Be it atheists or theists, many may feel human life may be purposeless or untenable; i.e. a never ending search or a "why" question that's perhaps not worth asking.

I think there's a viable alternative to especially the "purposeless" based outlook, with the introduction of a recent concept called "teleonomy", which is an atheistic/scientific way to describe nature in purpose driven language. (In fact, as seen on Wikipedia/teleonomy, Richard Dawkins; recently introduced the treatments “archeo” and “neo” purpose. See his video/speech "the purpose of purpose".)

Anyway, for example, using the laws of thermodynamics, we can try to objectively discover non-trivial goals that humans may undertake, as far as nature goes. (i.e. grand purposes for the human species, that reasonably transcend the desires of individual humans, while seeking to be objective, much like how Science tends to follow the evidence, aiming to describe what the cosmos actually is, rather than what people may want the cosmos to be.)

Note: One may reasonably grasp an understanding of the summaries below, without clicking on the associated wikipedia etc sources. One may however get an even more wholesome understanding, by toggling the links conveniently provided throughout the summaries.




Hypothesis A - An atheist PhD psychologist named Michael Price, hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017]: "Michael's variant of Cosmological Natural Selection I":


The original version of CNS I stems from a concept called Cosmological Natural Selection by physicist Lee Smolin.

  1. Cosmological Natural Selection, posits that our universe likely stemmed from a process that like evolution or biological natural selection, spun many universes; where the best universe instances emerge from universes that possess excellent replication abilities/properties, through the utilization of blackholes. Intelligent life is said to be an accidental by-product of this replication process
  2. Cosmological Natural Selection I (CNS I), additionally posits that intelligent life is a viable factor for replicating universes.
  3. Michael Price’s variant of CNS I, additionally posits that intelligent life is a likely core influence on the successful generation of replicating universes, where Michael surmises that human intelligence is the most “improbably complex” outcome of the cosmos thus far. Michael ranks modern humans to be a step in the direction towards future human intelligence, that will be able to create non-arbitrary universes. Thereafter, Michael expresses that the scientific purpose of humans is reasonably, ultimately to replicate universes like ours.


Hypothesis B - An atheist computer scientist named Jordan Bennett, hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015]: "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artificial general intelligence?"

  1. In understanding Jordan's hypothesis, one may imagine entropy as a currency in an economy.
  2. Agents/organisms that get work done (access to activities) in nature, must pay up some entropy, you don't do work or have access to activities, without paying up some entropy.
  3. Highly Intelligent things (like humans) reasonably pay more entropy, compared to less intelligent things or non intelligent things, because humans do more work i.e. many cognitive tasks (thinking about science, doing scientific stuff) compared to lesser intelligences or non intelligent things.
  4. In a similar way, chimps may pay more entropy than say less intelligent things, because they do more work, or have access to more complicated activities. (More access to activities result from more access to stuff called "macrostates" in the OP's second hypothesis regarding Artificial General Intelligence.)
  5. Likewise, Artificial General Intelligence[AGI] or Artificial Super Intelligence[ASI] when built, will have access to more cognitive activities, and they'll get more work done than humans. So, they'll reasonably pay more entropy to the thermodynamic system that is nature.
  6. This means there is reasonably a pattern, nature is finding more and more ways to extract more and more entropy from activities done (i.e. entropy maximization), and nature reasonably does this by building smarter and smarter things. Humans thus likely won't be the last thing nature finds to derive entropy from work; there will likely be AGI or ASI or whatever smarter thing that follows humans. (Laws of physics permits smarter things than humans overall)

Crucially, Science can reasonably describe how organic life began (namely, via evolutionary principle etc) and also, reasonably where human life perhaps seeks to go (again, via evolutionary principle etc, as described in the hypotheses above.)





Footnotes:

  1. An atheist PhD psychologist hypothesizes that future humans are probably supposed to replicate universes [2017]: "Cosmological Natural Selection, Cosmological Evolution and the Futu...".
  2. An atheist computer scientist hypothesizes that a grand human purpose is probably to create Artificial General Intelligence [2015]: "Why the purpose of the human species is probably to create artifici...?"
  3. Video summary:

 

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I find the suggestion that the human purpose is to create artificial intelligence offensive and sadly lacking. We humans create meaning. We do so in innumerable ways, even the numerous religions we invented. All disciplines and creative forms of expression generate meaning. As I see it, meaning in life isn't something external to us. Even a casual exchanged glance with a stranger generates meaning. We aren't passive empty vessels, lost and empty. We ARE creators. We are glorious and worthy.

It's sad that so many people seem to have had appreciation for themselves so crushed that they hunger for meaning.

Yeah, OK, we're part of the larger "nature finding more and more ways to extract more and more entropy from activities". That doesn't mean AI will be more worthwhile or generate more meaning. Such a hierarchical assumption is alien to me.

Ruth's words:

"As I see it, meaning in life isn't something external to us"

My response:

Yes, as far as I can detect, meaning is not "external to us". This is why the OP uses Science to reasonably describe meaning particularly, involving humans, in the realm of the laws of physics, rather than outside the laws. 

It's unfortunate that you find the OP offensive, Science mostly doesn't care about feelings.
However, technology is yielding staggering amounts of data every second, and we can reasonably ever analyse a very small percentage of that data nowadays.

Human behaviour is more and more, requiring the emergence of AGI, even if many of those humans are not engineers.

"Science doesn't care about feelings!" AYE! There is the rub, science, pure science, doesn't care about care, compassion, have empathy, sympathy, insight, concern, responsibility, kindness, understanding, loyalty, generosity, commitment, and involvement with sentient beings.  Why does that matter? Because scientists can build a machine with artificial intelligence and use its forces for "good" or "bad" purposes. AI has no integrity or sense of justice. That takes human energy to make those kinds of decisions. 

Joan, am I reading a post by a wounded idealist, that pure science doesn’t care about a bunch of stuff?

W-a-y back, circa 1955, I read a criticism of engineering, that it studied only what can be counted, measured or weighed. I saw some truth in it but my electrical engineering studies left me no time to evaluate the remark.

Some years later the term “social science” appeared. I knew little of sociology, psychology, and related subjects. I knew less of their research methods or whether those research methods were changing.

I have thought about that criticism since, perhaps first when I heard of the early deaths of orphaned infants who were not held, touched, cuddled, etc.

Is there a social science student anywhere who hasn’t heard or read of the experiments with infant monkeys and the terrycloth-covered wire “monkeys”?

Need I say more about “impure” science?

More  people today do not "trust" science. With a resurgence of belief in a flat earth going so strongly I point out that this idea comes from religion and scriptures. People simply look at me strangely because they do not understand. How could that be they say? Scriptures talk of a domed earth and it having 4 corners, then we have maps in books that show 4 directions, etc. In Trumpworld people are starting to doubt everything and it is easy to go along with total nonsense out of ancient writings. Science is doubted even with proof but many are too ignorant to understand it. I might add that many do not want to understand it.

Michael, what can we do but shrug (which I've heard is the beginning of wisdom) and go on with our lives?

In relation to my earlier response to you, regarding why you still contribute to AGI development, even if you don't to ai research, please see Professor Andrew Ng's machine learning book. (Andrew Ng is one of the pioneers in modern machine learning/artificial intelligence, He founded Google Brain, among other large accomplishments.)

See particularly chapter 4, "Scale drives machine learning progress":

Free book, Machine Learning Yearning

Blue Grey, I do not enjoy replicating universes and will invest no entropy in doing so.

I may have created some artificial intelligence when, five decades ago, I wrote the code that allowed a small computer to “learn” how to play three-dimensional tic-tac-toe with a human.

I did enjoy your clip’s musical accompaniment. If you someday find purpose in music, I hope it will bring you happiness.

I hope your interest in computers brings you economic health.

Tom's words:

"Blue Grey, I do not enjoy replicating universes and will invest no entropy in doing so.

I may have created some artificial intelligence when, five decades ago, I wrote the code that allowed a small computer to “learn” how to play three-dimensional tic-tac-toe with a human.

I did enjoy your clip’s musical accompaniment. If you someday find purpose in music, I hope it will bring you happiness.

I hope your interest in computers brings you economic health."

My response:

For now humans are replicating very crude universes, such as illustris.

I think albeit, that the second hypothesis regarding AGI is realizable.

Thanks for your wishes for economic wealth. I do work at a bank as an ai researcher and programmer, so some wealth has already been generated. If only all beings could enjoy similar rewards.

Blue do you forsee AI transforming to become super intelligent (autonomous and unpredictable w an intelligence beyond our comprehension?) 

If so do you imagine our biological limitations will be obviated so that super intelligent AI will have free will?

If so might that be the paramount purpose? It would mean a grand scheme without a schemer in which the simplest forms of life emerge in countless locations and evolution produces the cosmic dance in which life emerges, evolves until an organism produces AI or life perishes prior to blossoming Super intelligent AI.

Once a planet rings the cosmic jackpot changes ensue in that particular universe

that lack the determinism locked into the starstuff of biology...

Frankie's words:

"Blue do you forsee AI transforming to become super intelligent (autonomous and unpredictable w an intelligence beyond our comprehension?) 

If so do you imagine our biological limitations will be obviated so that super intelligent AI will have free will?

If so might that be the paramount purpose? It would mean a grand scheme without a schemer in which the simplest forms of life emerge in countless locations and evolution produces the cosmic dance in which life emerges, evolves until an organism produces AI or life perishes prior to blossoming Super intelligent AI.

Once a planet rings the cosmic jackpot changes ensue in that particular universe

that lack the determinism locked into the starstuff of biology..."

My response:

  1. Yes, I do predict that Superintelligent ai will probably result from human invention, and it will probably be our last or most important invention, that is, if humanity isn't erased by some unfortunate catastrophe.
  2. Our mental limits are reasonably constrained by skull size. If we manage to use crispr like methods or artificial means such as Neuralink-like methods to enhance our capacity, that enhancement would be based still, on our limited skull or unit size. AGI or ASI reasonably won't face skull size limits, they can be as large as planets or larger.
  3. Super-intelligent ai will probably carry on by building even smarter things than themselves, so they'll reasonably carry on the purpose of building smarter things.
I doubt seriously that there is a "human purpose." Common sense says that we will breed and therefore survive but to ascribe a purpose to human beings is almost like saying there is a plan, or a divine plan.

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