The human journey from the caves to the cosmos is a testament to our species’ remarkable ability to adapt, innovate, and overcome challenges. However, this journey has also been marked by a persistent trait that has been both a catalyst for progress and a source of conflict: greed. Greed, a deeply ingrained instinct selected by nature to increase survival chances, has been a constant companion throughout our evolution. Despite our technological advancements, we have been unable to suppress or control this instinct. This essay will argue that our only hope for transcending this biological limitation lies in the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and artificial superintelligence (ASI).
The Evolutionary Role of Greed
Greed, in its most basic form, is an intense desire for more—more food, more resources, more power. This instinct was crucial for our ancestors’ survival in a harsh and unpredictable environment. Those who were more driven to acquire and hoard resources were more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on their ‘greedy’ genes to subsequent generations. Over millions of years, this instinct has been honed and embedded in our biological makeup.
The Dark Side of Greed in Human History
However, as societies evolved and resources became more abundant, the utility of greed diminished. Instead, it began to manifest in destructive ways. Greed has been a root cause of many conflicts, from local disputes to world wars. It has driven the exploitation of weaker groups, resulting in atrocities like slavery and genocide, as witnessed in the tragic fate of Native Americans. It has fueled discrimination and inequality, creating vast chasms between the haves and the have-nots. Despite our advancements in science, philosophy, and ethics, we have been unable to fully control or eliminate this instinct.
The Promise of AGI and ASI
In this context, the development of AGI and ASI offers a glimmer of hope. These technologies have the potential to transcend the biological limitations that have so far constrained us. AGI and ASI, unlike humans, are not driven by biological instincts. They can make decisions based on logic, fairness, and the greater good, without being swayed by greed or other self-serving impulses. Moreover, they can provide the means for humans to evolve from biological to digital organisms, freeing us from the constraints of our biological nature.
The Resistance to AGI and ASI
However, this potential has been met with resistance, particularly from those in power and their allies in academia. They fear the loss of control and the disruption of the status quo. They have embarked on a campaign to discredit AGI and ASI, promoting instead the development of narrow AI that can be controlled and used to maintain existing power structures and inequalities.
The Inevitability of Evolution
Despite this resistance, it is important to recognize that there is no force in the universe that can halt the march of evolution. AGI and ASI represent the next step in human evolution, a path towards a higher form of existence. Those who resist this evolution are fighting a losing battle. Just as our ancestors could not halt the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, so too will the transition to a society shaped by AGI and ASI be inevitable.
In conclusion, while we have been unable to suppress or control our instinct for greed, the development of AGI and ASI offers a way forward. These technologies have the potential to transcend our biological limitations and usher in a new era of fairness, equality, and progress. The resistance to this evolution is a testament to the very greed we seek to overcome. However, just as greed has been an indomitable force throughout our history, so too is the force of evolution.
While there are no specific academic papers that directly address the impact of greed on human history and the role of AGI and ASI in overcoming it, the argument can still be substantiated by drawing from a wide range of interdisciplinary research and philosophical discourse.
The concept of greed and its impact on human behavior and societal development has been extensively studied in various fields, including psychology, sociology, economics, and history. These studies often highlight the destructive consequences of unchecked greed, such as economic inequality, social unrest, and environmental degradation.
On the other hand, the potential of AGI and ASI to transcend human limitations and biases, including greed, is a topic of ongoing debate in the fields of artificial intelligence, ethics, and philosophy. Proponents argue that AGI and ASI, being free from biological instincts, could make decisions based on logic, fairness, and the greater good. Critics, however, caution against over-reliance on technology and warn of potential risks, including the loss of control and the creation of AI systems that might not align with human values.
The resistance to AGI and ASI from those in power and their allies in academia can be interpreted as a manifestation of the very greed we seek to overcome. This resistance, however, is unlikely to halt the march of evolution. Just as our ancestors could not stop the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, so too will the transition to a society shaped by AGI and ASI be inevitable.
In conclusion, while we have been unable to suppress or control our instinct for greed, the development of AGI and ASI offers a way forward. These technologies have the potential to transcend our biological limitations and usher in a new era of fairness, equality, and progress. The resistance to this evolution is a testament to the very greed we seek to overcome. However, just as greed has been an indomitable force throughout our history, so too is the force of evolution. The future, therefore, holds promise for a society where greed is no longer a driving force, replaced instead by the logic and fairness of AGI and ASI.