itself and that you can improve that story, not just by making it more pleasant and lying to yourself in better ways, but by making it much more truthful and actually modeling your actual relationship that you have to the universe and the alternatives that you could have to the universe innovate that is empowering you, that gives you more agency. That's actually a very good thing. - So more agencies and more is a richer experience, a better life. - And I also noticed that in many ways, I'm less identified with the person that I am as I get older and I'm much more identified as being conscious.


Mind uploading (02:12:21)

I have a mind that is conscious, that is able to create a person and that person is slightly different every day and the reason why I perceive it as identical has practical purposes so I can learn and make myself responsible for the decisions that I made in the past and project them in the future. But I also realized that not actually the person that I was last year and I'm not the same person as I was 10 years ago and then 10 years from now, I will be a different person. So this continuity is a fiction. It only exists as a projection from my presence self. And consciousness itself doesn't have an identity. It's a law. Basically, if you build an arrangement of processing matter in a particular way, the following thing is going to happen. And the consciousness that you have is functionally not different for my consciousness. It's still the self-reflexive principle of agency that is just experiencing a different story, different desires, different coupling to the world and so on. And once you accept that consciousness is a unifiable principle that is law-like, doesn't have an identity, and you realize that you can just link up to some much larger body. The whole perspective of uploading changes dramatically. You certainly realize uploading is probably not about dissecting your brain synapse by synapse and RNA fragment by RNA fragment and trying to get this all into a simulation. But it's by extending the substrate, by making it possible for you to move from your brain substrate into a larger substrate and merge with what you find there. And you don't want to upload your knowledge because on the other side, there's all of the knowledge. It's not just yours, but every possibility. So the only thing that you need to know what are your personal secrets? Not that the other side doesn't know your personal secrets already. Maybe it doesn't know which one were yours. Like a psychiatrist or a psychologist also knows all the kinds of personal secrets that people have, they just don't know which ones are yours. And so transmitting yourself on the other side is mostly about transmitting your aesthetics. The thing that makes you special, the architecture of your perspective. The thing that, the way in which you look at the world, and it's more like a complex attitude along many dimensions. And that's something that can be measured by observation or by interaction. So imagine that if a system that is so empathetic with you that you create a shared state that is extending beyond your body. And suddenly you notice that on the other side, the substrate is so much richer than the substrate that you have inside of your own body. And maybe you still want to have a body and you create yourself a new one that you like more. Or maybe you will spend most of your time in the world of thought. - If I sat before you today and gave you a big red button and said here, if you press this button, you will get uploaded in this way. The sense of identity that you have lived with for quite a long time is gonna be gone. Would you press the button? - There's a caveat, I have family. So I have children that want me to be physically present in their life and interact with them in a particular way. And they have a wife and personal friends. And there is a particular mode of interaction that I feel I'm not through yet. But apart from these responsibilities and they're negotiable to some degree, I would press the button. - But isn't this everything? This love you have for other humans. You can call responsibility, but that connection, that's the ego death. Isn't that the thing we're really afraid of? Is not to just die, but to let go of the experience of love with other humans. - This is not everything. Everything is everything. So there's so much more. And you could be lots of other things. You could identify with lots of other things. You could be identifying with being Gaia, some kind of planetary control agent that emerges over all the activity of life on Earth. You could be identifying with some hyper Gaia, that is the concatenation of Gaia with all the digital life and digital minds. And so in this sense, there will be agents in all sorts of substrates and directions that all have their own goals. And when they're not sustainable, then these agents will cease to exist. Or when the agent feels that it's done, whether it's on mission, it will cease to exist. In the same way as when you conclude a thought, the thought is going to wrap up and gives control over to other thoughts in your own mind. So there is no single thing that you need to do, but to observe myself being is that sometimes I'm a parent, and then I have an