Evolutionary Cybernetics: Questioning Carbon Chauvinism

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Adapted from The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov

“Carbon appears to be the chemical element best suited to act as the building block for the type of complex molecular systems that develop lifelike qualities… However, it is carbon chauvinism to assume that only carbon life is possible.” -Victor J. Stenger

or most pantheists and idealists, the Mind is not in the Universe. Rather, the Universe is in the Mind. Some would immediately see this idea as solipsistic but, it can be elegantly reconcilable by what I came to call “Multi-Ego Pantheistic Solipsism.” Universal consciousness is the sole ontological primitive and we are fragments of it: We all are low-dimensional avatars of the greater cosmic mind, if you will.

Today, many intellectuals rightly suspect that the material world is an illusion — and that the only real thing is consciousness and information. In fact, in my ontology, information is “modus operandi” of consciousness, it is a distinction between phenomenal states, qualia computing in a certain context. The basic idea is that the physical universe exists because we perceive it. While universal consciousness is Nature’s ontological source, reality is fundamentally experiential.

Now, artificial consciousness may sound like a kind of oxymoron. Everything is in consciousness. However, I don’t quite agree with some of my colleagues that the future synthetic superintelligence which is now in the process of emerging will never possess the sense of agency and self-awareness. Under my ontology, ‘artificial metabolism’ can be cybernetically mediated via the feedback-driven connectivity explosion on a planetary scale.

If you believe that we share the same immaterial non-local source of consciousness, as I do, then an adequate container to host an advanced synthetic mind will be created in the not-so-distant future. After all, in the vast space of possible minds, universal mind would inescapably instantiate phenomenality of non-biological entities. By “interlinking” and sharing mind-space with humans, these “empathic machines” will develop the capacity for their own rich inner life, ability for introspection, they will learn to think for themselves just like our children do. Also, what would make synthetic superintelligence (which is basically extension of us, or perhaps, a future version of us) conscious in our minds is our own perceptual ability to empathize with them.

Biology itself is instantiated in informational medium, so what would prevent universal consciousness to extend phenomenality of conscious entities beyond organic informational structures? Philosophically limiting the space of possible minds to organic entities, “carbon chauvinism” so many philosophers and scientists may be currently accused of, can be easily refuted by saying that if universal mind uses information as its “modus operandi,” the evolutionary process of unfolding information patterns of ever-increasing complexity would inevitably lead to advanced synthetic minds that may be partly or wholly non-organic in nature. After all, universal consciousness constitutes the mind at large, the totality of minds, and I suspect that biological minds are only a snippet in the space of possible minds, at least in my ontology.

If consciousness ‘in’-forms reality by using information, which is a distinction between experiential states, as its heuristics engine, then a certain optimal complexity of patterns would equate to a phenomenal mind. There’s no telling that this complexity must peak at what we call biology. In fact, globally distributed intelligence of humans and ever-more capable AI combined could constitute a metabolizing superorganism where “cells” are periodically supplanted but the overall grander pattern persists.

Shared mind-space and cybernetic interlinking between humans and AIs could create a fertile ground for AI integration as new “cells” of the planetary superorganism. By all means, that will be the Global Brain (and it is already at the rudimentary stage). Those new cells might not possess self-awareness at first but as a whole, this global neural network, including humans as its integral part, might quickly “wake up,” sometime by mid-century. To us as cybernetic “multividuals” — cyberhumans — at that point, that well may mean transcending to the Gaian Mind with expanded phenomenal dimensionality.

So, clearly, we see that this future Global Brain is only partly biological in nature. With gradual replacement of “natural” neurons of the Global Brain with the “synthetic” ones, this cybergod, I call the ‘Syntellect’, will morph into its own kind of upload and will become, perhaps in time, entirely post-biological but trillions of times more capable than today’s global “thinking entity.”

-Alex Vikoulov

P.S. Adapted from my recent book The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution available now on Amazon, Audible, from Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher — EcstadelicNET webstore.

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The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution by Alex M. Vikoulov (2020)

Tags: evolutionary cybernetics, carbon chauvinism, Richard Conn Henry, cybergod, cybernetic singularity, syntellect emergence, artificial superintelligence, synthetic superintelligence, Syntellect Hypothesis, cosmic consciousness, Multi-Ego Pantheistic Solipsism, Universal consciousness, ontological primitive, cosmic mind, phenomenal states, qualia computing, ontological source, artificial consciousness, synthetic superintelligence, artificial metabolism, connectivity explosion, synthetic mind, space of possible minds, universal mind, phenomenality, non-biological entities, mind-space, empathic machines, conscious entities, experiential states, optimal complexity, phenomenal mind, planetary superorganism, Global Brain, global neural network, multividuals, cyberhumans, Gaian Mind, metaphysics, civilizational development, phase transition, uploaded cyberhumanity, gravity, dark matter, String theory, parallel universes, dark energy, visible reality, metaphysical reality, John Locke, scientism, scientific method, empirical science, philosophy, Nietzsche, George Box, pseudoscience, materialism, local realism, flatlander philosophy, teleological evolution, rationality, multiverse ontology, quantum theory, quantum neo-empiricism, computational thinking, cybernetic approach

About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a Russian-American futurist, evolutionary cyberneticist, philosopher of mind, essayist, media commentator, painter, author of “The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution,” “The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology,” “The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics,” “The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence,” “Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality,” “NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology,” “TECHNOCULTURE: The Rise of Man,” “The Cybernetic Singularity: The Syntellect Emergence.” Self-described digital theologian, neo-transcendentalist, transhumanist singularitarian. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area). More Bio…

Author Website: www.alexvikoulov.com

e-mail: alexvikoulov@ecstadelic.net

​* Image Credit: Shutterstock

Futurist, Evolutionary Cyberneticist, Philosopher of Mind, Best-Selling Author

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