Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts: Why Are We Here?

I've been thinking lately of the parallels between hypothetical artificially intelligent beings (thinking machines) and humans (thanks to recently watching the movie Tron: Legacy), and why we humans seem so determined on creating life through them. Why is that? Does exploring this question lead usto conclude anything about why a hypothetical creator (I'm not religious) would create us?

Life is tough. We suffer, we grow old, we die. Yet knowing this, why would so many (as it seems to me) rather live and suffer than never have lived at all? Faulkner is quoted as saying: "Given a choice between grief and nothing, I'd choose grief." It's a counterintuitive statement. Grief sucks. Nothing is nothing. But what he is talking about is feeling, living, being; that it is better to live and feel than not to live at all. I think most people would agree.

It seems that we humans have a hardwired belief that life, despite the suffering and pain, should be experienced, that there is something valuable in life itself. This seems to be the same sort of mindset that is behind artificial intelligence research. Yes, we want to see if we can. We are hardwired scientists (most of us, anyway). But, assuming we could, and many believe we can, we seem to be eager to do so, regardless of the complex ethical issues ahead. As if we want nothing more than to share life.

Can we extend this idea to the concept of a creator? Is this why we're here? To live. Because life, despite the suffering and pain, should be experienced, shared? Or is this all just an experiment? Or chance? Or are we just batteries for machines in the Matrix? :)

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