#1350 - Nick Bostrom

Sep 11, 2019

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher at the University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk, the anthropic principle, human enhancement ethics, superintelligence risks, and the reversal test.

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my guest today

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whoo this is a mind Bender we are going to discuss

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artificial intelligence and simulation Theory

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and I want you to prepare yourself for the Great and Powerful Nick Bostrom

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The Joe Rogan Experience Train by day Joe Rogan podcast by night all day

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all right Nick this is one of the things that scares people more than anything is the idea that we're creating something or someone's going to create something it's going to be smarter than us it's gonna replace us is that something we should really be concerned about I presume you're referring to babies I'm referring to artificial intelligence yes well it's the big fair and the big hope I think both at the same time yeah how is it the big hope well there are a lot of things wrong with the world that's what is now called this up to your face if you would all the problems we have most of them could be solved if we were smarter or if we had somebody on our side who are a lot smarter with better technology and so forth also I think if we want to imagine some really Grand future where

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Humanity or our descendants one day go out and colonize the Universe I think that's likely to happen if it's going to happen at all after we have super intelligence that done develops the technology to make that possible the real question is whether or not we would be able to harness this intelligence or whether it would dominate

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yeah that certainly is one question not the only you could imagine that we harness it but then use it for bad purposes as we have a lot of other Technologies to history yes I think they're already two challenges we need to meet one is to make sure we can align it with human values and then make sure that we together do something better with it than fighting Wars or pressing one another I think what when I'm worried about more than anything is that human beings are going to become obsolete that we're going to invent something that's the next stage of evolution I'm really concerned with that I'm really concerned with if we look back on Ancient hominids Australia Pittacus just think of some primitive ancestor of man we don't want to go back to that like that that's a terrible way to live I'm worried that what we're creating is the next thing

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I think

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we don't necessarily want at least I wouldn't be totally thrilled with with a future where Humanity as it is now was the last and final word the like ultimate version be all right I think there's a lot of room for improvement sure but not anything that is different is an improvement right so so the key would be I think to find some path forward we're the best in us can continue to exist and develop to even greater levels and maybe at the end of that path it looks nothing like we do now maybe it's not two legged two armed creatures running around with three pounds of thinking matter right might be something quite different but as long as it what we value is present there and ideally in a much higher degree than in the current world then that could count as a success yeah the idea that we're in a state of evolution that we are just like we look at ancient hominids than we are eventually going to become

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something more advanced or at least more complicated than we are now but what I'm worried is that biological life itself has so many limitations when we look at the evolution of Technology if you look at Moore's Law or if you just look at new cell phones if they just released a new iPhone yesterday and they talk about all these incremental increases in the ability to take photographs and wide angle lenses in night mode and a new chip that works even faster these things there's not the word Evolutions incorrect but the innovation of technology is so much more rapid than anything we could ever even imagine biologically like if we had a thing that we could create if we created instead of artificial intelligence in terms of like some something in a chip or computer if we created a life form a biological life-form but this biological life-form was improving radically every year like it didn't even exist like the iPhone existed in 2007 that's what it was invented if we had something that was 12 years old

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the sudden was infinitely faster and better and smarter and wiser than it was 12 years ago the newest version of it version x 1 we would we would start going to whoop hit the brakes on this thing man how how many more Generations before this thing is way smarter than us how many more Generations before this thing thinks that human beings are obsolete yeah it's kind of a company that has fasted to yeah but some people think or it's slowing down now who thinks it's slowing down well don't they have like Tyler Cowen and you got Peter to yell sometimes goes on about the pace of innovation not really being what it needs to be mmm I mean maybe it was faster in like 1890s or but but still compared to almost all of human history it seems like a period of unprecedented rapid progress right now unprecedented I'd say so yeah I mean except for

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maybe a couple of decades hundred years ago when there was a lot of electricity the whole thing yeah no I agree I just I'm I don't think it's a concern because I'm it's more of a curiosity to me I am concerned but the more I look at it and go well this is see it seems inevitable that we're going to run into artificial intelligence but the questions are so open-ended we really don't know when we don't really don't know what form it's going to take and we really don't know what it's going to do to us yeah so I see it does not something that should be avoided neither something that we should just be completely gung-ho about but more like a kind of gate through which we will have to pass at some point all paths that are both possible and need to really great features I think at some point involve the development of greater than human intelligence machine intelligence and so that our focus should be on getting our act together

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as much as we can in whatever period of time we have before that there's prepare ourselves well I mean that might involve doing some research into various technical questions as how you build the system so that we actually understand what they are doing and they have some you know intended impact on the world it might also if we are able to get their act together a little bit on the kind of global political scene a little bit more peace and love in the world would be good I think for the be nice so and and then like refraining from destroying ourselves through some other mean before we even get a chance to try to needle our way through this this gate well that's certainly possible we're certainly capable of screwing it all up where is the current state of Technology now in regards to artificial intelligence and how far away do you think we are from AGI well if different people have different views on that I think the

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truth of the matter is that it's very hard to have accurate views about the timelines for these things that you know are still involved kind of big new breakthroughs that have to happen certainly I mean over the last eight or ten years there has been a lot of excitement with the Deep learning Revolution thinks that it used to be that people thought of a is this kind of autistic Savant really good at logic and Counting and memorizing facts but with no no intuition and this deep learning Revolution when you began to do these deep neural networks to kind of solved perception in some sense you can have computers that can see that can hear and that have visual intuition so so that that has enabled the whole wide Suite of applications which makes it commercially valuable which then drives a lot of investment in it which you know there's a so there's now

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quite a lot of momentum in machine learning and trying to kind of stay ahead of that it's interesting that when we think about artificial intelligence and whatever potential form that's going to take if you look in films like 2001 like how like open the door how you know like we think of something that's communicating to us like like a person would and maybe is a little bit colder and doesn't doesn't share our values and has a more pragmatic view of life and death and and things when we think of intelligence though I think intelligence in our mind is almost inexorably connected to all the things that make us human like emotions and and ambition and all these things like the reason why we innovate like we it's not really clear like what we innovate because we enjoy Innovation and because we want to make the world a better place and because we want to fix some problems that we've created and we want to solve some limitations of the human body and the

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environment that we live in but we sort of assumed that intelligence that we create will also have some motivations

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well there is a fairly large class of possible structures you could do if you want to do anything that has any kind of cognitive or intellectual capacity at all a large class of those would be what we might call agent Soliz would be yeah systems that interact with the world in pursuit of some goal and if there are as sophisticated class of Agents they can plan ahead the sequence of actions like more primitive agents might just have reflexes but but the sophisticated Aiden might have a model of the world where it can kind of think ahead before it starts doing stuff it can kind of think what what would I need to do in order to reach this desired State and then recent backwards from that so I think it's a fairly natural it's not the only possible cognitive system we could build but it's also not this weird bizarre special case that you know it's a fairly natural thing to him for if you are able to specify the goal something you want to achieve but you don't know how to achieve it and now

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a way of trying to go about that is by building the system that has this call and is an agent and then moves around and tries different things and eventually perhaps learn to solve that task do you anticipate different types of artificial intelligence like artificial intelligence that mimics the human emotions like these they do think that people will construct something that's very similar to us in a way that we can interact with it in and common terms or do you think it will be almost like communicating with an alien

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so they're different scenarios here I mean I'd guess my guess is that the first thing that actually achieve super intelligence would not be very human-like there are different possible ways you could try to get to this level of Technology what one would be by trying to reverse engineer the human brain we have an existence in the limit limiting case you might imagine if you just made an exact duplicate in Silicon of the human brain like every neuron had some counterpart so that that that seems technologically very difficult to do but it wouldn't require in a big theoretical breakthrough to do it you could just through if you had sufficiently good microscopy and large enough computers and they're not elbow grease you couldn't kind of but it seems to me plausible that what will work before we are able to do it that way will be some more synthetic approach work that would only be very rough resemblance maybe with the the neocortex yeah that's one of the big questions

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right whether or not we can replicate all the functions of the human brain in the way it functions in like mimic it exactly or whether we could have some sort of superior method that achieves the same results that the human brain does in terms of its ability to calculate and reason and do multiple tasks at the same time yeah and I also think that maybe once you have a sufficiently high level of this general form of intelligence than you could use that bit emulate or mimic things that we do differently so maybe we our cortex is quite limited so we rely a lot on earlier neurological structures that we have we have to we have to be guided by motion because we can't just calculate everything out and and Instinct and maybe and if we lost all of that we would be helpless but maybe some system that had a sufficiently high level of this more abstract reasoning capabilities could maybe use that to substitute for things that weren't built in in the same way that we do

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have you ever talked to Sam Harris about this yeah a little bit have you ever had a podcast with him I yeah I actually had him on his podcast half a year ago I'll have to have to listen to it because he has the worst view of the future in terms of artificial intelligence he's terrified of it and when I talked to him terrifies me and Elon Musk is right up there he also has a terrifying view of what our artificial intelligence could potentially be what do you say to those guys

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well I mean I do think that are these significant risks that will be associated with this transition to the machine intelligence era including existential risks threats to the very survival of humanity or what we care about so why are we doing this well there are a lot of things we're doing that maybe Global it would be better if we didn't do let me just why do we build thousands of nuclear weapons right why do we overfish the ocean yeah so now minute if one actually ask why do different individuals work on AI research or wider different

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companies and governments funded I mean they're a lot of explanation it's like a great scientific Endeavor if you can make the Google search engine 1% better that's got to be worth like a billion dollars right off the bat it's become a kind of prestige thing now where nations want to have some sort of strategy because it's seen as this new frontier just like when you had you know steam engines and industrialization few hundred years ago and electricity like it's got to just open up a lot of economic opportunities you want to be in there where it's have you heard of this kind of we were going to do subsistence agriculture while the rest of the world is moving on so there's a lot of its kind of overdetermined like you could remove some of these resources and that would still be not reasons for why people would be pushing forward with this

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one of the things that scares me the most is the idea that if we do create artificial intelligence than it will improve upon our design and create far more sophisticated versions of itself and that it will continue to do that until it's unrecognizable until it reaches literally a god-like potential mmm that sucks I mean I forget what the real numbers were maybe you could tell us but someone had calculated some reputable Source it calculated the amount of improvement that sentient artificial intelligence would be able to create inside of a small window of time like if it was allowed to innovate and then make better versions of itself and those better versions of itself or allowed innovate make better versions of itself you're talking with not an exponential increase of intelligence but an explosion what we don't know so it's hard not to forecast the pace at which we will make advances in AI because we just don't know how hard the problems are that we haven't yet solved right and

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you know once you get the human level or a little bit above mean who knows it could be that there is some level where to get further you need like to put in a lot of thinking time to kind of get there now what is easier to estimate is if you just look at the speed because that's just a function of the hardware that you're running it on right so so there we know that there is a lot of room in principle if you look at the physics of computation and you look at what would an optimally arranged physical system being that was optimized for computation that we like way many many orders above what we can do now and that then you could have arbitrarily large systems like that so from that point of view we know that that could be things that would be like a million times faster than the human brain and with a lot more memory and stuff like that the and then something if it did have a million times more power than the human brain it could create something with a million times more compute computational power than itself

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it could make better versions it could continue to innovate like if women create something that we say you are mean it is sentient it is artificial intelligence now please go innovate please go follow the same directive and improve upon your design yeah well we don't know how how long that would take then right answers I mean we already have sort of millions of times more thinking capacity than a human has I mean we have millions of humans right so if you kind of break it down your think there's like one Milestone when you have maybe an AI that could do what one human can do but then that might still be quite a lot of orders of magnitude you know until it would be equivalent of the whole human species

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and maybe during that time other things happened maybe we upgrade you know our own abilities in some way so there are some scenarios where it so hard to get even to one human Baseline that we kind of use this massive amount of resources just barely create kind of you know Villages yes using billions of dollars of confused right now so if that's the way we get there then I mean it might take quite a while because you can't easily scale something that you've already spent billions of dollars building yeah some people think the whole thing is blown out of proportion that we're so far away from creating artificial general intelligence that resembles human beings that it's all just vaporware Mmm what do you say to those people well I mean one would be that I would want to be more precise about just how far away does it have to be in order for us to be rational to ignore it it might be that if something is

