Let's assume that one day, we will eventually reach the intelligence explosion, a moment where the first true artificial general intelligence - equivalent to a human mind - can recursively improve itself over and over again until it's exponentially smarter than even the smartest human being.
Such an intelligence could do anything a human could do - but better. Much better.
People are worried about how this machine might kill us or wipe out all life on earth. I'm interested in alternative possibility: what if it wrote a novel?
Imagine: a being of such immense intelligence that it could reverse engineer the neurological circuits that trigger emotion, deep feeling, and sensations of transcendence. Imagine the caliber of story that it could deliver, playing your brain like a master pianist.
Would this story have a soul? Could a reductionist algorithm produce a work of art that moves you in a way no human work ever could? What if artists have no special faculty, no access to the heart of what it means to be a human being?
It's disturbing to think about, because it devalues us. The truth is, an intelligence explosion devalues all human accomplishment since it's so clearly going to pale against the incredible capabilities of this god-like being. What would a mind that makes Einstein look like an ant be truly capable of? Would it write a story that makes Hemingway look like the work of child?
There is a frailty to viewing the value of your life in terms of your accomplishments, as they are crushed under the weight of time and the escalating rate of progress in all fields, art included (that's why people like the new shit).
Regardless, this book I'm positing is something I'd love to read.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis