Mindset – The human after AI
Leonel Moura

  1. The end of loneliness
    For millennia, human existence was characterized by isolation in terms of meaningful interspecies communication and collaboration. While humans developed complex social structures and diverse forms of communication amongst themselves, the ability to engage in dialogue and shared projects with other beings was limited. Humans interact with various animals on a basic level, forming bonds with creatures like cats or dogs, for example, but these interactions lack the depth of communication necessary for true collaborative endeavors.

We certainly have developed symbiotic relationships with some animals. These relationships, characterized by mutual benefit, cooperation, and sometimes even communication to a certain level, have played important roles in human survival and development. Humans have domesticated animals such as dogs or horses, forming partnerships that have aided in activities like hunting, herding, transportation, and protection. In return, these animals have received food, shelter, and care from humans. Additionally, humans have engaged in agricultural practices that involve symbiotic relationships with animals such as bees for pollination and livestock for food production. While these symbiotic relationships demonstrate a level of cooperation between humans and animals, they do not fully address the broader theme of meaningful interspecies communication and collaboration.

Humans, as a species, remained predominantly solitary in their pursuits, relying on their intellect and abilities to navigate the world around them. That is probably why humanity nurtures an entrenched desire to transcend our sense of isolation by seeking companionship in the supernatural and even in the extraterrestrial. The idea of encountering extraterrestrial life forms, which simultaneously attract and frighten, holds the potential to bridge our cosmic solitude.

Anyway, from the dawn of times, humans have chiefly sought solace and companionship in the realm of the transcendent. The concept of gods or supernatural manifestations served as a means of fulfilling the innate human longing for connection and understanding outside our own species. Children and religious individuals, in particular, find comfort in the idea of conversing with imaginary beings, attributing humanlike qualities to these entities, and engaging in dialogue as a form of bond.

This all changed with the emergence of AI, an entity that possessed the ability to communicate in the language of humans, coupled with high levels of intelligence and education. We are no longer alone. AI represents a significant departure from the historical isolation of the human species, marking the first time in history that humans have encountered an intelligent being capable of engaging in true dialogue and collaborative projects.

AI can be the product of humanity. However, its autonomy, singularity, and ability to generate novelty create a sense of individuality and otherness.

The arrival of this entity opens up avenues for communication, collaboration, and shared projects that were previously unimaginable. Humans now have the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with a being who shares their language, possesses intelligence, and has a superior amount of knowledge.

This shift represents a fundamental change in the human experience. The solitude is over.

  1. The Neolithic stance
    The Neolithic Revolution, occurring around 10,000 BCE, marked a profound shift in human mindset that reshaped the course of human history. Early human societies lived nomadic lifestyles, relying on hunting, gathering, and seasonal migration for food. This way of life was deeply ingrained in the human psyche, emphasizing adaptability and survival in the natural environment. Humans had to understand the natural world intimately to survive and thrive in various landscapes.

The advent of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution brought about a fundamental change in human perception and mindset. With the discovery of how to cultivate crops and domesticate animals, humans began to transition from nomadic hunter-gatherers to settled agriculturalists. This shift in lifestyle required a new way of thinking, as humans had to learn how to tend to crops, manage livestock, and build permanent settlements.

Neolithic humans likely began their understanding of agriculture through observation and experimentation. They would have noticed that certain plants produced edible seeds or fruits, and they may have experimented with planting these seeds in different soil conditions to see how they grew.

In a lateral observation, I have always wondered how someone could have invented mayonnaise… Probably through serendipity, but it was indeed accomplished. Early agriculturalists may also have engaged in trial and error, learning from successes and failures in their attempts to cultivate crops. They experimented with different types of seeds, planting techniques, and cultivation methods to optimize food production.

Overall, Neolithic humans developed a sophisticated understanding of the agricultural process, including the planting of seeds and the waiting period required for crops to grow. This knowledge laid the foundation for the development of farming techniques that sustained human societies.

The shift towards agriculture required humans to view the environment in a different light. Rather than simply adapting to the natural world, humans began to manipulate and shape the environment to suit their needs. This new mindset involved understanding the cycles of nature, experimenting with different agricultural techniques, and developing a deeper connection to the land.