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sufficiently important and high stakes than even if it's not going to happen in the next five ten twenty thirty years it might still be wise for you know our pool of 7 billion plus people to have some people actually thinking about this ahead of time yeah for sure so some of these disagreements I guess is my point are more apparent than real like there's some people say it's gonna happen soon and some other people say no it's not going to happen for a long time and then you know one person means by soon five years and another person means by a long time five years and you know it's more of different attitudes rather than different specific beliefs so so I would first want to make sure that there actually is a disagreement mmm now if there is if somebody is very confident that it's not going to happen in hundreds and hundreds of years

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that I guess I would want to know their reasons for that level of confidence what's the evidence they're looking at you know do they have some ground for being very sure about this certainly the history of Technology prediction is not that great you can find a lot of other examples where even very eminent technologists and scientists were culture it's not going to happen in our lifetime and yeah in some cases it actually already just happened in some other part of the world or it happened a year or two later so I think some epistemic humility with these things would be wise I was watching you talk that you were giving and you were talking about the growth of innovation technology and GDP over the last 100 years and you were talking about the entire history of life on Earth and what a short period of time humans have been here and then what Ash enduring what a short period of time what a stunning amount of innovation and how

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change we've enacted on the earth and just a blink of an eye and you had the scale of GDP over you know the course of the last hundred years it's it's crazy to because it's so difficult for us with our current perspective just being a person living going about the day-to-day life that seems so normal to put it in perspective TimeWise and see what an enormous amount of changes taking place in relatively and Incredibly short amount of time yeah I mean what we think of this as sort of the normal way for things to be that the idea that the alarm wakes up in the morning and then you're commuting and sit in front of the computer all day and you try not to eat too much and and that if you sort of imagine that you know maybe in 50 years or a hundred years or some point in the future it's going to be very different that's like some radical hypothesis but of course this quote-unquote normal condition is a huge anomaly and in which way you look at it I mean if you look at it on

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logical time scale of the human species is very young if you look at it historically you know for more than 90% we were just hunter-gatherers running around and agriculturalists for the what what the last couple of hundred years when some parts of the world have escaped the malthusian condition where where you basically only have as much income as you need to be able to produce two children and we have the population exploit like all of this is very very very recent and in space as well of course almost everything is ultra high vacuum and with live on the surface of this little special Crump and yet we think this is normal and everything else is weird but I think that's a complete inversion and so when you do plot if you do plot for example world GDP which is a kind of rough measure for the total amount of productive capability

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that we have right if you plot it over 10,000 years what you see is just a flat line and then a vertical line and you can't really see any other structure it like it's so extreme that degree to which humanity is productive Capital so if I'm for looks at this picture and we now we might then this is now the norm of this is the way it's got to be now indefinitely they just can't swing a prima facie implausible like it certainly doesn't look like we are in a static period right now it looks like this is where in the middle of some kind of explosion explosion and oddly enough everyone involved in the explosion everyone that's innovating everyone that's creating all this new technology they're all a part of this momentum that was created before they were even born so it does feel normal they're just a part of this whole spinning machine and they jump in they're born they go to college next thing you know they have a job and a

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but in the making new technology and then more people jump in and add on to it and there's very little perspective in terms of like the historical significance of this incredible explosion technologically when you look at what you're talking about that gigantic Spike no one feels it which is one of the weirdest things about it that that mean you kind of expect every year that would be a better iPhone yes right it would not would be upset almost all of human history people lived and died and so absolutely no technological change and in fact you could have many many generations the very idea that there was some trajectory in the material conditions is it relatively new idea I mean people thought of History either as you know some kind of descent from a golden age or some people had a cyclical view but it was all in terms of political organization that would be great Kingdom and then a wise ruler would rule for a while and then like a few

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adjust later you know they're great great grandchildren would be too greedy and it would come into Anarchy and then you know a few hundred years later it would come back together again yes so so it would be all these kind of the pieces moving around right but no new pieces really entering or if they did it was at such a slower rate that you didn't notice but over the eons you know the wheel slowly turns and you know somebody makes a slightly better wheel somebody figures outside to irrigate lot better they they breed better crops and in eventually there is enough that you could have enough of a population enough brains that then create more ideas at the quickeneth rate that you get this Industrial Revolution and and that's where we are now like Elon Musk had the most terrifying description of humanity said that we are the biological Bootloader for artificial intelligence that

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what we're here for with letters are important they are important but I think there's like objectively and there's personally like objectively if you were outside of the human race and you were looking at all these various life-forms competing on this planet for for resources and tools for survival you would look at humanity and you go well you know clearly that's not it's not finished so it's going to be another version of it it's like when is this version going to take place is going to take place over millions and millions of years like it has historically when it comes to biological organisms or is it going to invent something that takes over from there and then that's the new thing some something that's not based on tissue something that's not based on cells it doesn't have the biological limitations that we have nor nor does it have all the emotional attachments attachments to things like breeding social dominance hierarchies all those things were no consequence to it doesn't mean anything because it's not biological

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yeah yeah I mean I don't think millions of years how many important number of decades or whatever but but it's interesting that even if we set that aside we say machine intelligence is possible for some reason let's just play with that then I still think that would be very rapid change including biological change and we are doing great advances making great advances in biotech as well and will increasingly be able to control what our own organisms are doing through different means and enhance human capacities through biotechnology and so so even their Allah is not going to happen overnight but over and historically very short period of time I think it would still see quite profound change just from applying bioscience to to change human capacities you're one of the Technologies are one of the things that's been discussed to sort

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mitigate the dangers of artificial intelligence is a potential merge some sort of symbiotic relationship with technology that you see you hear discussed like I don't know exactly how elon's neural link works but it seems like a step in that direction there's some sort of a brain implant that in that interacts with an external device and this all of this increases the bandwidth for available intelligence and knowledge yeah sort of skeptical that that will work I mean good that somebody tries it you know but I think it's quite technically hard to improve a normal healthy human beings say cognitive capacity are the capacities by implanting things in them and get benefits that you couldn't equal will get by having the gadget outside of the body so

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I don't need to have an implants to be able to use Google right right and there are a lot of advantages to having it external you can upgrade it very silly you can shut it off because well hopefully you could do that even with implant and once you start to look into the details there so that these kind of demos but then if you actually look at the papers often you find wild and then there were these side effects and the person that had a so they had some deficit and the speech didn't like yeah infections like it is just part of it is messy yes so maybe it will work better than than I expect that that could be good but otherwise I think that the place where it will first become possible to enhance and of human biological capacities would be through genetic selection which is technologically something very near you mean like crisper type lat

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be editing right when you actually go in and change think that that also is moving we mean by selection what so this would just be in the context of say in vitro fertilization you have usually some half dozen or dozen embryos created during this fertility procedure which is standard be used so rather than just the doctor kind of looking at these embryos and saying well that one looks healthy I'm going to implant that you could run some genetic tests and then use that as a predictor and select the one isn't as the most desirable attributes and so this could be a trend in terms of how human beings reproduce that we instead of just randomly having sex woman gets pregnant gives birth to a child we don't know what it's going to be what it's going to happen we just hope that it's a good kid instead of that you start looking at the all the various components that we can measure

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yeah and so I mean to some extent we already do this there are a lot of testing done for various chromosomal abnormalities that you can already check for but but our ability to look Beyond clear Stark diseases that is one gene is wrong like that they look at more complex trait this is increasing rapidly so obviously there are a lot of ethical issues and yeah it's awesome but if I were just talking what is technologically feasible and I think that that I mean already you could do a very limited amount of that today and maybe you would get you know two or three IQ points in expectation more if you selected using current Technology based on ten embryos let us say so very small but but as genomics gets better at deciphering the genetic architecture of complex traits like whether it's intelligence or personality attributes then then you would have more

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action power and you could do more and then there's a number of other Technologies we don't yet have but which if you did would then kind of Stack with that and enable much more powerful forms of of enhancement so there yeah I don't think there are any major technological hurdles really in the way just some small amount of incremental further Improvement that's when you talk about

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doing something with genetics and human beings and selecting selecting for the superior versions and then if everybody starts doing that the ethical concerns when you start discussing that people get very nervous because it started look at their own genetic defects and they go oh my God what if I didn't make the cut like I wouldn't be here and he started thinking about all the imperfect people that have actually contributed in some pretty spectacular ways to what our culture is and like well what if everybody has perfect jeans would all these things even take place like what are we doing really if we're bypassing nature and we're choosing to select for the traits and the attributes that we find to be the most positive and attractive like what are like that and I think what would happen if say some earlier age

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had had this ability to kind of lock in there yes you know that their prejudices or the Victorian side had this sure we would all be whatever Pious and patriotic now or something yeah no it's not think so so in general with all of these powerful Technologies which we are developing their is like I think the ideal course would be that we would first gained a bit more wisdom and then we would get all of these powerful tools but it looks like we're getting the powerful tools before we have really achieved a very high level of wisdom yeah but we haven't earned them the people that are using them are sort of where we haven't like thing about the the technology that all of us use how many how many pieces of Technology do you use in a day and how much do you actually understand any of those most people

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very little understanding of I need two things they use work they put no effort at all into creating those things but yet they've inherited the responsibility of the power that those things possess yeah I mean that's the only way we can do it justjust wait too complex for any person if you had to sort of learn how to build everything ever told you use like we wouldn't get very far isn't that fascinating though when you think about human beings and all the different things we do we have very little understanding of the mechanisms behind most of what we need for day-to-day life yet we just use them because there's so many of us and so many people are understanding various parts of all these different things that together collectively we can utilize the intelligence of all these millions of people that have innovated and we with no work whatsoever just go into the Verizon store and pick up the new phone yeah I mean and not just technology but worldviews and political ideas as well it's not as if most people sit down

► 00:42:06

with an empty table charge of thing from the basic principles of what would be the ideal configuration of the state or something like that yeah you just kind of absorb it and go with afloat in the Stream of yeah sure and and it's amazing just how little of that actually at any point channels through your sort of conscious attention where you make some rational otherwise would like deliberate decision most you just get carried away with some but but that that again I mean if we have if this is what we have to work with and I there is no other way in other words of Lena it's there's no other way in there's no way even like you and I discussing this like discussing the the history of this incredible Spike of evolution or innovation rather and Technology it feel it just doesn't feel like anything it feels normal so even though we can intellectualize it even though we can have this conversation talk about what an incredible time

► 00:43:05

how terrifying it is that things are moving at such an incredibly rapid rate and no one no one's putting the brakes on it no one's thinking about the potential pros and cons we're just pushing ahead yeah well not nobody not know either I see people come to my research yes there's actually increase I mean when I got interested in these things in the 90s and it was very much a fringe activity there was some internet mailing list on people exchanging ideas but ever since then I mean there's now a small

► 00:43:38

set of academic research institutes and some other data kind of actually trying to do more systematic thinking about some of these big picture topics when did it seem like it was possible like if you got involved in it in the 90s it must have seemed like some very Fringe sort of Pie in the Sky idea of an art General artificial intelligence as if we're talking specifically about a yeah well actually the field of artificial intelligence sometimes it's kind of dated to 1956 that was a conference but I mean if someone more mature but roughly that's when it got started but the Pioneers even right back at the beginning thought that they would gonna be able to do all the things that the human brain does and in fact there were quite optimistic like thought maybe 10 years or something like that back then how many of them really even before computers know they had computers in the 56 yeah what kind of computers well slow yeah so computers

► 00:44:37

when was the computer invented well it's one of those things I think during the second world war they had computers that were useful for doing stuff than before that they had kind of tabulating machines and before that I had designs for things that if they had been put together would have been able to calculate a lot of numbers and then before that they had an abacus it's kind of

► 00:45:07

there's a number of like that the line from having some external tool like a notepad which you can you can calculate bigger numbers right if you can scribble on a piece of paper to modern day super computer like it that kind of you can break it down into small steps and they happen gradually but but yeah roughly since they the the 40s or so

► 00:45:28

that's when they first invented electrical yeah yeah I think so even back then they thought we're only about 10 years away well some pets so in the in the mid 50's when people started using the word artificial intelligence some of these AI researchers at the time were quite optimistic about the timelines in fact there was some some some summer project that we're going to have a few students or whatever and work over the summer and I thought oh maybe we can solve Vision over the summer and now we've kind of solvation but that's like 60 years later so it can be hard to know how hard the problem is until you've actually solved it but the really interesting thing to me is that even though I can understand why they were wrong about how difficult it is because how would you know right if it's 10 years of work or a hundred years of work kind of hard to estimate at the outset but what is striking is that even the ones who thought it was