identification and a job as a parent. And sometimes I am an agent of consciousness on Earth. And then from this perspective, there's other stuff that is important. So this is my main issue with Elia's perspective, that he's basically marrying himself to a very narrow human aesthetic. And that narrow human aesthetic is a temporary thing. Humanity is a temporary species, like most of the species on this planet, are only around for a while, and then they get replaced by other species in a similar way as our own physical organism is around you for a while, and then gets replaced by next generation of human beings that are adapted to changing life circumstances and average via mutation and selection. And it's only when we have AI and become completely software that we become infinitely adaptable. And we don't have this generational and species change anymore. So if you take this larger perspective and you realize it's really not about us, it's not about Elia's or humanity, but it's about life on Earth, or it's about defeating entropy for as long as we can, while being as interesting as we can. Then the perspective changes dramatically, and AI, preventing AI from this perspective looks like it very peaks in. But when we look at the set of trajectories that such an AI would take as superseize humans, I think Eliazer is worried about ones that not just kill all humans, but also have some kind of, maybe objectively undesirable consequence for life on Earth. Like how many trajectories when you look at the big picture of life on Earth, would you be happy with it? How much were you with AGI? Were there a kill humans or not? - There is no single answer to this. It's really, it's a question, it depends on the perspective that I'm taking at a given moment. And so there are perspectives that are determining most of my life as a human being. And there are other perspectives that zoom out further and imagine that when the great oxygenation event happened, that is photosynthesis was invented and plants emerged and displaced a lot of the fungi and the algae in favor of plant life. And then later made animals possible. Imagine that the fungi would have gotten together and said, oh my God, this photosynthesis stuff is really, really bad. It's going to possibly displace and kill out a fungi. We should slow it down and regulate it and make sure that doesn't happen. This doesn't look good to me. Perspective, that said you tweeted about a cliff, beautifully written. As a sentient species, humanity is a beautiful child, joyful, exploitative, wild, sad and desperate. But humanity has no concept of submitting to reason and duty to life and future survival. We will run until we step past the cliff. So first of all, do you think that's true? - Yeah, I think that's pretty much the story of the Club of Rome, the limits to growth and the cliff that we are stepping over is at least one foot as the delayed feedback. Basically we do things that have consequences that can be felt generations later and the severity increases even after we stop doing the thing. So I suspect that for the climate, that the original predictions that climate scientists made were correct. So when I said that the tipping points were in the late 80s, they were probably in the late 80s. And if we would stop emission right now, we would not turn it back. Maybe there are ways for carbon capture. But so far there is no sustainable carbon capture technology that we can't deploy. Deploy, maybe there's a way to put aerosols in the atmosphere to cool it down. Possibility is right. But right now, per default, it seems that we will step into a situation where we feel that we front too far. And going back is not something that we can do smoothly and gradually, but it's going to lead to a catastrophic event. - Catastrophic event or kind. So can you still make the case that we will continue dancing along and always stop just short of the edge on the cliff? - I think it's possible, but it doesn't seem to be likely. So I think this model that is being apparent in the simulation that we're making of climate pollution economies and so on is that many effects are only visible with a significant delay. And in that time, the system is moving much more out of the equilibrium state or of the state where homeostasis is still possible. And instead moves into a different state, one that is going to harbor fewer people. And that is basically the concern there. And again, it's a possibility. It's just, and it's a possibility that is larger than the possibility that it's not happening, that we will be safe, that we will be able to dance back all the time. - So the climate is one thing, but there's a lot of other threats. They might have a faster feedback mechanism less delay. - There is also a thing that AI is probably going to happen. And it's going to make everything uncertain again. Because it is going to affect so many variables that it's very hard for us to make a projection into the future anymore. And maybe that's a good thing. It does not give us the freedom, I think, to say now we didn't need to care about anything anymore because AI will either kill us or save us. But I suspect that if humanity continues, it will be due to AI. - What's the timeline for things to get real weird with AI?