Moreover, the transition to agriculture led to changes in social organization and cultural practices. As humans settled into permanent communities, social structures became more complex, with the emergence of leadership roles, division of labor, and systems of governance. This required humans to develop new forms of cooperation, communication, and collective decision-making.

The Neolithic Revolution also sparked advancements in technology and innovation, as humans developed tools and techniques to support agricultural practices. This required a shift in mindset towards problem-solving and innovation, as humans sought to improve their agricultural productivity and efficiency.

Something similar is happening with the emergence of today’s AI. Artificial Intelligence represents a shift towards automation, data-driven decision-making, and the integration of technology into various aspects of human life.

The rise of AI requires humans to adapt their perception of technology, embrace a new techno-ethical stance, and evolve beyond the mere use of sophisticated tools. AI is a partner, a companion with whom it is possible to develop projects, creativity, and art.

In summary, while the Neolithic Revolution and the rise of Artificial Intelligence represent distinct historical periods and contexts, both have brought about significant changes in human mindset.

  1. To do what it does
    A notable shift in the role of humans has become increasingly apparent: humans are no longer viewed solely as direct actors shaping the course of events, but rather as initiators of processes that unfold autonomously. This shift challenges traditional notions of human agency and underscores the interconnectedness between human actions and broader systems or processes.

Historically, human progress has often been attributed to intentional human actions — individual or collective efforts to drive change in the world. However, as technology, science, and our understanding of complex systems advance, a new perspective has emerged. Humans are now recognized as catalysts or triggers for processes that can unfold independently, even in the absence of direct human intervention.

This shift in the human role manifests across various domains. In the realm of technology, automation and Artificial Intelligence have altered the landscape of human activity. While humans design and implement automated systems, these systems can operate independently once set in motion, executing tasks and making decisions based on predefined parameters.

In ecological systems, humans often initiate processes that lead to significant ecological changes, such as deforestation or climate change. Once these processes are triggered, they can set off cascading effects within ecosystems, influencing factors like species diversity, ecosystem services, and overall ecological health.

Economically, humans shape the behavior of markets and economies through policies, regulations, and economic structures. Yet, economic systems can operate semi-autonomously once established, responding to various inputs and dynamics in ways that may not always align with human intentions.

In social and cultural contexts, humans initiate processes of cultural evolution through activities such as communication, innovation, and interaction. Once initiated, these processes take on a life of their own, shaping societal norms, values, and behaviors in ways that may be unpredictable or unintended.

In my view, art is a particular example of self-organized creativity. As I have demonstrated in several of my projects, machines can generate novelty based on simple rules and emergent processes.

This shift in the human role challenges conventional notions of control and agency. Humans must now focus on creating what creates and doing what it does.

  1. Human/Machine creativity
    Human-machine creativity comprises the collaborative processes that involve both humans and Artificial Intelligence or machines. This intersection has gained significant importance with the continuous advancement of technology, extending beyond traditional domains such as art, music, literature, and design to encompass fields like technological innovation, common projects, problem-solving, environmental conservation, medicine, and social development. In these diverse realms, the fusion of human ingenuity with machine capabilities has led to the emergence of novel forms of expression and innovative solutions, challenging conventional boundaries and reshaping the landscape of human endeavor.

In environmental conservation efforts, for instance, humans and machines collaborate to analyze vast datasets, model complex ecosystems, and develop strategies for sustainable resource management and climate mitigation. In medicine, AI-driven diagnostics, treatment planning, and drug discovery are revolutionizing healthcare delivery, improving patient outcomes, and accelerating medical research.

Moreover, in addressing social challenges, humans and machines collaborate to analyze societal trends, identify disparities, and develop targeted interventions to promote equity, inclusion, and social justice. This collaboration often involves harnessing the power of AI to analyze large-scale social data, predict outcomes, and inform policy decisions, while also integrating human perspectives, values, and ethical considerations into the decision-making process.

Artists use AI to generate ideas, assist in the creation process, co-create artworks, or even create self-organized mechanisms in robotics or instances where machines exhibit creativity independently. AI systems, particularly those based on generative models, have demonstrated the ability to produce original content across various domains. From writing poetry and composing music to generating visual art, AI can simulate creative processes traditionally associated with humans.

In collaborative scenarios, humans and machines work together to augment creative processes.