► 00:46:28

years away it they didn't think of what the obvious Next Step would be after that like if you actually succeeded at mechanizing all the functions of the human mind that they couldn't to the think are well it's obviously not going to stop there once you get human equivalence like you're going to get super intelligence but it was as if the imagination muscle had so exhausted itself thinking of these radical possibility you can have a machine that does everything that human knows that it couldn't kind of take the next step after that or for that matter the immense ethical and social implications even if all you could do is to replicate human mind like in machine that that if you actually thought you were building that and you were 10 years away you'd be crazy not to spend like a lot of time thinking about how this is going to impact the world but that didn't really seem to have occurred much to them at all well sometimes it seems that people just want to do it like even with the creation of the atomic bomb I mean they they felt like they had to do it because we had to develop a

► 00:47:28

before the Germans did right but that that was a specific reason like it wasn't just oh could be fun to do right sure and so with the Manhattan Project obviously it was during wartime and maybe Hitler had a program they thought so you can easily see why that yeah and I would motivate a lot of people but even before they actually started the Manhattan Project so the guy who kind of first conceived of the idea that you could make a nuclear explosion Leo szilard he was the was a kind of eccentric physicist who conceived of the idea of a chain reaction so it's been known before that you could split the atom and a little bit of energy came out but if you're going to split one atom at a time right you're never going to get anything because it's too little so the idea of a chain reaction was that if you split an atom when it releases two neutrons in each of those can split another two atoms that then release for neutrons and you get an exposure and exponential blow-up and so he thought

► 00:48:28

of this I forget exactly one must have been in the third early 30s probably and he was a remarkable person because it didn't just think all this is a fun idea I should publish it and you know get a lot of citations but he thought like what would this mean for the world like the GI this is this is this this could be bad for civilization and so he then went to try to persuade some other of his colleagues who were also working in nuclear physics not not to pursue this not to publish on related ideas and wow some partial success so there was some partial success where his colleagues are some things were not published immediately it's not not all of his colleagues listen to him so of course that's isn't that the problem is that that is some people are always going to want to be the ones that sort of innovate that that is the problem in those cases where you would actually prefer the Innovation or to happen yes historically of course we now look back and think there are a lot of

► 00:49:28

the center's that we are now glad could have their way because a lot of cultures were quite resistant to Innovation and they wanted to do the way things had always been whether it's like social Innovation or technological innovation you know that the Chinese word one point ahead in seafaring exploring and then they shot all of that down because the the emperor of the time I guess didn't like it and so there are many examples of kind of stasis but as long as there were a lot of different places a lot of different countries a lot of different Mavericks than somebody would always do it and then once the others could see that it worked you know they could kind of copy and things move forward but of course if there is a technology you actually want not to be developed then this multipolar situation makes it very very hard to coordinate to refrain from doing that

► 00:50:26

and yeah this this I think is a kind of structural problem in the current human condition that is ultimately responsible for a lot of the existential risks that we will face in this Century this kind of failure of ability to solve Global coordination problems yeah and when you think about the people that did in Oppenheimer in the people behind the Manhattan Project they were inventing this to deal with this existential threat this horrific threat from Nazi Germany this the Japanese and of the World War II you know this this idea that this evil empire is going to try to take over the world and this created the momentum and this created the motivation to develop this incredible technology that wind up making a great amount of our electricity and wound up creating enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire world many times over and we're in this strange State now

► 00:51:25

or it was motivated by this horrific moment in history this evil empire a tries to take over the world and we come up with this incredible technological solution the Ultimate Weapon that we detonate a couple of times on some cities and then now we're in this weird state where you know where how many years later 80 years later and we're not doing it anymore we don't drop any bombs on people anymore but we all have them and we all have them pointed each other at all well yes which is a good thing I think quite a few but it's some incredible that the motivation for this incredible technology this amazing technology was actually to deal with something that was awful

► 00:52:08

yeah yeah I mean War has been like has either way of focusing minds and stuff now I think that nuclear energy we would have had anyway maybe it would have been developed like five years or ten years later reactors are not that difficult to do so I think we could have gotten to all the good juices of nuclear technology that we have today without having to add kind of the nuclear bomb developed now you pay attention to like Boston Dynamics and these all these different robotic Creations that they've made well they seem to have a penchant for doing the really Sinister looking but I think all robots that are you know anything that looks autonomous is kind of sinister-looking if we come back yeah I mean like the Japanese have these like big guys so yeah so it's a different trying to trick us Boston Dynamics is I don't want the Pentagon to give them funding or something right DARPA yeah they look like they're developing Terminator

► 00:53:07

yeah yeah but what I was thinking is if we do eventually come to a time where those things are going to war for us instead of us like if we get involved in robot wars are robots versus their robots and this becomes the next motivation for increased technological innovation to try to deal with Superior robots by the Soviet Union or by China like these are more things that could be threats that could push people to some crazy level of technological innovation yeah it could I mean I think there are other drivers for technological innovation as well that that seems plenty strong sure commercial drivers let us say that we wouldn't have to rely on the war or the threat of War to kind of stay Innovative and when

► 00:54:07

it hasn't been this effort to try to see if it would be possible to have some kind of ban on lethal autonomous weapons just as there are technologies that we have like there is has been a relatively successful ban on chemical and biological weapons and which have by and large been you know honored and upheld there are kind of treaties on nuclear weapons which has limited proliferation yes star now maybe I don't know a dozen I don't know the exact number but it's certainly a lot better than fifty or a hundred countries yes and some other weapons as well blinding lasers landmines muster Munitions and so some people think maybe we could do something like this with lethal autonomous weapons killer Bots that you do we is that really what Humanity needs most now like another arms race to develop like kilobots it

► 00:55:07

is arguably the answer to that is no but I've I've kind of there's a lot of my friends are supported I kind of stood a little bit on the sidelines on that particular campaign being a little unsure exactly what it is that what I mean certainly I think it would be better if we refrain from having some arms race to develop these they're not but if you start to look in more detail what precisely is the thing that you're hoping to ban so if the idea is the autonomous bit like the robot should not be able to make its own fire and decision well if the alternative to that is there is some 19 year old guy sitting in some office building and his job is whenever the screen flashes fire now he has to press the red button and then exactly the same thing happens I mean I'm not sure how much is gained by having that extra step but it is something it feels better for us for some reason I'm someone I'm not pushing the

► 00:56:07

right but exactly what does that mean like in ever particular firing decision or is it like some

► 00:56:14

well you got to attack this group of surface ships here and in like you are the general parameters and you're not allowed to fire outside this these coordinates like this I don't know I mean another is the question of it would be better if we had no Wars but if there is going to be a war maybe it is better if it's robot the robot or if if that's going to be bumping like maybe you want the bombs to have high Precision rather than low Precision like get fewer civilian casualties in operating under artificial intelligence oh well it depends exactly on her so I don't know I mean on the other hand you could imagine it kind of reduces the threshold for going to war if you think that you wouldn't fear any casualties maybe it would be more eager to do it bro or RF it proliferates and you have these kind of mosquito sized killer Bots that terrorists have and

► 00:57:06

you know it's not not doesn't seem like a good thing to have a society we have like a facial recognition thing and then the botflies out and you just have a kind of dystopia so yeah I think we're thinking rationally if you were thinking rationally given the overall view of the human race that we want peace and everything to be well but realistically if you were someone who is trying to attack someone militarily you'd want the best possible weapons it give you the best possible advantage and that's why we had to develop the atomic bomb first it's probably why will develop the or will try to develop the killer autonomous robot first yeah someone else would have it right the fair that the others yeah so this is why it's basically a coordination problem like it's hard for any one country unilaterally to make sure that the world is peaceful and sure and kind right it

► 00:58:06

requires everybody to synchronize their actions and then then you can have successes like we've had with some of these treaties like we've not had a big arms race in biological weapons or chemical weapons I mean they have been that were there were teachers even on the biological warfare program like the Soviet Union had massive efforts there but still probably a less use of that and less development and if there had been no such treaty so and our just look at the amount of money being wasted every year to maintain these large Arsenal so that we can kill one another if one day we decide to do it like that there's got to be a better way yeah we had hoped getting there is hard yeah we would hope that we would get to some point where all this would be irrelevant yeah because there's no more war yeah and so if you look at the the biggest efforts so far to make that happens after the first world war people were really aware of that said that this this sucks like War I mean look at this like a whole generation

► 00:59:06

ground-up machine guns like this ya got to make sure this never happens again so they tried to do the league of nation but then didn't really invest it with very much power and then the second War II World War happened and then again just after that it's fresh in people's memories and well never again this is it the United Nations and in Europe the European Union it's kind of both designed as ways to try to prevent this but again with kind of maybe in the case of the United Nations quite limited powers to actually enforce the agreement and there's a Vita which makes it hard if it's two of the major powers that are at loggerheads so it might be that if that were with third big conflagration that then people would say well this time you know we got it really we got to really put something kind of institutional solution in place that that has enough enforcement power that that we don't try this yet again so we don't have a second robot war

► 01:00:04

so once we get to the first robot warning but they kind of memories fade right yes that's the problem so even the Cold War I mean I grew up I'm Swedish I remember we were kind of in between right and and we were taught in schools about a nuclear fallout and stuff like that it's like a very palpable sense that at any given point in time that could be some miscalculation or crisis or some something and and like all the way up to seniors Statesman at the time this is this were like a very real and very serious and I feel the Som that memory of just how bad it is to live in that kind of hair trigger a nuclear arms race called War situation has kind of faded and now he's saying well maybe you know the world didn't blow up so so maybe wasn't so bad after all well I think that would be the wrong lesson to learn when I was a bit like you're playing Russian roulette yeah and you survived one and you say well it isn't so dangerous at all to play Russian Roulette I think I'm gonna have another guy like that

► 01:01:04

you got to realize like well maybe that was a 10 percent chance or 30% chance that the world would drop during the Cold War and we were lucky but it doesn't mean we want to have another one I when I was in high school was a real threat when I was in high school everyone was terrified that we were going to go to war with Russia as it was a big thing and and you talk to people from my generation about that and everybody remembers it remember that feeling that you had in high school like we there any at any day something could go wrong we could be at war with another

► 01:01:35

country that's a nuclear superpower yeah but that's all gone now like that that feeling that fear people are so confident that that's not going to happen that the sound even in people's Consciousness and

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then a number of Maneuvers are made and then find yourself in the kind of situation where there's like honored stake and reputation and you feel you can't back down and then another thing happens and you get into this place where if you even say something kind about the other side you seem to be like you know you're a softer pinky or a lot and on both sides in the other side as well obviously they're going to have the same internal Dynamic and each side says bad things about the other it makes the other side hate them even more and these things are done hard to reverse like once you find this Dynamic happening it's kind of almost like it's not too late you can try but but you can be very hard to back out of that and so if you can prevent yourself from going down that path to begin with that's much preferable when you see Boston Dynamics and you see those robots is there something comparable that's being developed either in the Soviet Union or in China or somewhere else in the world where there's similar type robots

► 01:02:44

well I think a lot of the Boston Dynamic things seems more showy than actually useful really scared of animal like things the top around and 150 decibels or something like if I were a special ops trying to sneak in like I wouldn't want this is kind of big alarm Library yeah but I think a lot of action would be more in terms of flying drones may be a submarine stuff missiles that kind of stuff but are you when you see these robots and you you know see like the the ones that look like dogs are like insects and couldn't you imagine those things being armed with with guns and when they are then they don't it doesn't really look showy anymore it seems pretty effective like you can't even kick those things over yeah well I mean I think if it hasn't gone I mean it doesn't

► 01:03:43

really matter whether it looks like a dog or if it's just a Sprite flying platform sure I mean in general I think that the more we with AI and Robotics like the more the cooler something looks usually technically the less impressive it is as you see these looks to throw yeah I would say extreme case of this is these robots that look exactly like a human like maybe like shaped like a beautiful woman or something like that and then there are complete type and I guess not gonna was it that movies obviously they do it because they don't want to film in movies but every once in a while you have some press release I forget what the name is of this female looking robot that got citizenship in Saudi Arabia are two years ago it's like a publicity stunt but the media just lapped it up wow they've created this like it's exactly like a human like what a big breakthrough and and is like nothing do you anticipate like when you see ex machina do you think that that's something that could be real

