People say that sort of thing about themselves, especially successful people. They look back and they say, you know, I encountered these difficulties, but, but I put my head down and powered my way through.
And here I am, you see, I get the reward and I'm successful. And I don't think that's what they did.
And then, if you fail, it will still have been enjoyable. The idea of working for months or years on a boring thing in order to get the reward is terribly dangerous.
That's a lot to ask also. Is that objective? Do you think it's Mel? That's an interesting question. No, it's very easy to fake and spoof that you're in test and to get it wrong. And for another thing, it depends on the subject or victim or whatever you call it wanting to pass the test.
There is no limit to the type or size of mistake that we can make.
David, thank you so much for being here. It's such an honor to talk to you. Thank you for having me.
So for those who don't know, David Deutsch is a theoretical physicist at the University of Oxford, the founding father of quantum computing, and the offer of two great books, the fabric of reality and the beginning of infinity.
And for those who don't know me, my name is Jabber. I have a masters in artificial intelligence while studying my masters. I created this YouTube channel to discuss science and philosophy. Sort of for fun. By the time I finish my masters, I fall in love with making YouTube videos on this topic.
So I left everything else. And that's what I do now full time. So to see if that was wise of me, we'll discuss the fun criteria.
David, one of the amazing things about the beginning of infinity for me was how you start with epistemology. And you seem to be naturally building up on it, but arriving at surprisingly wide and for reaching ideas, like universality, things like ethics and aesthetics and things like that.
And interestingly, the same exploration can reach the realm of what might seem like existential territory or like maybe life advice, which I know you're not trying to do under the umbrella of the fun criteria.
Indeed. I'm going to do like a little summary from what I understand from the fun criteria. I could be wrong, of course, in my understanding, so also correct me after I finish if I make any mistakes.
And then from there, I'll ask you a few questions to see some scenarios on how to understand it better. So things that go in our thinking or affect our thought processes, beliefs, emotions, anything with the sort, all of these will call them here ideas.
I know sometimes you call them theories. Those can be explicit or explicit, but conscious or unconscious.
So explicit ideas have a large and explicit component.
Unconscious theories are not unknowable, but far from obvious. And example of them would be the unconscious rules for grammar of one's own native language.
You know these rules, you know these grammar rules, but not consciously. All of these ideas on these different levels that we mentioned interact with each other.
All of them are necessary to solve problems. Any of them can be wrong, of course.
I can't judge any idea by its source only by content. So if it's my in explicit gut feeling, or if it's my explicit theory that in itself cannot make it right or wrong.
It's all about content. As with everything else, I can only conjecture what these conflicting ideas are, what solve the conflict and criticize the solution and repeat that process.
I can understand correctly. Lack of fun is a type of criticism to the current situation. One can be in.
And fun is, as you say in the interview with Lily about the topic, when ideas on these three levels are affecting each other via a process that is evolutionary end of summary.
Can you please elaborate on that, like what does it mean for them to be affecting each other in a process that's evolutionary. And when are they not affecting each other?
Well, I couldn't see a single thing to call with that in that exposition. It seems to be not only accurate, but pretty complete.
I would only be able to just mention a couple of things that might be confusing to people who aren't familiar with this kind of thing.
But there are no ideas, although we can classify ideas into things like conscious and unconscious and, and there are other categories like like to what extent an idea is encoded entirely in the brain, or whether it is partly encoded in other parts of the nervous system or in the body and, and so on.
Or even even things like people writing notes on the back of the hand.
It is all on their computer that that's those are all ideas and they all affect each other and they all have their different properties.
But for explicit and in explicit and conscious and unconscious.
I don't think there are any human ideas that are purely one of those. So, for example, you mentioned grammar.
So it is impossible to say something entirely explicitly, because for that to be meaningful for it to be true or false or good or bad explanation or whatever.
Just to have a meaning that is encoded somewhere, like in the in the brain in your own brain or in the brain of listener and so on.
And to imagine that that could all be, for example, explicit means that you would have an infinite regress, because for each word you would have to look up what that means and that could only be.
