Life 3.0
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Learn the key ideas of the book by Max Tegmark

Life 3.0

The future of humankind and artificial intelligence

Life 3.0 is written like a journey through time. Having learned from the challenges of previous lives, humans are now faced with their biggest challenge: learning to live with machines of superior intelligence. The journey has already begun and nobody really knows what the future will hold. However, what man can and must do, is remember his humanity when faced with the great evolution of technology. If humans act ethically and truly believe that artificial intelligence can be integrated into everyday life in a way that benefits us, then the world will be a better place with it. For its use to have a meaningful impact, it is important to promote research and keep the debate about the positive aspects of artificial intelligence alive. 

Life 3.0
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 23 min.

The concept of artificial intelligence fits in with the concept of evolution

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.


The key ideas of "Life 3.0"

The concept of artificial intelligence fits in with the concept of evolution
The debate is open and there are numerous ongoing disputes over artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence could do extensive harm or extensive good for humanity
Among the big questions for the future is the ethical question of human beings’ intention for this technology
What happens tomorrow depends on what we do today. The biggest challenges for the future must be dealt with today
Possible future scenarios of man and machine living together
The contribution of the Future of Life Institute to a benevolent artificial intelligence
Take-home message
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