► 01:04:42

this tickly the that could be implemented in a hundred years or so like we really could have some form of artificial human that's indistinguishable

► 01:04:54

well I think the action is not going to lie in the the robotic parts of much as in the brain part like I think it's the AI part and Robotics only insofar as it becomes enabled by having say much better learning algorithms that so right now if you have a robot for the most part in any one of these big factories it's like a blind dumb thing that executes a pre-programmed set of motions over and over again mmm and if you want to change up the production you need to get in some Engineers to reprogram it right but with a human you could kind of show them how to do something once or twice and then they can do it so it will be interesting to see over the next few years whether we can see some kind of progress in robotics that enable this kind of imitation learning to work well enough that you could actually start doing it in any kind of be there are demonstrations already but robustly not that that it would be useful and you could replace a lot of these

► 01:05:54

of industrial robotics experts by having this so yeah so I think you mean in terms of making things look like human I think that's more for Hollywood and and for press releases that than the actual driver of progress more so the actual driver of progress but someone is going to probably try to replicate a human being once the technology becomes viable and one of the more disturbing did you see the movie ex machina I've probably I mean I don't see I just it's a little bit of a blur is I've seen some of these are not others and ex machina was the one where the guy lives in the very remote location I like a beautiful place and all that yeah yeah created this beautiful girl robot and Sadducees this man and at the end of it she leaves him locked up in this thing and just takes off and gets on the helicopter and flies away and the thing that's disturbing is that they it's she knew

► 01:06:54

to manipulate his emotions to achieve a desired result which is him helping her Escape yeah and but then once she did she had no real emotions so he's screaming and you know she had no compassion and empathy she just hopped on the helicopter and left in there starve to death inside that lockbox and that is what scares people this idea that we're going to create something that's intelligent it has Intelligence but like us but it doesn't have all the things that we have like caring right love friendship compassion the need for other human beings if you develop an autonomous robot that's really autonomous it is no need for other people that's where we get weirded out like it doesn't need us right yeah I mean I think the same would hold even if it were not the robot but just a program inside ashore but but yeah and the idea that you could have something that is strategic and deceptive and so forth yeah so that when but then other elements of the movie of course and in general a reason why it's bad to get your kind of man

► 01:07:55

of the future from from Hollywood is if it takes is one guy presumably some genius living out in the nowhere and kind of inventing this whole system like in reality yeah it's like anything else they're a lot like hundreds of people programming away on their computers writing on whiteboards and sharing ideas with other people across the world it doesn't look like a human and that would often be some economic reason for doing it in the first place like not just all we have this Promethean attitude that we have a kind of bring and I like so so all of those things don't make for such good plot lines so they just get removed but then I wonder if people actually think of the future in terms of some kind of super villain and some hero and it's going to come down to these two people and they're going to wrestle and yeah and it's got to be very personalized and

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it and localized whereas a lot of things that determine what happens in the world are very spread out and bureaucracies churning away and sure yeah that was a big problem that a lot of people had with the movie was the idea that there's one man could innovate at such a high level be so far beyond everyone else is ridiculous that he's just doing it by himself on this weird compound somewhere come on that's that but that makes a great movie right yeah flying in on the helicopter drop you off and remote locations that shows you something he's created that is going to change the whole world it looked beautiful I mean I could have gotten doing some writers yeah keep their or something well when the iconic image of aliens from another world is this these little gray things with no sexual organs and large heads and black eyes this is the iconic thing that we imagine when we think about things from another planet I've often wondered if

► 01:09:56

what we think of when in terms of like artificial life from another planet or life from another planet is that it's like an artificial creation like in our ideas that we understand that the biological limitations of the body when it comes to traveling through space the dealing with radiation death need for food things along those lines that what we would do is create some artificial thing to travel for us like we've already done on Mars right we have the Rover the roams around Mars The Next Step would be an artificial autonomous intelligent creature that has no biological limitations like we do in terms of like its ability to absorb radiation from space and we create one of those little guys just like that one enormous head no sex organs doesn't need sex organs you know and we have this thing pilot these ships that can defy our own physical limitations in terms of what would happen to us if we had a deal with you know 1 million

► 01:10:54

G-Force because it's moving at some Preposterous rate through space like we when we think of these things coming from another planet if we think of Life on another planet if they can innovate in a similar fashion the way we do we would imagine they would create an artificial creature to do all their dirty work like why would they want to like risk their body right yeah I mean except I think creature might conjure up stuff that I mean I okay thank you spaceship I mean you don't have to have like build a little thing that sits and turns the steering wheel right this could all automated sure and you'd imagine a technology that is spacefaring in a serious way would have nano technology so they have basically the ability to arbitrarily configure matter in whatever structure they wanted I would ever like Nano scale right probably son thinks that could shape-shift done it's not be that that would be this person sitting in a seat behind the steering wheel actually it would just if

► 01:11:54

wanted to they could be invisible toss I'll take like nanoscale things hiding in a rock somewhere yes than just connecting with an information link up to some planetary sized computer somewhere far away which would be doing the so yeah I think that that's the way that space is most likely to get colonized it's not going to be like with meat sacks kind of driving spaceships around and having Star Trek Adventures it's going to be some spherical Frontier emanating from whatever the home planet was moving at some significant fraction of the speed of light and converting everything in its path into infrastructure of whatever type is maximally valuable for that Civilization maybe computers and launchers to launch more of these space probes so that the whole wavefront can continue to propagate but we are we one of the things you brought up earlier set if human beings are

► 01:12:54

going to continue and we're going to propagate through the universe we're going to try to go to other places we're going we're going to try to populate other planets and are we going to do that with just robots are we going to try to do that biologically which probably going to try to do it biologically one of the things you were saying earlier it's one of the things that artificial intelligence could possibly do is accelerate our ability to travel to other lands are the plants I mean we're going to try I mean in fact some people are right trying to biological I just think that's going to not lead to anything important until those efforts becomes obsoleted by some radical new technology wave probably triggered by Machine super intelligence that then rapidly leads to something approximating technological maturity once once Innovation happens at digital time scales rather than human timescales then all these things that you could imagine we doing if I had 40,000 years to work on it we would have space colonies

► 01:13:54

cures for aging and yeah all of these things right but if that thinking time happens you know digital space than that long future gets telescoped and I think you fairly quickly reach a condition where you have close to optimal technology and then you can colonize the space cost-effectively you just need to send out one little probe that then can land on some resources and set up a production facility to make more probes and then it spreads exponentially everywhere

► 01:14:27

and then if you want to you could then like after that initial infrastructure and has happened you could transport biological human beings yeah the planets if you want it is not really worried action is going to be like but what if we were concerned there's some sort of a threat to the Earth like some sort of asteroid impact something we're coming that's our next issue of Technology voting some asteroid would be I think trivial really it would be like a gift of free energy like oh here comes an energy package great that's a funny way to look at it do you think we're going to eventually colonize Mars

► 01:15:06

well I think the the the the answer is this I think if and only if we manage to get through these key technological Transitions and then I think we will colonize not just Mars but everything else that this accessible in the universe when you talk about these things people always want to know when when do you think is going to happen what's the time that's a my guess would be after technological maturity like after superintelligence now with Mars it's possible that that would be like a little kind of prototype colonization take because I like people like really excited about that so if yeah that you could imagine some Little demo project happening sooner but if we're talking about something say that would survive long-term even if the Earth disappeared like some kind of self-sustaining yeah civilization I think that's going to be very difficult to do until you have super intelligence and then it's going to be trivial

► 01:16:02

so you think Super intelligence could potentially be what that one of the applications would be to terraform Mars to change the atmosphere to make it sustainable for biological life yeah so we have if you like a second spot yeah for example the vacation yes now I also think that at this this is a very radical context technological maturity we already maybe there are additional Technologies we can't even think of yet but even just what we already know about physics Etc because out of seed possible technologies that we don't yet or if they were not yet able to build but we can see that they would be consistent with physics that would be stable structures yeah and already that creates a vast space of things you could do and so for example I think it would be possible at the technological maturity to upload human Minds into two computers for example yeah and so that you think that's going to happen like Ray Kurzweil stop well I think again it would be technically possible

► 01:17:03

at technological maturity to do it mmm now whether it's actually going to happen then depends a do we reach technological maturity and be do we are interested in using our technology for that purpose at that time but if both of those same kind of reasonably

► 01:17:23

possible yeah reasonably possible in multiple and especially in comparison to what we've already achieved if I had a time machine and it could jump you 1,000 years from now into the Future Would You Do It would you jump in

► 01:17:40

I mean I think you like the scarring is right now along the Jet flight this kind of all ready for whatever taneous what it was an instantaneous wire cutter can I come back no well I probably wouldn't I don't know I mean I'm kind of a bit cautious with the SEC side at least at the very least I'd rather think about it for a long time before he'll be mine also I have I mean attachments over there people I care about here projects and maybe even opportunities to try to make some difference if if we actually are in this weird time right now different from all of earlier human history were nothing really much was happening and we are not yet where it's all out of our hands and it's super intelligence is running over shall we if if that actually is if that's true then that means we right now live in this very weird period where our actions might have cosmological consequences if we

► 01:18:39

affect the precise time and way in which the transition to machine superintelligence happens we would be hugely influential and you know if you have some ambition to try to do some good in the world and that kind of can be very exciting prospect as well like there might be no other better time to exist if your goal is to do good we might be in the golden years for in terms of ability to have to take actions that have large consequences also this very unique transitionary period between the times of old in the times of new like we're really In the Heat of the change in terms of like we you know the internet is only 20 plus years old phones are only you know cell phones least people carrying them all the time it's only 15 plus years old this is very very new okay yeah so it's like citing crazy time where all these changes are taking place really

► 01:19:39

rapidly like if you were from the future this might be the place where you would travel to to experience what it was like to see this immense change take place almost instantaneously like if you could go back in time to a specific time in history and experience what life was like to me I think I'd probably pick ancient Egypt like during the days of the Pharaohs I would love to see we get to choose who we are there no no you just don't watch if they can watch them just to see what it looks like you know what it's like to experience life back then but if I was from the future where things we're what does have the curiosity what do you think it would look like like what what do you imagine yourself seeing in this I would imagine I mean I've really thought long and hard about the construction method the construction methods of ancient Egypt I would love to see what it looked like when they were building the pyramids like whoa how long did it take what were they doing like how did they

► 01:20:39

do it we still don't know it's all really theoretical there's all these ideas of how they constructed it with Incredible precision and you know Precision in terms of the way it's astronomically aligned to certain areas of our solar system and different constellations it's amazing I would love to have seen how they did that and what was the planning like and had they Implement and how many people did it take and how long did it take because we really don't know it's all speculation do during the burning of the Library of Alexandria we lost so much information and we've got you know hieroglyphs and the physical structures that are still daunting we have no idea we look at those like with a look at the Great Pyramid of Giza the the huge one with 2 million plus stones in it like who made that how did you guys do it like what what did you did you draw it out first like how did you get all the Rocks there like I mean that I think that would be probably the

► 01:21:39

that I would want to go to I would want to be there in the middle of the construction of the pyramids just to watch just to so that certainly would be like big like I guess tourist destinations from for Comfort Time Travelers yeah sure and I got mean in terms of your one is thinking I'm just saying what was going on back then we think the pyramids and the the slave trains and they are like but of course for most Egyptians most of the time that would be picking weeds from their field or sure putting their baby to sleep for just like stuff like that yeah so the kind of the typical moment of human existence they don't even think it's slaves anymore I don't think I think they think it's skilled labor based on their diet based on the diet the utensils that they found in these camps these workers camps they think that these were highly skilled craftspeople that it wasn't necessarily slaves they used to think it was slaves but now because of the bones of the food that we're eating really well and they think that well and also the level of sophistication involved this is not something you just get kind of

