The universe is in a condition of constant evolution. For 13.8 billion years the universe has continued to live and evolve according to rules that academics work to understand. Life on earth appeared 4 billion years ago and the growth of our universe has never stopped since.
This confirms the basic evolution principle whereby everything evolves according to a process of growth.
Based on this assumption, Tegmark formulates an important distinction and divides life into three phases: Life 1.0 or biological evolution, Life 2.0 or cultural evolution, and Life 3.0 or technological evolution. He assigns hardware and software to each life, taking inspiration from the world of computers.
In Life 1.0, life slowly adapts to its surroundings and is unable to redesign itself.
In Life 2.0, humans participate; this is the phase in which they can learn complex skills such as learning languages, a sport, or a profession. So at this stage it is thought that only our hardware is subject to evolution, because humans can redesign part of their software. Man’s typical ability to learn does, in fact, allow the programming of our brain.
The concept of intelligence begins to enter into this definition. Life 2.0 is more flexible, compared to Life 1.0. While Life 1.0 adapts slowly as it evolves over time, Life 2.0 adapts immediately, thanks to its software update.
Living in Life 2.0 is more encouraging for man because it promises, along the same software update principle, that sooner or later, he will be able to access the third phase, which is Life 3.0.
We are not there yet, but we are moving in that direction. Life 3.0 can redesign both software and hardware, so it is the master of its own destiny, and free from the constraints of its evolution.
The boundaries between the 3 stages of life are blurred, however the evolutionary path they have taken is clear. Therefore Life 1.0 represents the biological stage, when hardware and software evolve, Life 2.0 represents the cultural stage, when hardware evolves, but the software is designed by humans, and finally Life 3.0 represents the technological stage, during which both hardware and software are designed.
The concept of artificial intelligence enters this last phase, and presents both an opportunity and a risk. It is an opportunity, because the use of artificial intelligence has already brought significant improvements in human life. Think of machines that perform complex tasks, for example in operating theatres. Artificial intelligence also presents risks, however, because if it is not contained, with humans in charge of controlling it, it can "escape" and act autonomously.