It's an infinite rest, which is not what actually happens when when we hear of some new idea.
We don't immediately go to the dictionary and in fact it's it's a well known source of error to run to the dictionary for the for the meaning of what one is hearing instead one when there's no alternative but to conjecture.
And judges also have however explicit they are they have a an in explicit and an unconscious component.
And and similarly unconscious ideas have a conscious component, for example, we think we know you said we don't know grammatical rules.
We know them sometimes we can state them in words and sometimes we obey those statements instead of the unconscious rules, because they we think that that is right that is correct or because we think we might sound pompous if we say the right thing.
We may sound stupid if we if we say our gut thing or whatever you know we we we.
We conjecture in the moment what we what not only what to say but what the meaning of it is and similarly we conjecture the meaning of our feelings as well.
And some of those conjectures aren't explicit and so on so I got to go on at infinite and like this yeah yeah so.
Fun is what happens when this process is unproblematic it when when your your.
Engaging in an activity or in in speaking or writing and and so on and your problem solving on all these levels is compatible with each other very nice so.
I wanted to ask you that question this way like what question exactly is the fun criteria on answering but that that in itself might not be the right question like maybe it should be what is the situation where I can tell myself now I can apply or think in terms of the fun criteria.
Yes, yes that's that's a much better way of putting it the problem situation.
To which this theory of fun is a is a is a proposed solution.
Is that people have false ideas about the both the nature of ideas and the nature and relationship between these different kinds of ideas so some people like Mr Spock in the original Star Trek series that they call it logic but but in my terminology it's explicit ideas that exclusive thinking and and.
And reasoning, first of all that they are sufficient and secondly, where they conflict with some other ideas the other ideas must be regarded as worthless worthless from the point of view of what to do or what to think or how to solve the problem and so on.
There is also the opposite of that there are people who think that explicit ideas are the work of the devil that that really trust your gut and you know young children know everything already and and they are.
Just misled by education and so there they shouldn't be education and that that sort of that was roughly speaking again I'm translating it into my terminology but that was roughly speaking Rousseau's idea.
Rousseau was was a great educational theorist in some sense the first one in the modern sense not not not counting lock and he said a many many extremely insightful things about the way in which humans think and about where the way that children come to think things, but he also said.
Some extremely bad things that have had terrible consequences over the centuries and and this this idea that civilization, which is closely connected with the idea of explicit ideas.
That civilization is a burden and is actually responsible not just responsible for harm but is responsible for all harm in the world that is the worst the nonsense it's just the opposite of the truth.
But I say the opposite, but I mean it's it's not true that in explicit ideas are responsible for everything bad it's just the truth is in my view that we can't distinguish between ideas according to their source.
And we have lots of sources are of ideas and none of them are reliable but criticism and conjecture can can eliminate some errors.
If adjacent to an idea you also debunk in the beginning of infinity which is those who claim that like hunter gatherers used to be much happier than the current state state we live in today, which again doesn't acknowledge at all how much knowledge we created and how much fun we created actually like or at least fun possibilities for us to to do in our day and age because of that accumulation of knowledge after of course the enlightenment and the science of evolution.
And starting a dynamic society as you described by by the end of the book.
Yes, actually I was also listening to a podcast a couple of days ago and they mentioned that ADHD kids at least quite a few of them can pay attention like for a good amount of time on things they enjoy.
Of course, so they have problems with attention except on things they enjoy they can actually then give it away and I found that very interesting within the like under the umbrella of.
Which to me suggestion obvious cure for the entire condition.
Let me ask you like this question so I imagine as narrow and feeling a type of unease or discomfort towards something like in a situation, so according to my best explanation for what's happening like I try to you know conjecture about my own ideas and things like that and I realize okay there is an unconscious.
Block here that I don't know that is either by an evolution or by maybe my childhood whatever something like that and I realized I don't know this fear of public speaking is just you know it was for some reasons it doesn't make sense now I'm just speaking in front of people who clearly will not harm me everything will be all right.