► 01:22:39

leaves to do you this it seems to be that there was a population of Structural Engineers there was a population of skilled construction people and that they tried to you know utilize all of these great minds that they had back then put this thing together but it's still a mystery I think that's the spot that I would go to because I think it would be amazing to see so many different Innovative times I mean would Amaze it be amazing to to be alive during the time of Genghis Khan or you know to be alive during some of the some of the wars of thousand two thousand years ago just to see what it was like on but the pyramids would be the big one but I think if I was in the future some weird dystopian future where artificial intelligence runs everything and and human beings are you know linked to some sort of neurological implant that connects us all together and we long for the days of biological

► 01:23:39

pendants and we would like to see what it was it like when they first started inventing phones what was it like when the internet was first opened up for people what was it like when people saw when someone had someone like you on a podcast and was talking about potential artificial intelligence of where could lead us and what could do it most interesting time it is the same time yeah that's what's cool about it to me is that we seem to be in this this really Goldilocks period of great change we're still human but we're worried about privacy we're concerned our phones are listening to us we're concerned about surveillance dates and you know people put little stickers over the laptop camera we see it coming but it hasn't quite hit us yet we're just seeing the problems that are associated with this increased level of technology in our lives

► 01:24:34

which is yeah that is a strange thing if you add up all these pieces it does put us in is very weirdly special position yeah and you wonder hmm it's a little bit too much of a coincidence

► 01:24:50

I know it might be the case but yeah it does put some strain on it when you say little too much of a quail in town so I mean I guess the intuitive way of thinking about it like what were you like what what are the chances that just by chance you would happen to be living in the most interesting time in history being like a celebrity like whatever like what I got that's pretty low prior probability like only for me well from you our main form for it but for all of us right and so that that could just be I mean if there's a lottery somebody's got to have ticket right yeah but or or yeah or or we are wrong about this whole picture and there is some very different structure in place that's which would make our experience is more typical that's what I was getting into yeah I so I gathered yeah so how much have you considered the possibility of a

► 01:25:50

Elation a lot I mean I developed the simulation argument yes back in the early 2000 and so yeah but I mean I know that you develop this argument and I know that you've spent a great deal of time working on this but personally the way you view the world

► 01:26:12

how much how much how much does it play into your vision of what reality is

► 01:26:20

well it's hard to say I mean for the majority of my time I'm not actively thinking about that I'm just like you know living and now I have this weird that my work is actually to think about big picture questions so it kind of comes in through my work as well when you're trying to make sense of our position our possible future Prospect the levers which we might have available to affect the world what would be a good and bad way of pulling those leavers then then you have to try to put all of these constraints and considerations together and in that context I think it's important

► 01:27:09

I think if you are just going about your daily existence then it might not really be very useful or relevant to constantly like try to bring in hypothesis about the nature of our reality it's not like that because for most of the things you're doing on a day-to-day basis like they work the same whether it's inside a simulation or in basement level physical reality like you still need to get your car keys out you still need to write so in some sense it kind of factors out and is irrelevant for many practical intents and purposes what do you remember when you started to contemplate the possibility of a simulation no II mean I remember when the simulation argument occurred to me so which is less it's not just when it's for as long as I can remember like yeah I mean maybe possibility like it could all be a dream it could be a simulation like but but but that that there is this specific

► 01:28:08

I meant that that kind of Narrows down the range of possibilities and where the simulation hypothesis is done one of only three

► 01:28:16

kind of options what are the three options well one is that there is almost all civilizations at our current stage of technological development go extinct before reaching technological maturity that's like option one kind of would be defined technological maturity well say having developed at least all those technologies that we already have good reason to think or physically possible

► 01:28:42

okay so that would include the technology to build extremely large and Powerful computers on which you could run detailed computer simulations of conscious individuals

► 01:28:57

so that kind of kind of would be a pessimistic I like if that's if almost all civilizations is our stage failed to get there that's bad news right because then we will fail as well almost certainly that's one possible yeah so that's option one option two is that there is a very strong convergence among all technologically mature civilizations in that they all lose interest in creating ancestor simulations or these kinds of detailed computer simulations of conscious people like their historical predecessors or variations so maybe they have all of these computers that could do it but for whatever reason they all decide not to do it maybe there's an ethical imperative not to do it or some other mean we don't really know much about these posthuman creatures and what they want to do in right don't want to do so host human cry I'd imagine that by the time they have the technology to do this yes they would also have enhanced themselves in many different ways

► 01:29:55

right and so perhaps enhance their ability to recognize the consequences yeah of creating some sort of stuff that would almost certainly have cognitive enhance themselves for example well is the concept of downloading Consciousness into a computer it almost ensures that there's going to be some type of simulation if you're if you have the ability to download Consciousness into a computer once it's contained into this computer when what it what is what's to stop it from existing there as long as there's power and as long as these chips are firing and electricity is being transferred data is being moved back and forth you would essentially be in some sort of a simulation

► 01:30:38

well I mean if you have the capability to do that and also the motive would have to simulate something that resembles some sort of a biological interface otherwise it's not going to know what to do right so so so we have it these kind of virtual reality environments now that are imperfect but improving and you could kind of imagine that I get better and better than you'll have a perfect virtual reality environment but imagine also that your brain instead of sitting in a box with big headphones and some glasses on like that the brain itself also could be part of the simulation The Matrix well I think in The Matrix there are biological humans let's say that plug-in right right but if you could include in the simulation just as you have may be simulated coffee mugs and Carson cetera you could have simulated brains that if and and so it here is one assumption coming in from outside the simulation argument and

► 01:31:38

can't talk about The Temper the but it's the idea that I call it the substrate Independence thesis that you could in principle have conscious experiences implemented on different substrate it doesn't have to be carbon atoms as as is the case with the human brain it could be silicon atoms atoms that that what creates conscious experiences is some kind of structural feature of the computation that is being performed rather than the material that is used to underpin it so in that case you can have a simulation with detailed simulations of brains in it where maybe ever neuron and signups assimilated and then

► 01:32:17

those brains would be conscious now possibility number two well no says possibility number two is that these posthumous just are not at all interested in doing it and not just that some of them don't but like off all these civilizations that reach technological maturity that's kind of pretty uniformly just don't do that and what's number three that we are in a simulation the simulation hypothesis and where you lean well I definitely had to punt on the question of precise probabilities there I mean I think it would be a probability thing right yes it's assigned some to each but yeah I've refrained from giving a very precise number part partly because I mean if I said some particular number it would get colder and it would create this maybe sense of false Precision mmm the argument doesn't allow you to derive this the probabilities XYZ it's just that at least one of these three has to obtain

► 01:33:15

so yeah so that that narrows it down not because you might think you know why do we know the future is Big it could just make up any story and we have no evidence for but it seems that they're actually if you start to think everything through quite tight constraints on what probabilistically coherent views you could have and it's kind of hard even to find one overall hypothesis that fits this and and various other considerations that that we think we know the idea would be that if there is one day the ability to create a simulation that it would be indiscernible from reality itself that if like say if we are not in a simulation yet if this is just biological life which is extremely fortunate to be in this Goldilocks period but we're working on virtual reality in terms of like Oculus and all these companies are creating these consumer based virtual reality things are getting better and better and really kind of interesting that you got imagine that 20 years ago

► 01:34:14

was nothing like that 20 years from now it might be indiscernible you might you might be able to create a virtual reality that's impossible to discern from the reality that we're currently experience all right maybe 20,000 years so 20 million years like the the argument makes no assumption at all about how long right yeah but one day if things continue to improve computational power the ability to replicate experiences and even feedback in terms of like biological feedback touch and feel and smell they figure out a way to do that one day they will have an artificial reality that's indiscernible from reality itself and if that is the case how do we know if we're in it right that that is roughly the the gist of it now as I said I think if you stimulate the brain also

► 01:35:11

you have a cheaper overall system than if you have a biological component in the center surrounded by virtual reality gear

► 01:35:21

so you could for a given cost I think great many more ancestor simulations with simulated brains in them rather than biological brains with VR gear so most in these scenarios where there would be a lot of simulations most of those scenarios which would be the kind of where everything is digital because it's just cheaper with mature technology to do it that way

► 01:35:46

this is one of the biggest for lack of a better terms mind Fox when you really stop and think about reality itself that if we are living in a simulation like what what is it and why and where's it go and how do I respond how do I move forward if I really do believe this is a simulation what am I doing here yeah those are big questions huge questions

► 01:36:15

that's all of them arise even if we're not in a simulation yeah and aren't they are people that have done some strange and possible understand calculations that designed to determine whether or not there's a likelihood of us being involved in a simulation currently yeah I think it's like the misses the point so the

► 01:36:36

I think so there are these attempts to try to figure out the computational requirements that would be required if you wanted to simulate some physical system with perfect precision

► 01:36:51

so if we have some human brain a room that they say and we wanted to simulate every little part every atom every subatomic particle the whole Quantum wave function what would be the computational load of that and would it be possible to build a computer powerful enough that you can actually do this

► 01:37:16

now I think the way that this misses the point is that it's not necessary to simulate all the details of this environment that you want to create in an ancestor simulation you would only have to simulate it insofar as it is perceptible to The Observer inside the simulation so if if some post human civilization wanted to create a Joe Rogan doing a podcast simulation that need to simulate Joe Rogan's brain because that's where the experience is happen and then whatever parts of the environment that you are able to perceive so surface appearances maybe of the table and walls maybe they would need to simulate me as well or at least a good enough simulacrum that I could sort of spit out words that would sound like they came from a real human right I don't know that now we're getting quite good with this GPT to like these kind of a I died just spews out

► 01:38:13

words with I don't know whether any way so you'd have but would like what is happening inside this table right now is completely irrelevant you have no idea of knowing whether they're even our atoms Terror now you could take a big electron microscope and look at finer structure and then you could take an atomic Force microscope and you could see individual atoms even and you could perform all kinds of measurements and it might be important that if you did that you wouldn't see anything weird because physicists do these experiments and then don't say anything weird but then you could kind of fill in those details like if and one somebody were performing those experiments that would be vastly cheaper than continuously running all of this and so this is the way a lot of computer games are designed today that they have a certain rendering distance like it you only like actually simulate the virtual world when the character goes close enough that you could see it right and so I imagine these kind of super intelligent post-humans doing this obviously that would have figured that out

► 01:39:13

a lot of other optimizations so these in other words these calculations are experiments I think don't really tell on the hypothesis

► 01:39:23

without assigning a probability to either one of those three scenarios what makes you think

► 01:39:31

when you if you do stop and think I think we're in a simulation what are the things that are convincing to you

► 01:39:38

well it would mainly go through the the simulation argument that if it's an extent that I think the alternative to hypotheses are improbable

► 01:39:47

then that would kind of shift the probability Mass on the third remaining is it really only three so the until the ones are we that human beings go extinct lot of other civilizations that are staged in the cosmos whatever yes they this is strong yeah strong filter that they either go extinct or they decide not to pursue all this interest yeah or becomes a simulation this is a really the only thing well I think the only three live options now so you can I I could kind of unfold the argument a little bit more and look more granular so suppose that the first two options are false so some non-trivial fraction of civilizations that are staged to get through and some non-trivial fraction of those are still interested

► 01:40:34

then I think you can convincingly show that by using just a small portion of the resources they could create very very many simulations and you can show that argue for that by comparing the computational power of systems that we know are physically possible to build we can currently be a limit we could see that you could build them with nanotech and if you have planetary scientist in a resources on the one hand and on the other hand estimates of how much computing power it would take to simulate a human brain

► 01:41:10

and you find that amateur civilization would have many many orders of magnitude more so that even if they just used one percent of their compute Power of One Planet for one minute that could still run you know thousands and thousands and thousands of these simulations and they might have billions of planets and they might last for billions of years or so so the numbers are quite extreme it seems so then then what you get is this implication that if the first two options are false it would follow that that would be many many more simulated experiences of our kind and I would be original experiences of Our Kind so the idea is that if we continue to innovate if human beings or intelligent life in the cosmos continues to innovate that creating a simulation is almost inevitable

► 01:42:02

no no I mean II might be that we decide not and others with the same capability but it would if they don't decide not to they don't decide to do not chew if we the first option if you mean beings do figure out a way to not die and stay stay Innovative and we don't have any sort of natural disasters or man-made created disasters then Step 2 if we don't we don't decide to not pursue this if we continue to pursue all various forms of technological innovation including simulations that it becomes inevitable

