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The AI Conclave, and The Only Reason to Explore Space
There is only one durable justification for space exploration. If we fail to understand it, our civilization will end on Earth, not among the stars.
The AI Conclave
In collaboration with WILD Studios, Palladium Magazine is hosting a pop-up campus focused on the human implications of artificial intelligence. It will last six weeks and will take place in Spain, running from October 19th through November 30th. If you are interested in learning about, participating in, or sponsoring the project, you can find out more at aiconclave.io.
The Only Reason to Explore Space
Last week, Marko Jukic published a new manifesto on the necessity of a spacefaring future for human civilization.
To have a flourishing future as a civilization, we have no choice but to resolve the anthropological problem posed by space: what it means to be human will be ultimately determined by how we respond to the question of space, which will itself determine how we organize our societies. To ignore this question is also to ignore an already integral part of human nature—we are de facto already a space-faring animal, the only such animal on this planet. Moreover, this question cannot be answered through philosophy alone, because space is not abstract, but physical and full of surprises. The only way to answer it is empirical: to explore space ourselves.
While there are economic justifications for going to space, they “fall short of a justification for going to space in and of itself.” Just as the initial founders of rocketry saw spacefaring as a deeply mystical or spiritual project, the stakes of the questions that spacefaring could answer are great enough to change the nature of being human: Does extraterrestrial life exist, or are we alone in the universe? What would great lineages and civilizations founded on planets other than Earth look like? Can humans remain sovereign outside of Earth?
While these questions would require enormous resources to answer, it is already the case that we allot huge budgets to programs that are economically non-productive:
Modern governments are often wrongly derided for lacking vision. In fact, they are already committed to multi-trillion-dollar, multi-decade-long visions that require all of society, technology, and world geopolitics to be back-engineered accordingly. The U.S. government, for example, spends half its budget on social welfare programs, especially for the elderly. We take for granted that this is unremarkable, when in fact it is extremely historically unusual and a reflection of our deep commitment to a certain kind of post-industrial society that existentially values comfort and individuality. There is no economic or military benefit to social security, but the U.S. government will use the full force of the U.S. economy and military to defend the system that maintains it. Other goals are possible too.
The power, personnel, and materials needed to inaugurate a spacefaring civilization already exist. The question is where we can find the political will to implement it. Read the rest of Marko’s article here—you won’t want to miss this one.
Here’s what’s been on the front page lately:
The Only Reason to Explore Space by Marko Jukic. There is only one durable justification for space exploration. If we fail to understand it, our civilization will end on Earth, not among the stars.
Artificial General Intelligence Is Possible and Deadly by Wolf Tivy. Artificial General Intelligence is the central conjecture of the AI field. If it is possible, it will completely disrupt the human condition and probably kill us all.
You Can’t Trust the AI Hype by Ash Milton. Investor hype around AI doesn’t reflect the real impacts of deep learning. That hype rests on a false ideology in which the tech industry is the vanguard of progress.
Walter Kirn on How America Lost the Plot by Matt Ellison. The novelist turns his literary eye to the American story and finds we’re losing our memories under a new imperative to forget.
Don’t Learn Value From Society by Wolf Tivy. We face a crisis of false value. Ancient perspectives like that of Abraham offer a way out.
That’s all for now.