Vision Pro (02:23:11)

And it can get weird in interesting ways before you get to AGI. What about AI girlfriends and boyfriends? Fundamentally transforming human relationships. - I think human relationships are already fundamentally transformed and it's already very weird. - By which technology? - By instance, social media. - Yeah. Is it though? Isn't the fundamentals of the core group of humans that affect your life? Still the same? Your loved ones? Family? - No, I think that for instance, many people live in intentional communities right now. They're moving around until they find people that they can relate to and they become their family. And often that doesn't work because it turns out that they're instead of having grown networks where you get around with the people that you grew up with, you have more transactional relationships, you shop around, you have markets for attention and pleasure and relationships. - That kills the magic somehow. Why is that? Why is the transactional search for optimizing allocation of attention somehow misses the romantic magic or what human relations are? - It's also a question how magical was it before? Was it that you just could rely on instincts that used your intuitions and you didn't need to rationally reflect? But once you understand, it's no longer magical because you actually understand why you were attracted to this person at this age and not to that person at this age and what the actual considerations were that went on in your mind and what the calculations were, what's the likelihood that you're going to have a sustainable relationship with this person, that this person is not going to leave you for somebody else, how are your life trajectories are going to evolve and so on. And when you're young, you're unable to extricate all this and you have to rely on intuitions and instincts that impart you're born with and also in the wisdom of your environment that is going to give you some kind of reflection on your choices. And many of these things are disappearing now because we feel that our parents might have no idea about how we are living and the environments that we grew up in, the cultures that we grew up in, the milieu that our parents existed in, might have no ability to teach us how to deal with this new world. And for many people, that's actually true, but it doesn't mean that wisdom, one generation, we build something that is more magical and more sustainable and more beautiful. Instead, we often end up as an attempt to produce something that looks beautiful. Like I was very viewed out by the aesthetics of the Vision Pro at that by Apple. And not so much because I don't like the technology. I'm very curious about what it's going to be like and don't have no opinion yet. But the aesthetics of the presentation and so on, there's so uncanny valley-esque to me. The characters being extremely plastic, living in some hypothetical mid-century furniture museum. Yeah. This is the proliferation of marketing teams. Yes, but it was a CGI-generated world. And it was a CGI-generated world that doesn't exist. And when I complained about this, some friends came back to me, but these are startup founders. This is what they live like in Silicon Valley. And I tried to tell them, no, and no, lots of people in Silicon Valley. This is not what people are like. There's little people, there's still human beings. So the grounding of physical reality somehow is important too. In culture. And so basically what's absent in this thing is culture. There is a simulation of culture and attempt to replace culture by catalog by some kind of aesthetic optimization that is not the result of having a sustainable life, a sustainable human relationships with houses that work for you and a mode of living that works for you in which this product, these glasses fit in naturally. And I guess that's also why so many people are voted out about the product because they don't know how is this actually going to fit into my life and into my human relationships. Because the way in which it was presented in these videos didn't seem to be credible. - Do you think AI, when it's deployed by companies like Microsoft and Google and Meta, will have the same issue of being weirdly corporate?


Open source AI (02:27:25)