► 01:42:43

if we get past those two first options becomes inevitable that we pursue it

► 01:42:51

well so if they have the capacity then they will do it and the motive all right so desire to yeah so that then that would create hugely many of these so not just one simulation right but in because it's so cheap at the technological maturity if you have a cosmic Empire of resources it doesn't have to be a very big decide to do this they might just think well you know that was the big question that Ilan said he would ask artificial intelligence said what's beyond the simulation that's the real question if this is a simulation if there's many many simulations running currently what's beyond the simulation well yeah you might be curious about that I mean I think the more important question would be like what do we all things considered have the most recent to do in our situation like what would it be wise for us to do is that like some way that we can be

► 01:43:47

helpful or have the best life or whatever it is that ridiculous to even consider maybe it's beyond us

► 01:43:56

what the question of what is outside yes

► 01:43:59

well I don't think it's ridiculous to consider I think it might be Beyond us but when maybe we would be able to form some abstract conception of what it is I mean in fact if we if the path to believing the simulation hypothesis is the simulation argument and I mean we have a bunch of structure there that gives us some idea like that would be some Advanced civilization that there would have developed a lot of Technology over time including computer technology ability to do virtual reality for a while we'd imagine probably they would have used that technology for a whole host of other purposes as well you wouldn't just get that technology and you know not be able to create a train or something like that as I got there they'd probably be super intelligence and have the ability to colonize the universe and do a whole host of other things and then for one reason or another they would have decided to use some of the resources to create simulations and inside one of those simulations

► 01:44:59

perhaps our experiences would be taking place so in you could you could more speculatively fill in more details there but but I still think that fundamentally our ability to grok this whole thing would be very limited and

► 01:45:17

there might be other considerations that we are oblivious to that would change I mean if you think about the simulation argument it's quite recent right so it's like it's only less than 20 years old so if you think that it's so suppose it's correct for the sake of argument then up to this point everybody was missing something like hugely important and fundamental yeah right very smart people hundreds of years but just like this this massive piece right in the center but what's the chances that we now have figured out the last big missing piece like presumably that must be some father big giant realization that that is like Beyond us currently so I think having some yeah I mean that that looks kind of possible but maybe there are further big discoveries or Revelations that that would kind of maybe not falsify the simulation but maybe change The Interpreter like do something that is hard to know in advance what that would be now is the concept that if there is a simulation that all the stork will

► 01:46:17

it is simulated as well well or when did it take in wow this is that different options they write and that might be many different simulations that are configured differently that I could be ones that run for a very long time one side run for a short period of time once that simulate everything and everybody others that just focus on some particular scene or person you like

► 01:46:41

just a vast space of possibilities there

► 01:46:44

and which ones of those would be most likely is it really hard to say much about because it would depend on the reasons for creating these simulations like what would the interests of these hypothetical posthuman speed have you ever had conversation with the pragmatic capable person really understands what you're saying and but they disagree about the even the possibility of a simulation

► 01:47:11

it must have occurred but it doesn't tend to be the place where the conversation usually goes with this conversation usually go

► 01:47:21

well I mean II mean I'm moving the kind of on representative circles so I think amongst the fog where I interact with a lot I think a common reaction is that it's possible and still there's some uncertainty because these things are always hard to figure out mmm but we should assign it some probability

► 01:47:46

but I'm not saying that would be the typical reaction if you kind of did a Gallup survey or something like that I mean another common thing is I guess to miss interpreted in some way or another and there are different versions of that so one would be this idea that in order for the simulation hypothesis to be true it has to be possible to simulate everything around us to perfect microscopic detail which we discussed earlier right then some people might not immediately get this idea that the brain itself could be part of the simulation so they might only would be plugged in with like a big cable and if you just somehow could reach behind you and like that would be so that that would be another

► 01:48:38

possible common misconception I guess

► 01:48:47

then I think a common thing is to conflate the simulation hypothesis with the simulation argument that the simulation hypothesis is we are in a simulation the argument is that one of these three options is true only one of which is the simulation hypothesis so

► 01:49:03

that like some conflation there happens how do you factor dreams into the simulation hypothesis and I think they are relevant to it that is that whether or not we are in a simulation

► 01:49:16

people presumably would still have dreams and other reasons and explanations for what that would happen so also streams even if you're in the simulation why not

► 01:49:27

hmm I can't okay why not even saw some people sometimes get these kind of random email from there's a like this like oh well you know yes thank you rust remover or theories very interesting enough found proof and like all when I looked in my bathroom mirror so pixels like random things like crazy people varying degrees I mean maybe we're all crazy but yes for sure but yeah but I think that those things are not evidence in generally speaking you would expect if we're not in a simulation there still to be various people who claim to perceive various things sometimes people have a loser Nations sometimes they miss remember sometimes don't make stuff up like you just imagine that it would be the most likely explanation for those things is not even if you are in a simulation the most likely explanation for those things is not that there was a glitch in the simulation is that one of these normal psychological phenomenon took place right so yeah I would not

► 01:50:27

be inclined to think that this would be an explanation if somebody has those kind of experiences it's probably not because we are in the even if the simulation hypothesis is true it's probably not the explanation the concept of creativity how does that play into a simulation if you're if during the simulation you're coming up with these unique creative thoughts are these unique creative thoughts your own or these unique creative thoughts stimulated by the simulation that they could that would be our own in the sense that it would be our brain that was producing them something else would have produced your brain but obviously there's some incredible influences on your brain if you're involved in some sort of an external system stimulation or cellular that's true in

► 01:51:14

physical reality as well sure it's like not not doesn't come soon aware but it's still your brain I think it would be as much potential as much around in the simulation as it would be outside the simulation unless the simulator is had for whatever reason set it up with the view that they for some reason they just wanted to have all this is wrong and coming up with this particular idea and that's kind of configured the initial conditions and just right way to achieve that maybe then when you come up with it maybe it's less your achievement than the people who set up the initial conditions but other than that I think

► 01:51:52

kind of be similar in case the reason I ask that is all ideas but everything that gets created all Innovation initially comes from some sort of a point of someone figuring something out or coming up with a creative idea all of it like everything the scene the external world like everything from televisions to automobiles was an idea and then somebody implemented that idea or groups of people implemented the technology involved in that idea and then eventually came to fruition if you're in a simulation how much of that is being externally introduced into your Consciousness by the simulation and is it pushing the simulation in a certain direction I don't know I mean you could have made him both kinds of simulations like simulations where you just set up the initial conditions and let it run to see what happens right and others were maybe you want to just simulate this particular like this particular historical counterfactual like what would have happened like if Napoleon

► 01:52:52

and had been defeated like maybe that's our simulation actually this yeah but in some specific thing that you could imagine either or both of those types of ways of doing it

► 01:53:03

but your simulation hypothesis

► 01:53:07

we if we're in it it's running now is it running and we

► 01:53:15

independently interact with the simulation or is the simulation introducing ideas into our minds that then come to fruition inside the simulation is that how things get done like if we are in a simulation right it is during the simulation someone has created a new iPhone like why are they doing that if are there other people in the simulation or is this simulation entirely unique to the individual is each individual involved in the different

► 01:53:48

coexisting simulation right so they that that the I think the kind of stimulation that it would be clearest the clearest case for why that would be possible would be one where all people would be simulated that you perceive each brain yeah that is it because then you could get the realistic Behavior out of the brain If you similar to the whole brain at the sufficient level of detail so everyone you interact with is also a celebration well that that type of simulation should certainly be possible then it's more of an open question whether it would also be possible to create simulations where there was a only one person conscious and the others were just like simulacra yeah I like that they like they acted like humans but there's nothing inside right so these would be in philosophers parlance zombies that is like a technical term

► 01:54:48

means in one philosophers discuss it somebody who acts exactly like a human but we're not conscious experience now whether those things are possible or not is an open and question do you consider that every when you're communicating with people do you ever stop and think like this is every extra I mean it's not as a car to me but not not not not record that you know yeah does it everybody but does it ever get your head where you like this might not be real like this person

► 01:55:17

might not be a real person this might be a simulation right I mean I guess there are two things to says one is that

► 01:55:25

it probably have some probability distribution over all these different kinds of situations that you could be in maybe all of those situations are simulated in different frequencies and stuff

► 01:55:38

different numbers of times that is so there would be some probability distribution there that would be the first thought that in reality you're always kind of Uncertain the second would be that even if you were in that kind of simulation it might still be that behaviorally what you should do is exactly the same as if you were in the other simulation so it might not have that much

► 01:56:02

day-to-day implications do you think there's psychological benefits for interacting with life as if it's a simulation probably not I don't think that would be an advantage I mean maybe something maybe this initiating some k sorry what alleviation of existential angst yeah maybe but who knows if it could also I guess if you're sort of interpreted in the wrong way and maybe we needed to feel more alienated or something like that I don't know but I think the first approximation the same things that would be worthwhile and make a lot of sense to do in physical reality would be also our Best Bets in a simulated reality

► 01:56:50

that's where it gets really weird like if it's a simulation but you must behave in each and every instance is if it's not if you know if you are given a like if you had a test you could take like a pregnancy test when you went to the CVS and you know you pee on a strip that tells you guess what Nick this shit isn't real you're in a simulation a hundred percent proven absolutely positive you know from now on from this moment on that everything you interact with is some sort of a creation it's not real

► 01:57:31

but it is real because you having the same exact experiences if it was real

► 01:57:37

how do you proceed yeah I I think that might be very subtle reprioritization so that that would happen what would you do with personally well II don't know the full answer to that I think there are certain possibilities that look kind of

► 01:57:57

far-fetched if we are not in the simulation that become like more realistic if we are like I mean so so why don't this one it's like if you simulation could be shut off like it's a computer where the simulation is running is if the pull the plug is pulled right right and so we think physical universe as we normal in the said can't just suddenly pop out of existence that's a conservation of energy and momentum and so forth but a simulated universe that seems like something that could happen it doesn't mean it is likely to happen or it doesn't say anything about what time frame but at least it's like entrance as a possibility where it was not there before other things as well become more may be similar to various theological possibilities that like afterlife and stuff like that and in fact it kind of maybe through a very different path leads to some similar destinations as people through thinking about Theology and stuff have

► 01:58:57

arrived at in that that would mean it's kind of different I think there is no logically necessary connection either way but there are so kind of structural parallels analogs between the situation of a simulated creature to their you know simulators and I created entity to their creator

► 01:59:21

that that are interesting although kind of different so so that might be kind of comparisons there that you could make that would give you some like possible ways of proceeding it seems like paralysis by analysis so you just sit there and think about it like at least I would yeah almost wind up not being able to do anything or not being able to act or move or think about that that seems kind of likely to be suboptimal right suboptimal for sure yeah yeah

► 01:59:51

but it's the concept is so prevalent and it's so common and it's interesting how much it has just over the last yeah 10-15 years how long the idea has was this like really radical thing when it started and I have all these kind of figures that kind of almost like in En passant just kind of yeah throws it off and yeah I it's interesting how ideas can migrate from some kind of extreme radical Fringe and some decade or two later they're just kind of almost Common Sense well I don't think that is well we have a great ability to get used to things when this comes back to our discussion about the pace of technological progress it seems like the normal way for things to be we are very adaptable creatures right you can adjust to almost everything and we have no kind of external reference point really and mostly these judgments are based

► 02:00:51

on what we think other people think so if it looks like if some high status individual Elon Musk whatever talk needs to take the simulation argument seriously dumb people think it's a sensible I do it and it only takes like one or two or three of those like people that that are highly regarded as something becomes normalized is there anyone highly regarded that openly dismisses this possibility

► 02:01:17

that must be but I'm not sure they would have bothered to go on the record specifically like I guess the people who are dismissive of it wouldn't maybe even bothered to address it or something trying to think yeah and I'm drawing a blank of whether they said Pacific particular person I could I would love to hear the argument against I love to see here someone like you or Ilan interact with them and try to like you know Vale back and forth these ideas yeah

► 02:01:50

that could be interesting yeah you see I've never had like some sort of a debate with someone openly dismisses it well like a big public debate I don't know even private yeah I don't know I mean I've it was kind of a long time since I when I first put this article out I guess I had more conversations about the argument itself what was the reaction when you first put it out there's a lot of attention right I mean pretty much right off the bat including public at I mean it was published in some academic Journal philosophical quarterly but yeah it quickly drew a lot of attention and then it's kind of come in waves like every other every year or so there's this would be like some new group of something new either a new generation or some new community that hears about it for the first time and it kind of gets a new wave of attention but in parallel to these waves there's also this

