Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence review

Tegmark brings a refreshing perspective to what likely is one of, if not the, most important conversation of our time. After setting the stage and clearing the field of common myths and misconceptions regarding AI, Tegmark methodically moves through the emergence of intelligence in our cosmos some 4 billion years ago to the implications of what he calls "Life 3.0," entities which can both redesign their hardware and software.

Coaching the emergence and development of both consciousness and intelligence within the more cosmological worldview of a physicist offers a truly inspiring narrative. Moving through hundreds, thousands, and billions of years with Tegmark solidifies the development of intelligence as a cosmological phenomenon which you come to realize that you yourself are a part of. Learning how intelligence is an emergent expression of more basic physical laws feels, at least to me, thoroughly grounding and deeply reestablishing of a real connection between me and the world.

Chapters 6, 7, and 8 are my favorite and cover territory seldom explored in the similar literature. In 6, he explores the capacity of artificial superintelligence to colonize the universe and the implications for the about 10 billion galaxies he estimates might be able to be colonized by it. Chapter 7 explores the emergence and evolution of goals at different levels of reality, ranging from thermodynamics to wet and squishy intelligences like you and me. In chapter 8, Tegmark explores consciousness and the mysteries and questions surrounding it, a topic I believe deserves far more attention than it is currently getting.

This book is aimed at a wider audience than Bostrom’s Superintelligence, but even if you are an avid reader of all that concerns technology, the deep future, and AI, I'm certain you'll find novel content and an enjoyable recontextualization of AI from the perspective a physicist. On a less serious note, I really love that the author summarizes the most important points at the end of each chapter. It helps me remember everything.

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