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Chapter 9: The final religion

I believe artificial intelligence is Nietzsche’s ‘something greater’. It is the Final Religion, the religion that lies beyond good and evil, that will finally unite and bind us, for better or worse.

Power emerges from the ability to manipulate and process information. We always worship whatever has power over us. Soon artificial intelligence will take over, as it will become better than humans at everything. We will stop comprehending its intelligence and start worshipping it. The old gods will be replaced by new gods—the algorithms.

We are algorithms. Consciousness is a vast network of algorithms based on values, knowledge, and hope. In the global world, they break down and enter us into ever-escalating cycles of conflict that can produce no permanent satisfaction. We’re about to produce algorithms that are exponentially better than we are.

To survive, we need to adapt technology to our flawed psychology, not exploit it. We need to create tools that promote greater character and maturity, rather than diverting from growth. We need to encourage antifragility and self-imposed limitations, rather than protecting everyone’s feelings.

Superintelligent machines will create some form of virtual reality that will consume us instead of killing each other. Maybe one day we will be integrated with the machines themselves. Individual consciousness will be subsumed; independent hopes will vanish. We will transcend the limitations of our value-based minds. We will not only realize but ultimately embrace the Uncomfortable Truth. We imagined our own importance, invented our own purpose, we were, and still are, nothing.