► 02:02:48

is chronic Trend towards it becoming more part of the mainstream conversation and seeming kind of less for out there yeah and I think yeah that's maybe part of just

► 02:03:04

if the idea of like maybe if there were some big flaw in that it would have been discovered by now so if it's been around for a while it makes it a little bit more credible it might also be slightly assisted by just technological progress if you see virtual reality getting better and stuff it becomes may be easier to imagine how it could become so good one day that you could create perfectly Flawless that was good I was going to introduce that as option for is option for the possibility that one day we could conceivably create some sort of an amazing simulation but it hasn't been done yet and this is why it's become this topic of conversation is that there's some need for concern because you extrapolate technology and you think about where it's going now and where it's headed there could conceivably be one day where this exists should we consider this and deal with it now well so I'd say that that would be highly unlikely in that if the third so if the first two are wrong right then there are many many more simulated one

► 02:04:04

the non-simulated ones will be over the course of all of history over the course of our history but what has happened so then the question is given that you know that by the end of time that will have been let's say just a million simulations and one original history sure and that all of these simulated people and the original history people all have subjectively indistinguishable experiences you can from the inside-- tell the difference right then what given that assumption would it be rational for you to believe should you take your one of the exceptional ones or should you think you're one you know amongst the larger set the simulated ones or should you think that it just has not happened yet just because it would be equivalent to saying that you would be one of the non-simulated ones you talking about in the universe

► 02:04:58

yeah but we could make it even just you could look at the narrow case of just the Earth let's just look in the narrow case of just the Earth yeah in the narrow case of just the Earth if the historical record is accurate if it's not a simulation then it seems very reasonable that we're just dealing with incremental increases in technology that's pretty stunning and pretty pretty profound currently but that we haven't experienced a simulation yet isn't that sucks right sure but that's also how it would look if you were in a simulation yes but it's also how it would look if you're not in a simulation yet that's also a possibility to know right yeah but for most people who for whom it looks like that it would be the case that they would be simulated why

► 02:05:47

well by assumption if they're all these simulations created well not yet well right why would women you don't know what time you don't know what time it is in external website but why we we assume something so unbelievably fantastic when just life itself is preposterous the life itself just being a human being on a planet you know this planet spinning a thousand miles an hour hurling through Infinity that in itself is fairly Preposterous if it didn't exist but it does exist and we know that we at least we're all agreeing Upon A Certain historical record we're agreeing upon Oppenheimer the Manhattan Project World War One World War II we're agreeing on Korea and Vietnam we're agreeing on Reagan and Kennedy we're agreeing on all these things historically if we are all agreeing that there's a sort of historical process we are all agreeing I remember when the first iPhone was invented I remember when the first computer I remember when this I remember

► 02:06:46

internet why would we assume

► 02:06:50

that there's a simulation

► 02:06:53

we could assume that there's a possibility of a simulation but why would you assume the simulation hasn't occurred why wouldn't we assume the simulation hasn't occurred yet right mean so it is a possibility that we would be in the first time segments of all of these like it's not be more likely if we go outside say no I mean beside comes down then to this field which is tricky and probably I think called anthropic so this is about how to assign probabilities in situations where you have uncertainty about who you are what time it is where you are

► 02:07:30

so if you're my turn for example all of these people who would exist in this scenario having to place bets on whether there are simulated or not

► 02:07:43

and you think about two possible different ways of reasoning about this so one is you assume you're a randomly selected individual from all these individuals and you better cordially randomly selected individual so then you would bet you're one of the simulated ones because like a randomly selected ones if most are simulated most lottery tickets or why are we assuming most simulate this where I'm getting confused well because if we will have limited by the end of time by the end of this is like a Timeless why already when it hasn't existed yet like what I'm I'm like let's say for the sake of argument because I don't really have an opinion on this you Pro or con I'm open the air but if I was going to argue about pragmatic reality the the practicality of biological existence as a person that has a finite lifespan you're born you die you're here right now and we are part of this just long line of humanity that's created all these incredible things it's led up to civilization that's led up to this moment

► 02:08:41

now we're you and I are talking into these microphones it's being broadcast everywhere why isn't it likely that a simulation hasn't occurred yet that we are in the process of innovating and one day could potentially experience a simulation but why are you not factoring in the possibility of the probability that that hasn't taken place yet yeah I mean it's in there but if you imagine that people as follow this General principle of assuming that they would be the ones in the original history before the simulations had happened bro then almost all of them would turn out to be wrong and they would lose their bets once the simulation has actually I mean if you look if you're kind of integrated over you know the unit but there's no evidence that the simulation is taking place but there is evidence that you're alive and have a mother you have a file I mean those things could be true in the simulation as well I mean it could be but it isn't that pipe dream

► 02:09:41

Malaysian right just means a lot of simulations might run for a long time and have a microphone yeah but we know that if someone shoots you you'll die we know if you eat food you get full we know these things these things could be objective facts these can be I think that yeah yes right now why would we assume why why would a simulation be the most likely scenario when we've experienced at least we believe we've experienced all this innovation in our lifetime we see it moving towards a certain direction why wouldn't we assume that that hasn't taken place yet yeah I think to try to argue for the premise that conditional on there being first an initial segment of non-simulated Joe Rogan experiences and then a lot of other segments of simulated ones yes that conditional on that being the way the world in totality looks you should think you're one of this

► 02:10:40

related ones why well to argue for that I think then you need to roll in this piece of probability Theory called an Tropics which I alluded to and yes just to pull one little element out of there to kind of create some initial plausibility for this if you think in terms of rational betting strategies for this population of Joe Rogan Experience has the ones that would lead to the overall maximal amount of winning would be if you all thought you'd probably one of the simulated segment if you had the general reasoning rule that in this kind of situation you should think that you're the initial segment of non-simulated Rogan then the great preponderance of these simulated experiences would lose their bets but there's no evidence of a simulation well I'd say that there is indirect evidence insofar as there is evidence against these two

► 02:11:40

Alternatives the what the two Alternatives being that they bloom universal life goes extinct before they create any sort of simulation or they agree to not create a simulation but what about if they're gonna create a simulation there has to be a time before the simulation is created why wouldn't you assume that that time is now currently happening when you've got a historical record of all the Innovation that's leading up to today if we understand its I think they starkel record would be there and assimilation but there but why would it have to be there in a simulation and not be there in reality

► 02:12:17

well I mean it could be there in the simulation if it's a kind of simulation exactly original yeah if it's a fantasy simulation then you know maybe it wouldn't be there but it could just be reality it doesn't have to be a silent auction and sometimes it would be both right I mean that would be one Joe Rogan Experience in the real original history and then like maybe a million that I say in simulated realities later but the one think about your actions that kind of can't distinguish between these different possible locations in space time where you could be most of the impact of your decisions will come from impacting all of these million-dollar organ instances yeah but this is once the simulation has been proven to exist which it hasn't been we have at least in terms of what we all agree we're proven to have biological lives we breed we sleep we eat we travel on planes all these

► 02:13:18

I mean I'd say those are our true probably even if we're in a simulation but why would you assume we're in a simulated this is where I'm completely shocked because why wouldn't you assume that a simulation is one day possible there's no proof or no evidence that makes any sense to me that there is currently any simulation right of insights a matter of probabilities and the number of schemes right is it that's occurred I wouldn't this reality but what would point to the possibility that it's more probable that we were in a simulation this is what escapes me okay so I could mention some possibilities that would okay so that's the most obvious like it might have a big window pops up in front of you saying you're in a simulation like that would be that'd be wonderful and if conclusive right yes right so short of that you would have weaker probabilistic evidence insofar as you had evidence against

► 02:14:16

the two Alternatives so for example if you if you got some evidence that suggested it was less likely that all civilizations that are stage go extinct before maturity let's say we get our act together we eliminate nuclear weapons we you know we become prudent and we check all the asteroids nothing is some Collision Course where there is that kind of tend to lower the probability of the first right okay so that would tend to shift probability over on the remaining Alternatives let's suppose that we moved closer ourselves to becoming posthuman we develop more advanced computers and VR and like we're getting close to this point ourselves and we still remain really interested in running answers to simulations we think are this is what we really want to spend our resources on as soon as we can make it work

► 02:15:05

that would move probability over from the second alternative like it's less likely that there is this strong convergence among all posthuman technologically mature civilizations if we ourselves are almost posthuman and we still have this interest in creating ancestor simulations so that would shove probability over to the remaining alternative take the extreme case of this like imagine if we you know a thousand years from now have a built our own planetary science computer that can run these simulations and we are just about to switch it on and it will create a simulation of precisely people like ourselves and as we move towards the big button to sort of initiate this like then the probability of the first two hypotheses basically goes to 0 right and then we would have to conclude with near certainty that we are ourselves in a simulation as we push this button to create a million simulations once we achieve that state but we have now achieved that state

► 02:16:05

Would we not assume that we are in the actual state that we currently experience well I suggest we should have to assume we should assume that we are ignorant as to which of these different time slices we are which of these different Joe Rogan experiences is the present one we just can't tell from the inside which one it is

► 02:16:30

yeah I'm straight if you had if you could see like some objective clock and and say that well as yet the clock is our early that no simulations have happened and obviously you could conclude that you're in the original history but if we can't see that clock outside the window if there is no window in the simulation to look out then it would look the same and then I'd say we have no way of telling which of these different instances we are at one of them might be that there is no simulation and that we're moving towards that simulation that one day I could be tackled by one possible but in a million really so one in a million is that life is what experience right now one in about the conditional on the other than those other Alternatives being wrong let's let's let's say that human beings haven't blown themselves up yet let's say that human beings haven't come up with the there's no need to make the decision to not activate the simulation because the simulation hasn't been invented yet

► 02:17:30

isn't that also a possibility is in also a possibility that the actual timeline of technological innovation that we all agree on is real and that we're experiencing this as real live human beings not in a simulation that one day the simulation could potentially take place but has not yet isn't that also a possibility yeah yeah I'm sure it's just a question of how probable that is given the why isn't it super probable because we're experiencing it well I mean it would be a very unusual situation for somebody with your experiences to be in what about your experiences are this is all my stress the same same there yeah it would be extremely unusual there's your seven billion unusual experience and I can totally see ya at a nice lie why would you assume that there were like say a million simulations right then you know that would be a million times more but why would there be any simulations why would there not just be 7 billion people experiencing life right yeah that mean then that would have to be something that prevents these

► 02:18:30

as from for being create this is where you lose me yeah exotic maybe the difference is I tend to think in terms of the world as a four dimensional structure

► 02:18:42

with time being one dimension right okay so we just say you think in the totality of existence

► 02:18:50

that will have happened by the end of time you look at all the different experiences that match your current experience okay given these various assumptions the vast majority of those would be simulated

► 02:19:09

why well the various assumptions being that option 1 & 2 are false basic what about option my option yeah so that is your option the vast majority of all these experiences that will ever have existed will also be simulated if I understand your no no my option is that nothing's happened yet yeah but they will have been maybe but not yet right but it's all as I understand your option is that if we look at the universe at the end of time and we'll look back there will be a lot of simulated versions of you and then one original one that's been considering might be the original one no I'm not even considering that what I'm saying is

► 02:19:49

we may just be here that there is no simulation and that maybe it will take place some day but maybe it will not but you have to if it's a pick which of those

► 02:20:02

versions jar which of those scenarios you are considering that is the that is the scenario I'm considering the scenario I'm considering is we are just here we are actually a lot what happens after like so I want this scenario to say what's happened in the past what happens now and what will happen in the future well we don't know what's going to happen in the future and that's right so we can consider both options right yes one option where there are no simulations created later right then I would say that means one of the first two Alternatives but in other option is there could be a simulation created later but it has not taken place yet that I will be simulations later that it's a possibility but it has not happened yet but that will be later that's one yes ability and so then I say if that's the world that we are looking at then most experiences of your kind

► 02:20:59

exist inside the simulation I still don't understand that why can it not have happened yet

► 02:21:07

well it kind of depends on which of these experiences is your present moment in that scenario right so that that's going to be a million of them plus an initial one you can also place a be there will be a million of them but there's right now no evidence that there's going to be no evidence that there is no evidence that it's ever even going to be possible technologically we think there could be but it hasn't happened yet so why would you assume that we are in a simulation currently when there's no evidence whatsoever that it's even possible to create a simulation