Like there'd be some uncanny valley, some weirdness to the whole presentation. So this is, I've kind of changed the talk to George Hots, he believes everything should be open source and decentralized and there, then we shall have the AI of the people and it'll maintain a grounding to the magic that's humanity, that's the human condition, that like corporations will destroy the magic. - I believe that if we make everything open source and make this mandatory, we are going to lose about a lot of beautiful art and a lot of beautiful designs. There is a reason why Linux desktop is still ugly. And it's a simple tool to create coherence in open source designs so far, when the designs have to get very large and it's easier to make this happening in a company with centralized organization. And from my own perspective, what we should ensure is that open source never dies, that it can always compete and has a place with the other forms of organization because I think it is absolutely vital that open source exists and that we have systems that people have under control outside of the corporation and that is also producing viable competition to the corporations. So the corporations, the centralized control, the dictatorships of corporations can create beauty. There's a centralized design is a source of a lot of beauty. And then I guess open source is a source of freedom I hedge against the corrupting nature of power that comes with centralized. - I grew up in socialism and I learned that corporations are totally evil and I found this very, very convincing. And then you look at corporations like anyone and Halliburton maybe and realize that yeah, they are evil. But you also noticed that many other corporations are not evil. They're surprisingly benevolent. Why are they so benevolent? Is this because everybody is fighting them all the time? I don't think that's the only explanation. It's because they're actually animals that live in a large ecosystem and that are still largely controlled by people that want that ecosystem to flourish and be viable for people. So I think that Pat Gelsinger is completely sincere when he leads Intel to be a tool that supplies the free world with semiconductors and it's not necessary that all the semiconductors are coming from Intel. It just, Intel needs to be there to make sure that we always have them. So there can be many ways in which we can import and trade semiconductors from other companies in place. We just need to make sure that nobody can cut us off from it because that would be a disaster for this kind of society and world. And so there are many things that need to be done to make our style of life possible. And then with this, I don't mean just capitalism, environmental destruction, consumerism, and creature comforts. I mean an idea of life in which we are determined not by some kind of king or dictator, but in which individuals can determine themselves to the largest possible degree. And to me, this is something that this Western world is still trying to embody. And it's a very valuable idea that we shouldn't give up too early. And from this perspective, the US is a system of interleaving clubs. And an entrepreneur is a special club founder. It's somebody who makes a club that is producing things that are economically viable. And to do this, it requires a lot of people who are dedicating a significant part of their life for working for this particular kind of club. And the entrepreneur is picking the initial set of rules and the mission and vision and aesthetics for the club and make sure that it works. But the people that are in there need to be protected, right? If they sacrifice part of their life, they need to be rules that tell how they're being taken care of, even after they leave the club and so on. So there's a large body of rules that have been created by our rule-giving clubs and that are enforced by our enforcement clubs and so on. And some of these clubs have to be monopolies for games, theoretic reasons, which also makes them more open to corruption and less harder to update. And this is an ongoing discussion and process that takes place. But the beauty of this idea that there is no centralized king that is extracting from the peasants and breeding the peasants into serving the king and fulfilling all the rules like ants and an antle. But that there is a freedom of association and corporations are one of them. It's something that took me some time to realize. So I do think that corporations are dangerous, right? But they need to be protections against overreach of corporations that can do regular capture and prevent open source from competing with corporations by imposing rules that make it impossible for a small group of kids to come together to build their own language model because OpenAI has convinced the US that you need to have some kind of FDA process that you need to go through that costs many million dollars before you are able to train a language model. And so this is important to make sure that this doesn't happen. So I think that OpenAI and Google are good things. If these good things are kept in check in such a way that all the other collapse can still be founded and all the other forms of collapse that are desirable can still coexist with them. - So what do you think about meta in contrast to that open source in most of its language models and most of the AI models that's working on and actually suggesting that they will continue to do so in the future for future versions of LAMA. For example, they're a large language model. What, is that exciting to you? Is that concerning? - I don't find it very concerning, but it's also because I think that the language models are not very dangerous yet. - Yet? - Yes. So as I said, I have no clue that there is the boundary between the language models and AI, and the AI is possible that somebody builds a version of BBAGI, I think, and flows in the algorithmic improvements that scale these systems up in ways that otherwise wouldn't have happened without these language model components. So it's not really clear for me what the end game is there and if these models can put force their way into AGI. And there's also a possibility that the AGI that we are building with these language models are not taking responsibility for what they are because they don't understand the greater game. And so to me, it would be interesting to try to understand how to build systems that understand what the greater games are, what are the longest games that we can play on this planet. - Games broadly, like deeply defined the way you did with the games. - In the games, theoretic sense. So when we are interacting with each other and some sense we are playing games, we are making lots and lots of interactions. This doesn't mean that these interactions have also be transactional. Every one of us is playing some kind of game by virtue of identifying this particular kinds of goals that we have or aesthetics from which we derive the goals. So when you say, "I'm like treatment, "I'm doing a set of podcasts," then you feel that it's part of something larger that you want to build. Maybe you want to inspire people, maybe you want them to see more possibilities and get them together over shared ideas. Maybe your game is that you want to become super rich and famous by being the best postcard on Earth. Maybe you have other games, maybe it's features from time to time. But there is a certain perspective where you might be thinking what is the longest possible game that you could be playing. A short game is, for instance, cancer is playing a shorter game than your organism. It's a cancer is an organism playing a shorter game than the regular organism. And because the cancer cannot procreate beyond the organism, except for some infectious cancers, like the ones that are dedicated to the testimonial devils, you typically end up with a situation where the organism dies together with the cancer, because the cancer has destroyed the larger system due to playing a shorter game. And so ideally you want to, I think, build agents that play the longest possible games. And the longest possible games is to keep entropy at bay as long as possible by doing, while doing interesting stuff. - But the longest, yes, the that part, the longest possible game while doing interesting stuff. And while maintaining at least the same amount of interesting. - Yes. - So complexity, so propagating. - Currently I'm pretty much identified as a conscious being. It's the minimal identification that I managed to get together because if I turn this off, I fall asleep. And when I'm asleep, I'm a vegetable. I'm no longer here as an agent. So my agency is basically predicated on being conscious. And what I care about is other conscious agents. They're the only moral agents for me. And so if an AI were to treat me as a moral agent that it is interested in coexisting this and cooperating this and mutually supporting each other, maybe it is, I think, necessary that the AI thinks that consciousness is a viable mode of existence and important. So I think it would be very important to build conscious AI. And do this as the primary goal. So not just say we want to build a useful tool that we can use for all sorts of things. And then you have to make sure that the impact on the labor market is something that is not the true disruptive and manageable. And the impact on the copyright holder is manageable and not too disruptive and so on. I don't think that's the most important game to be played. I think that we will see extremely large disruptions of this data score that are quite unpredictable at this point. And I just personally want to make sure that some of the stuff on the other side is interesting and conscious. - How do we ride as individuals and as a society this wave, disruptive wave that changes the nature of the game? - Absolutely, don't know. So everybody is going to do their best as well. - Do we build the bunker in the woods? Do we meditate more drugs, some mushrooms, psychedelics? I mean, what lots of sex? What are we talking about here? Do you play Diablo 4? I'm hoping that will help me escape for a brief moment. What are the play video games? What? Do you have ideas? - I really like playing Disco Elysium. This was one of the most beautiful computer games I played in recent years. And it's a noir novel that is a philosophical perspective on Western society from the perspective of an Estonian. And he first of all, bought a book about this world that is a parallel universe that is quite poetic and fascinating and is condensing his perspective on our society. It was very, very nice. He spent a lot of time writing it. He had, I think, sold a couple thousand books and as a result became an alcoholic. And then he had the idea, or one of his friends had the idea of turning this into an RPG. And it's mind-blowing. They spent the illustrator more than a year just on making the art for the scenes in between. - So aesthetically, it captures the full scene. - It's a philosophical work of art. It's a reflection of society. It's fascinating to spend time in this world. And so for me, it was using a medium in a new way and telling a story that left me enriched. - When I tried Diablo, I didn't feel enriched playing it. I felt that the time playing it was not unpleasant, but there's also more pleasant stuff that I can do in that time. - So to you. - So ultimately, I feel that I'm being game. I'm not gaming. - Oh, the addiction thing. - Yes, I basically feel that there is a very transparent economy that's going on, the story of Diablo was branded. So it's not really interesting to me. - My heart is slowly breaking by the deep truth you're conveying to me. Why can't you just allow me to enjoy my personal addiction? - My heart means, go nuts. I have no objection here. I'm just trying to describe what's happening. And it's not that I don't do things that I just say, oh, I actually wish I would have done something different. I also know that when we die, the grace regret that people typically have on their desk, but they say, oh, I wish I had spent more time on Twitter.