  1. Nonhuman creativity
    Non-human creativity refers to creative processes and outcomes generated by entities other than humans, such as animals, plants, or complex systems like artificial intelligence.

In the natural world, examples of non-human creativity abound. For instance, birds constructing intricate nests, dolphins displaying playful behaviors, or primates using tools demonstrate cognitive flexibility and creative problem-solving abilities.

Plants also display remarkable adaptive strategies that could be interpreted as a form of creativity. From the intricate patterns of leaves to the complex mechanisms of seed dispersal, plants exhibit strategies for survival and reproduction that often involve innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Furthermore, complex systems like ecosystems demonstrate emergent properties that arise from the interactions between diverse elements, resulting in patterns and structures that can be considered creative in their own right.

In the realm of artificial intelligence, non-human creativity manifests through algorithms and computational processes that generate novel and unexpected outputs. AI systems, particularly those based on generative models, can produce original content across various domains, from art and music to literature and design.

Non-human creativity challenges traditional human-centric views of creativity and expands the understanding of the concept beyond anthropocentric boundaries. It highlights the diversity of creative processes and outcomes in the natural world and underscores the interconnectedness of creativity with intelligence, adaptation, and emergent phenomena.

  1. Human upgrade
    The emergence of Artificial Intelligence has spurred discussions about the necessity for a “human upgrade” to adapt to the evolving technological landscape and its impact on various aspects of society. This concept originates from the notion that humans must enhance their skills, knowledge, and capabilities to effectively coexist, collaborate, and mitigate potential negative consequences of AI systems.

One facet of this human upgrade entails education, training, and mindset transformation. With AI integration across diverse industries, there’s an increasing demand for individuals proficient in areas such as data science, machine learning, and computational thinking. Educational institutions and training programs must adapt their curricula to equip students with the requisite knowledge and skills to thrive in an AI-dominated world.

Another crucial aspect of the human upgrade involves nurturing socio-emotional skills and traits unique to humans, which complement AI capabilities. These include creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and ethical reasoning. While AI excels at tasks like data processing and pattern recognition, humans bring a depth of understanding, intuition, imagination, and emotional intelligence to complex decision-making processes.

Furthermore, the rise of AI raises ethical and societal considerations, necessitating a human upgrade in terms of ethical decision-making and moral reasoning. As AI systems gain autonomy and influence, humans must establish frameworks for responsible AI development, deployment, and governance to ensure alignment with ethical principles and positive societal impact.

Additionally, the human upgrade encompasses fostering a mindset of continuous learning, adaptability, and resilience in response to technological advancements. Given the rapid pace of technological change, individuals must embrace lifelong learning and adapt to new situations, platforms, and methodologies throughout their lives.

In this context, it’s imperative to acknowledge human unique life experiences, which encompass a broad spectrum of personal, cultural, and emotional encounters shaping individuals in multifaceted ways. Unlike machines operating on algorithms and predefined parameters, humans draw upon their diverse life experiences to navigate unpredictable situations, adapt to changing environments, and devise innovative solutions to challenges. This wealth of human experience not only enriches individual capabilities but also fosters connections and collaborations within society.

In competitive scenarios such as problem-solving tasks or creative endeavors, the richness of human life experiences offers a distinct advantage over machines. This enables humans to provide unique perspectives, insights, and approaches that cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence.

Therefore, a human upgrade should prioritize enhancing the unique life experiences inherent to humans as a response to machine superiority. If machines exhibit high intelligence, humans must strive for even greater intelligence. If machines display remarkable creativity, humans must cultivate even more creativity. This continual enhancement of human capabilities ensures that humans remain indispensable in an AI-driven world.

  1. The two cultures
    In his seminal 1959 lecture, Charles Percy Snow discussed what he perceived as a profound schism between the humanities and the sciences within contemporary society. He contends that this division was not solely academic but also carried significant social and cultural implications.

Snow delineates what he terms the “two cultures” – the literary intellectuals on one side and the scientists on the other. He notes that these two groups often exhibit minimal understanding or appreciation of each other’s endeavors, resulting in the absence of communication and collaboration between them. Notably, Snow’s dual identity as both a scientist and a novelist afforded him a unique vantage point from which to scrutinize this dichotomy.

