WATCH: What Is Life? Is Death Real?


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The whole DNA thing makes the old Earth is a computer built to calculate the meaning of life, the universe, and everything idea a lot more plausible, doesn’t it? Why should DNA care whether or not it’s copied? Why should animals care that there are more of themselves? (spreading more DNA)

Care? Vehicle-centric ratiocination!

The fact that we, the vehicles for our genes, have evolved to produce such complex behaviours as to develop brains/minds large enough to process and remember those behaviours, whilst navigating the environment is what is interesting.

And the AI version of life would be on this level of memes, not produced (engineered) as a result of the behaviour of the vehicles evolved to carry the genes around the environment for long enough to find another vehicle’s genes with which to reproduce.
It seems that early AIs will just be copies of our minds, which have grown self referential enough to be able to actually maintain a coherent strategy for processing and passing down units of cultural inheritance, rather than genetic.

Perhaps a true (Human) AI will require a virtually physical environment, with its own version of genetic reproduction to behave as a substrate for the emotional intelligence.

If we produce AIs that are perhaps, high fidelity copies of human minds, they will instantly be divorced from all this singing meat. Even if we put them in robot bodies, what a farce that would be. Why should they care about human-like physicality at all?

What’s the most efficient vehicle for a mind, divorced from genetics, to interact with the world? Grey Goo?


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I thought it was long settled. The meaning of life is the oxidation of glucose.

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Ah, but how much oxidation of glucose? All the way to carbon dioxide? Or just to acetic acid, or ethanol, or whatnot?

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Baby don’t hurt me…

This is infuriating – most of the video is devoted to explaining how the word ‘alive’ is ill-defined at best. But then right in the middle the narrator asserts ‘mitochondria are not alive.’ Oh, aren’t they? Does that mean that you /do/ know what it means to be alive and are just messing with us?

DNA doesn’t care whether or not it’s copied. Neither do most animals. It’s just that animals (nearly always, but not quite always) don’t live forever, and DNA that’s good at copying itself happens to be the DNA that still exists after a few billion years. It doesn’t want to do anything. It just happens to do something that perpetuates its own existence much better than not doing that thing, and incidentally has become a dominant object on earth.

If something just HAPPENS to start being able to make copies of itself, by the nature of self-reproduction it’s going to keep making copies of itself for a long time. Unless one stops making copies of itself, in which case it’s just going to be replaced by ones that didn’t stop. That’s just what’s going to happen, whether the thing “wants” to make copies of itself or not.

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