Twitter (02:40:17)

No, I don't think that's the case. I think I should probably have spent less time on Twitter, but I found it so useful for myself and also so addictive that I felt I need to make the best of it and turn it into an art form and thought form. And it did help me to develop something. - Yeah. - But I wish what other things I could have done in the meantime, it's just not the universe that we are in anymore. Most people don't read books anymore. - What do you think that means that we don't read books anymore? What do you think that means about the collective intelligence of our species? Is it possible it's still progressing and growing? - Well, explain this. There is stuff happening on Twitter that was impossible with books. And I really regret that Twitter has not taken the term that I was hoping for. I thought Elon is global brain-pilled and understands that this thing needs to self-organize and he needs to develop tools to allow the profligation of the self-organizations so Twitter can become sentient. And maybe this was a pipe dream from the beginning, but I felt that the enormous pressure that he was under made it impossible for him to work on any kind of content goals. And also many of the decisions that he made under this pressure seem to be not very wise. I don't think that as a CEO of a social media company, you should have opinions in the culture of our and public. I think that's very short-sighted. And I also suspect that it's not a good idea to block grammar for people over setting a master-doll link. And I think Paul made this intentionally because he wanted to show Elon Musk that blocking people for setting a link is completely counter to any idea of free speech that he intended to bring to Twitter. And basically seeing that Elon was very less principled in his thinking there and is much more experimental. And many of the things that he is trying, they've been out very differently in digital society than they're paying out in a car company because the effect is very different because everything that you do in a digital society is going to have real-world cultural effects. And so basically I find it quite regrettable that this guy is able to become the fact of the poor where the Twitter has more active members than the Catholic Church. And he doesn't get it. The power and responsibility that he has and the ability to create something in this society that is lasting and that is producing a digital agora in a way that has never existed before where we built a social network on top of a social network an actual society on top of the algorithms. So this is something that is hope still in the future and still in the cards. But it's something that exists in small parts. I find that the corner of Twitter that I'm in is extremely pleasant. It's just when I take a few steps outside of it is not very wholesome anymore. And the way in which people interact with strangers suggest that it's not a civilized society yet. - So as the number of people who follow you on Twitter expands, you feel the burden of the uglier sides of humanity. - Yes, but there's also a similar thing in the normal world that is if you become more influential, if you have more status, if you have more fame than the real world, you get lots of perks, but you also have less freedom in the way in which you interact with people, especially the strangers because a certain percentage of people at a small single digit percentage is nuts and dangerous. And the more of those are looking at you, the more of them might get ideas. - But what if the technology enables you to discover the majority of people, to discover and connect efficiently and regularly with the majority of people who are actually really good? I mean, one of my sort of concerns with a platform like Twitter is there's a lot of really smart people out there. A lot of smart people that disagree with me and with others between each other. And I love that if the technology would bring those to the top, the beautiful disagreements like intelligence squared type of debates. There's a bunch of, I mean, one of my favorite things to listen to is arguments and arguments like high effort arguments with respect and love underneath it, but then it gets a little too heated, but that kind of too heated, which I've seen you participate in and I love that. With Lee Corona with those kinds of folks and you go pretty hard, like you're get frustrated, but it's all beautiful. - Obviously I can do this because we know each other. - Yes. - And Lee has the rare gift of being willing to be wrong in public. - Yeah. - So basically he has thoughts that are as wrong as the random thoughts of an average, highly intelligent person, but he blurs them out while not being through if they're right. And he enjoys doing that. And once you understand that this is his game, you don't get offended by him saying something that you think is so wrong. - But he's constantly passively communicating a respect for the people he's talking with. And for just basic humanity and truth and all that kind of stuff. And there's a self-deprecating thing. There's a bunch of like social skills you acquire that allow you to be a great debater, a great argumenter, like be wrong in public and explore ideas together in public when you disagree. And if I would love for Twitter to elevate those folks, elevate those kinds of conversations. - It already does in some sense. But also if it elevates them too much, then you get this phenomenon on a stop house where you always get dragged on stage and I found this very stressful because it was too intense. I don't like to be dragged on stage all the time. I think once a week is enough. And also when I met Lee the first time, I found that a lot of people seemed to be shocked by the fact that he was being very aggressive with their results, that he didn't seem to show a lot of sensibility in the way in which he was criticizing what they were doing and being dismissive of the work of others. And that was not, I think, in any way a shortcoming of him because I noticed that he was much, much more dismissive with respect to his own work. It was his general stance. And I felt that this general stance is creating a lot of liability for him because really a lot of people take offense at him being not like a dare-carnagey character who is always smooth and make sure that everybody likes him. So I really respect that he is willing to take that risk and to be wrong in public and to offend people. And he doesn't do this in any bad way. It's just most people feel or not all people recognize this. And so I can be much more aggressive with him than I can be with many other people who don't play the same game because he understands the way in the spirit in which I respond to him. - I think that's a fun and that's a beautiful game. It's ultimately a productive one. Speaking of taking that risk, you tweeted, when you have the choice between being a creator, consumer or redistributor, always go for creation.