► 02:21:47

maybe there is some alternative way of trying to explain I understand what I'm saying I'm thinking like suppose I understand you saying that is I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm just thinking maybe we could think of some simpler thought experiment which has nothing to do with simulations and stuff but imagine if some making this up as I go along so we'll see if it actually works but you are taking into a room and then you're awake there for one hour and then a coin is tossed and if it lands heads then the experiment ends on your exit the room and everything is normal again but if it lands Tails then you're given an Amnesia drug

► 02:22:40

and then you're walking up in the room again you think you're there for the first time because you don't remember having been that before right and then this is repeated ten times so we have a world where either there is one one our experience of you in the room or else it's a world with ten Joe Rogan experiences in the room with an episode of Amnesia in between right but when you're in the room now you find yourself in this room you're wondering hmm is this the first time I'm in this room could be but it could also be that later on and I was just given an Amnesia drug okay so the question now is when you wake up in this room you have to assign probabilities to these different places you could be in time

► 02:23:30

and then maybe have to bet or make some decision that depends on where you are

► 02:23:36

so what I guess I could ask you like so if you wake up in this room what what what do you think the probability should be that the coin that that you're like it's time one versus at some later time

► 02:23:53

well what is the probability that I'm actually here versus what is the probability that is highly unlikely scenario that I keep getting drugged over and over again every hour we have assumed that like in your certain that that the setup is such that there was this mad scientist who had the means to do this and he was going to flip this coin right so we assuming that that's your sure about that either way the only thing you're unsure about is how the coin landed okay well if that was a scenario where I knew that there was a possibility of a mad scientist and I could wake up over and over again that seems like a recipe for insanity

► 02:24:29

well it's a philosophical thought experiment it is absolutely we can abstract away from my points of initially I'll get back to it as there's no evidence at all that we're in a simulation so why wouldn't we assume that the most likely scenario is taking place which is we are just existing and life is as it seems but strange so okay so if if you don't want to do this thought experiment so I do want to do is get some incredibly limited right you're saying this still write the probability Theory apart from The Wider simulation but I guess I could also ask you if we were to move closer to this point where we ourselves can create simulations if we survive we become a multiplanetary species we build planetary sized computers yeah how would your probability in the simulation hypothesis change as we kind of develop but will change based on the evidence of some profound

► 02:25:27

colonization that actually would allow someone to create a simulation it's indistinguishable from reality but I would rather assumed that reality itself currently is just that because it seems to be isn't that Occam's razor isn't that the simplest answer this is reality this is would you are here you actually are here one day there may be a simulation it has not happened yet yeah I think it's not that comes razor in that it would require you to postulate that yard is very unusual and special Observer amongst all The Observers that will exist but why is it but everyone is unusual in their own way that's true but there's no there's no clones there's no one person that's a version that's living the same exact life in a million different scenarios but but in this respect if they're all these simulations than most of these people are not special in this way the most of them are simulated

► 02:26:28

and only at the I knew in our simulation right okay how many simulations well if there's no simulation well then you have seven if there are no similar size and there will never be an assimilation Stan but who saying there never will be well so this since since we don't know what time it is now in external reality right and we therefore can't tell from looking at our evidence

► 02:26:56

where we are in a world where either there is just an original history and then it ends or there is a world with an original history done a lot of simulations we need to think about how to assign probabilities given each of these two scenarios right and and so then we have a situation that is somewhat analogous to this one with a DME see our room where you have to cut up some number of episodes and so the question is in those types of situations how do you allocate probability over the different hypotheses about how the world is structured and this kind of betting argument is one type of argument that you can try to reduce to kind of get some grip on that and another is by looking at the various applications in cosmology and stuff where you have Multiverse theories

► 02:27:50

which they the universe is very big maybe there are many other universes may be there are a lot of observers may be all possible observers exist out there in different configuration how do you drive probabilistic predictions from that like it seems like whatever You observe would be observed by somebody so how could you test that kind of theory and this same kind of anthropic reasoning that I want to use in the context of the simulation argument also plays a role I think in deriving observational predictions from these kinds of cosmological theories where you need to assume something like you are most likely a typical Observer from amongst The Observers that will ever have existed or so I would suggest now I should admit as an asterisk that this field of anthropic reasoning is tricky and not fully settled yet

► 02:28:48

and there are things there that we don't yet fully understand but still the particular application of anthropic reasoning that is relevant for the simulation argument I think is one of the relatively less problematic ones so that conditional on there being by the end of time a large number of simulated Joe Rogan's and only one original one I think conditional on that hypothesis it would seem that most of your probability should be on being one of the simulated ones but I'm not sure I have any other ways of know I had completely understand what you're saying I completely understand what you're saying but I don't know why you're not willing to take into account the possibility that it hasn't occurred yet yes I mean the way I see it this that I have taken that into account to see if the same probability that I'm that initial segment as I would give to any of the other Nick Bostrom segments that that all have the same evidence see that's where we differ because I would give much more

► 02:29:48

our probability to the fact that we are existing right now in the current state as we experience it in real life carbon life no simulation but that potentially one day there could be a simulation which leads us to look at the possibilities and look at the probabilities that it's already occurred all right so what about this suppose it is the case that all right so it's what we think happened is there was a big bang planets formed and then some billions of year later we evolves and here we are now right suppose some physicists told you that well the universe is very big and early on in the universe very very rare occasions that wasn't big gas cloud in an infinite Universe this will happen somewhere right we're just by chance that was a kind of Joe Rogan like brain coming together for a minute and then dissolved in the gas right and yeah if you have an infinite Universe it's got to happen somewhere it's a but that's going to be many many fewer Joe Rogan brain

► 02:30:49

in such situations then will exist later on on planets because Evolution helps funnel probability into these kinds of organized structures right so if some physicists told you that well this is the structure of our part space-time like there are like a few very very rare spontaneously materialized brains from gas clouds early in the universe and then there are the normal role guns is much later and now of course many many more normal ones the normal ones happen in one out of every you know 10 to the power of 50 planets whereas the weird ones happen one out of 10 to the power of normal versus weird how so how are you well the normal ones are ones that have evolved on planets and had the mother and different points is that we're talking different - okay but we only have one planet right aware of it again well I mean actually there are a lot of planets in the universe right but went out to be a little aware of that has life right these are this is this is pure speculation right what was it

► 02:31:49

the thought experiment which in fact actually probably is much as reality in this respect most likely there's some other planets out there well there the idea of and I think the fact that it matches relatives I think irrelevant to the point I want to make but so if this turned out to be the way the world Works a few weird ones happening from gas clouds and then the vast majority are just normal people living on a planet would you similar say given that model that you should think I might just as well be one of these gas cloud ones because after all it's the other ones might not have happened yet

► 02:32:28

what have I lost you you lost me sorry yeah

► 02:32:34

anyway I think that this would be a structurally similar situation where there would be a few exceptional early living versions that that would be very small in numbers compared to the later ones and if they allow themselves the same kind of reasoning where they would say well the other ones may or may not come to exist later on planets I have no reason to believe I'm one of the planet living ones then it seems that in this model of the universe you should think you're one of these early gas cloud ones and as I as I said I mean this looks like probably actually is

► 02:33:11

the world we are living in that it looks like it's infinite to bake and I would have been a few Joe Rogan's spontaneously generated very early from random processes they're going to be very few numbers compared to ones that have risen on planets

► 02:33:30

so that by taking the path you want to take with relation to the simulation argument I wonder if you would not then be committed to thinking that you would be like ineffective boltzmann brain in a gas cloud super early in the universe I still don't understand what you're saying what I'm saying is that we scientists agree if you believe in science and if you believe in the discoveries that so far people have all currently agreed to we've agreed that clouds are formed in that planets are created in that all the matter comes from inside of the explosions of a star and that it takes multiple times for this to coalesce before we can develop carbon-based life-forms all that stuff of science currently agrees on right and then we believe in single-celled organisms become multi-celled organisms through random mutation and natural selection we get Evolution and then we agree that we have come to a point now where technology has

► 02:34:30

hit this gigantic Spike that you described earlier so human beings have created all this new innovation why wouldn't we assume that all this is actually taking place right now with no simulation yeah I mean the simulation argument is this the the answer to that but with a qualification that a the simulation argument doesn't even purport to prove the simulation hypothesis because that is two Alternatives MMB that even if the simulation hypothesis is true in many versions of it it would actually be the case that in the simulation all of these things have taken place

► 02:35:09

and the simulation might go back to long time and it might be a reality tracking simulation maybe the same things also happened before outside the simulation I understand that but or all these things have actually happened and there is no simulation yet Mmm Yeah that's possible too doesn't that seem really probable well I think meant to me it seems probable only if at least one of the other Alternatives is true or in I I admit that there is also this General possibility which is always there that I'm confused about some big thing like I've over the maybe the simulation argument is wrong in some way like I'm just looking at the track record of Science and philosophy we find where sometimes wrong so I attach some probability to that but but if we are working within the parameters of what currently seems to me to be the case that we would be the first

► 02:36:09

civilization in a universe where there will later be many many simulations seems yeah on likely for those exact reasons and that if we are the first it's probably because one of the Alternatives is true it's a mind-blower neck the more you sit and think about it the more you Ponder these Concepts and I'm you know

► 02:36:34

I'm not on one side or the other it's scary but it's also amazing

► 02:36:42

and what else is there that we haven't figured out yet if if we come back in 50 years

► 02:36:50

even just with human beings thinking about stuff and I think I have this concept of a crucial consideration I alluded to the little bit earlier but it's um the idea of some some argument or data or inside that if only we got it would radically change our mind about our overall scheme of priorities not just change the precise way in which we go about something but kind of totally reorient ourselves like an example would be if you are an atheist and you have some big conversion experience and some of your life feels very different right you had what were you doing before you would basically wasting your time and now you found what it's all about but that could be sort of slightly smaller versions of this and

► 02:37:38

I wonder what the chances are that we have discovered all crucial considerations now because it looks like at least up until very recently we hadn't in that there are these important considerations that seems to whether it's a I like if this stuff about AI is true like maybe that's the one most important thing that we should be focusing on and the rest is kind of frittering away our time as a civilization we should be focus on a ai' alignment so we can see that it looks like all earlier ages up until very recently

► 02:38:11

we're oblivious to at least one crucial consideration insofar as they wanted to have maximum positive impact on the world they just didn't know what the thing was to focus on and it also seems kind of unlikely that we just now have found the last one if that just seems kind of given that we keep discovering these up until quite recently we are probably missing out on one or more likely several more crucial considerations and if that's the case then it means that we are fundamentally in the dark in that we're basically clueless in we might try to improve the world but we are

► 02:38:51

overlooking maybe several factors each one of which would make us totally changed our mind about how to go about this and so it's less of a problem I think if your goal is just to lead your normal life and be happy and have a happy family and you know because that there we have a lot more evidence and it doesn't seem to keep changing every few years but we still know I have good relationships you know don't ruin your body don't jump in front of trains like these are tried and tested yes right but if your goal is to somehow steer Humanity's future in such a way that you maximize the expected utility there it seems our best guesses keep jumping around every few years and we haven't kind of settled down into some stable conception of that

► 02:39:40

they're gonna have to process conversation for a long time but I appreciate it and thank you for being here man it was really that's really cool very fascinating discussion yeah thank you thank you very much care if people would like to read in your stuff work and where can they get it and Nick Bostrom.com probably the best starting point okay thank you my brains broken by everybody

► 02:40:06

thank you everyone for tuning into the show and thank you to our sponsors thank you to zip recruiter you can see why four out of five employers who post on zipper crew to get a quality candidate within the first day and see why zip recruiters effective for businesses of all sizes and you can try it for free try out zip recruiter for free at our web address zip recruiter.com Rogan that zipper cruder.com /r o Gan zipper Cooter.com Rogan zipper Cooter the smartest way to hire thank you also to for Sig Matic delicious nutritious much mushroom coffee mushroom coffee folks with lion's mane and chaga so coffee it's got half the caffeine but it's got nutrition for your mind and your immune system and you have easy-to-use travel packs you can take anywhere you go stash them in your gym bag your suitcase and you get a exclusive deal

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► 02:42:06

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