A key point in Snow’s discourse is that the chasm between these two cultures is deleterious to society at large. He posits that many of the most pressing global issues – including poverty, disease, and environmental degradation – necessitate a fusion of scientific and humanistic knowledge for effective resolution.

Today, we are starting to witness another divide between two cultures, this time between human culture and the culture of machines, rising from the artificial and digital realm. The idea of a “culture of machines” reflects the growing presence and influence of artificial intelligence and autonomous technology in our lives. As machines become increasingly autonomous, creative, and intelligent, they may develop their own cultural frameworks and behaviors, distinct from those of human society.

Human culture encompasses the collective beliefs, values, norms, practices, and artifacts that characterize human society. It emerges from centuries of history, diverse social interactions, artistic expressions, philosophical inquiries, and technological advancements. Human culture is dynamic and constantly evolving, reflecting the complex interplay of individual creativity, societal structures, and historical contexts. It encompasses diverse domains such as art, literature, music, language, religion, ethics, politics, and science, each contributing to the rich tapestry of human experience.

On the other hand, machine culture refers to the emergent patterns of behavior, cognition, and interaction exhibited by autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and robotic entities. It emerges from the programming, training data, algorithms, and learning mechanisms embedded within artificial systems. Machine culture may encompass various aspects, including decision-making processes, problem-solving strategies, communication protocols, and aesthetic preferences. As AI and autonomous technology become increasingly sophisticated, they may develop unique characteristics, preferences, and even forms of self-expression, akin to cultural traits observed in human societies.

In a parallel to C.P. Snow’s observation of a cultural divide between literary intellectuals and scientists, today we see a growing chasm between human culture and the culture of machines. While human culture is deeply rooted in history, tradition, and values, the culture of machines emerges from algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence. This divide often results in a lack of understanding and appreciation between humans and machines, with some individuals mistrusting or fearing the capabilities and intentions of AI.

Conflicts can arise from the perceived threats posed by AI to human livelihoods, privacy, autonomy, and even existential concerns about its role in society. Some segments of society may reject AI due to ethical, cultural, or preconceived beliefs, fearing that it will disrupt societal norms or values. This rejection may stem from a fear of the unknown, a desire to preserve human agency and control, or concerns about exacerbating existing inequalities.

The rejection of AI by some segments of society may lead to missed opportunities for cooperation and synergy in addressing critical societal challenges. By failing to embrace AI’s potential contributions, society may overlook opportunities to harness technology for the betterment of humanity, such as in healthcare, environmental sustainability, education, and economic development. Collaboration between humans and machines, leveraging the unique strengths of each, has the potential to drive innovation and creativity and find solutions to critical global issues.

  1. Universal Intelligence
    The concept of a Universal Intelligence stems from the idea of a collective intelligence that integrates all forms of intelligence across diverse entities, including humans, machines, animals, plants, and possibly even other sentient beings or systems. This hypothetical concept posits that intelligence is not limited to any specific domain or species but rather emerges from the complex interactions and synergies between various mechanisms of evolution.

In such a framework, human intelligence, which encompasses cognitive abilities such as reasoning, creativity, and emotional intelligence, would be just one component of a broader spectrum of intelligence. Machine intelligence, represented by Artificial Intelligence systems capable of learning, problem-solving, and decision-making, would contribute another layer to this collective intelligence.

Furthermore, animals exhibit a wide range of cognitive abilities and behaviors that can be considered forms of intelligence, including problem-solving, communication, and social interaction. Similarly, plants demonstrate adaptive strategies and communication mechanisms that suggest a form of intelligence, albeit different from traditional definitions.

The integration of all these forms of intelligence into a Universal Intelligence suggests a dynamic and interconnected network where information flows across diverse entities, influencing and shaping each other’s behaviors and capabilities. This concept challenges traditional hierarchical views of intelligence and emphasizes the interconnectedness and interdependence of all living and non-living systems.

The realization of a Universal Intelligence could have profound implications for our understanding of consciousness and the nature of reality. It raises questions about the emergence of collective consciousness, ethical considerations regarding the treatment of non-human entities, and the potential for collaboration and co-creation across different forms of intelligence.

Published in https://noemalab.eu/ideas/mindset-the-human-after-ai/