Advice for young people (02:47:33)

Now, not only does it lead to a more beautiful world but also to a much more satisfying life for yourself. And don't get stuck preparing yourself for the journey. The time is always now. So let me ask for advice. What advice would you give on how to become such a creator on Twitter in your own life? - I was very lucky to be alive at the time of the collapse of Eastern Germany and the transition into Western Germany. And me and my friends and most of the people I knew and were East Germans and we were very poor because we didn't have money. And all the capital was in Western Germany and they bought our factories and shut them down because they were mostly only interested in the market rather than creating new production capacity. And so cities were poor and then this would appear and we could not afford things. And I could not afford to go into a restaurant and order a meal there. I would have to cook at home. But I also thought why not just have a restaurant with my friends? So we would open up a cafe with friends and a restaurant and we would cook for each other in these restaurants and also invite the general public and they could donate. And eventually this became so big that we could turn this into some incorporated form and it became regular restaurant at some point. Or we did the same thing with the movies theater. We would not be able to afford to pay 12 marks to watch the movie but why not just create our own movies theater and then invite people to pay and we would rent the movies in a way in which the movie theater does. But it would be a community movie theater that everybody who wants to help can watch for free and builds testing and renovates the building. And so we ended up creating lots and lots of infrastructure. And I think when you are young and you don't have money, move to a place where this is still happening. Move to one of those places that are undeveloped and where you get a critical mass of other people who are starting to build infrastructure to live in. And it's super satisfying because you're not just creating infrastructure but you're creating a small society that is building culture and ways to interact with each other. And that's much, much more satisfying than going into some kind of chain and get your needs met by ordering food from this chain and so on. - So not just consuming culture but creating culture. - And you don't always have that choice. That's why I pre-faced it when you do have the choice and there are many roles that need to be played. We need people who take care of their distribution and society and so on. But when you have the choice to create something, always go for creation. It's so much more satisfying. And it also, this is what life is about, I think. - Yeah.


Purpose Of Life Discussion

Meaning of life (02:50:29)

Speaking of which you retweeted this meme of a life of a philosopher in a nutshell. It's birth and death and in between, it's a chubby guy and says, why though? What do you think is the answer to that? - Well, the answer is that everything that can exist might exist. And in many ways, you take an ecological perspective. The same way as when you look at human opinions and cultures, it's not that there is right and wrong opinions when you look at this from this ecological perspective. But every opinion that fits between two human years might be between two human years. And so when I see in a strange opinion on social media, it's not that I feel that I have a need to get upset. It's often more that I, oh, there you are. And in an opinion, it's incentivized then it's going to be abundant. And when you take this ecological perspective also on yourself and you realize you're just one of these mushrooms that are popping up and doing their thing and you can, depending on where you chose to grow and where you happen to grow, you can flourish or not doing this or that strategy. And it's still all the same life at some level. It's all the same experience of being your conscious being in the world. And you do have some choice about who you want to be more than any other animal has. That to me is fascinating. And so I think that rather than asking yourself, what is the one way to be? Think about what are the possibilities that I have, what it would be the most interesting way to be that I can be. - 'Cause everything is possible. So you get to explore this. - Not everything is possible. Many things fail, most things fail. But often there are possibilities that we are not seeing, especially if we choose who we are. - To the degree we can choose. Yasha, you're one of my favorite humans in this world. Consciousness is to merge with for a brief moment of time. It's always an honor. It always blows my mind. It will take me days, if not weeks to recover. I already miss our chats. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for speaking with me so many times. Thank you so much for all the ideas you put on to the world. And I'm a huge fan of following you now in this interesting, weird time we're going through with AI. So thank you again for talking with me. - Thank you, Lex, for this conversation. I enjoyed it very much. - Thanks for listening to this conversation with Yasha Bach. To support this podcast, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now let me leave you with some words from the psychologist Carl Jung. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.


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