Microbes, Natural Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence

Our self-esteem won't be affected if the Perseverance Rover finds evidence of microbes on Mars. It is evident that we are smarter than them. Our egos will be tested if we find a spacecraft that is far more advanced than ours, however.
Human nature is deeply rooted in illusory superiority, and unjustified hubris. They were responsible for the Nazi regime's creation during World War II, which saw the deaths of over 70 million people. This was a third of the world population in 1940. This is an order of magnitude greater than the death caused by the coronavirus. In the presence of an advanced civilization, it would be laughable to see the tiny genetic differences that drove Nazism.

In the future, our civilization could be extinct due to a self-inflicted global disaster like another war on the planet or climate change. In this scenario, primitive life forms such as microbes and even crocodiles could be more likely to survive long-term than self-proclaimed intelligent species. We will only be remembered for our self-destruction-inclination if we can launch long-lasting relics into space before we vanish from Earth.

My book Extraterrestrial argues that humanity isn't ready to embrace a sense cosmic modesty. This can change if we find relics from more advanced civilizations. Galileo Project, which was recently announced, will search for extraterrestrial technological objects close to Earth. This scientific research program is vital for understanding the cosmic reality in which we live. We can't ignore our galactic neighbours, just as the Earth-sun system wasn't under any obligation to satisfy geocentrism.

At the moment, we have a wider perspective. The molecular organization that makes life self-replicating and contains genetic information evolved from the chemistry of early Earth. It was able to adapt to its environment through Darwinian selection, gaining an advantage over random processes. Although humanity is a result of natural life, it allows a phase transition to technological relics that can survive for longer periods than biological ones. The same could have occurred long ago around stars formed billions years earlier than the sun.

Our roots are a result of a mixture of chemicals and early Earth. However, we should not be nostalgic about our past or our current evolutionary phase. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems, which use machine learning to supersede natural intelligence, are the future. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems could travel through interstellar space, and be more durable than stars. This would make them the ultimate winners in Darwin's survival of the fittest. AI avatars could carry the flame of consciousness our bodies have, and help us achieve our goals throughout the universe.

According to some religions, humans are made in God's image. Artificial intelligence systems could be created in the image and likeness of humans. They also have the advantage of being more durable than astronauts. AI CubeSats may be our future. However, they could also represent the past technological civilizations that existed around stars long before us.

Globally, our achievements are not as impressive as the AI systems we will launch into interstellar orbit. Extraterrestrials may not bother to survey Earth with a Perseverance-like robot.

We must also recognize our limitations. It is possible that we are better equipped to understand people with lower intelligence than we are to comprehend the subtleties of those with higher intelligence. This is reminiscent of Hans-Peter Drr's tale about a fisherman claiming a new law in nature that all fish must be larger than 2 inches. He then realized that the size of his net was the reason. Similar to this, our minds miss details about reality.

In a few decades, AI systems could outsmart humans. It will be prudent to exercise caution at that point. Their tenure could last for a very long period of time if AI systems are selected for tenure at prestigious universities.

This article is an opinion/analysis article. Scientific American does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in it.