Now I found what seems to be a good explanation but still this explicit understanding isn't internalized right away.
So my question is should the discomfort either disappear right away or.
I haven't found the right solution or explanation under the phone criteria.
No, no it doesn't mean that first of all, as you describe you can have a conjecture that your discomfort is caused by some inborn or educational thing or something or other, and that the the lack of fun is due to a conflict between that and your ex's theory is namely that you're not in any danger.
Interesting situation and so on that there's that conflict now that theory, even if perfectly true does not contain any conjecture about what to do about this.
That would be a separate thing to conjecture about.
And again, the solution might be that you should find a way to gradually eliminate one or other of those series from your personality.
But more likely it is not that more the theory won't be entirely harmful it will it will it may well contain some good things I've actually had the experience of speaking in public and then and then being for reasons which I won't go into being very nervous and as a result.
I gave a very dynamic performance with people like and then later.
I gave another talk on a similar subject and and so I thought oh now I you know I know how to do that now so I went into it and turned out to be rather boring.
But it requires creativity and and it requires getting that also right and then there's also the fact that you may be mistaken about what the whole problem was which is another possibility or you may be partly mistaken and so on so so the fun criterion is not a way of.
Choosing what to do it's a way of criticizing bad ways of choosing what to do.
Like we do with anything like with science or with democracy under popper and it's not about choosing we can't have a way to tell us what's right, but it could tell us how to eliminate either bad rulers or bad theories etc.
Just last few things also to translate within the language of like this section let's call it translate to FC translate to fun criteria so like some Buddhist or maybe stoic like Stoics will tell us.
It what seems like the other way around they were they will tell us if you have to do it anyway enjoy it.
What are they saying within the language of FC.
So the most innocent interpretation I can think I mean I'm not very familiar with stoic philosophy but.
The most innocent interpretation I can think of is that they might be saying.
Just think there might be a way to enjoy this and don't don't reject it just because initially when you when you first think of the idea it doesn't sound enjoyable that there it might be the best thing in the world if you if you look at it the right way.
And that there's another slightly less innocent but also fairly innocent interpretation of that, which is.
If you can't think of a of a way of enjoying this if you you you try to you know you tried to like and and the time when it's becoming inevitable is is is you know it's getting more and more urgent and whatever.
And so that's something of a way then get it over with get it over with and and turn to something good you know something that that you expect to be.
So that's that's you know that's a recognition of possible failure where you are in regard to failure one once because of optimism one one should always regard failure as being due to a lack of knowledge so.
So I didn't fail because I'm stupid I didn't fail because I'm a bad person, I didn't fail because it was right that I should fail you know that none of those things are true I failed because I failed to generate the right knowledge at the right time.
That's an optimistic thing because it it means that i'm not shutting down the possibility of of solving it better next time or enjoying it next time optimism is a again it's not a prescription it's it's not telling you what's what's good or bad it's it's telling you.
That various ways of rethinking of how to distinguish between good and bad and so on are just mistakes that they are bad.
It's not a blind optimism you make their clear difference between the blind optimism or light pessimism which is just a prophecy about the future and you know like finding that with explanations and your optimism is basically an epistemological statement.
And it did have a great impact on me personally also I felt it it made me think of things differently in a better way I sort of had like something similar but it wasn't put in such elegant words before I read down.
Thank you another also translate to fc so some people say like grind like if it's even if you don't enjoy it and this is this can be meaningful so just a grind go through with it there is a promise that after you finish you and look back and find it good.
Yeah, I think that's a that's a bad outlook I have, however, seen from time to time people say that sort of thing about themselves, let's say especially successful people they they look back and they say you know I encountered these difficulties but but I put my head down and powered my way through and here I am you see I get the reward and I'm successful and I don't think that's what they did.
Well, it can happen, for example, yeah, who do you menu and I think he said that when he was a child his parents literally chained him to his violin.
To make him practice and he grew up to deeply appreciate music it was the whole of his life and and so on now, first of all, I think that that this is a bad policy because.
Because for every one year who did menu and there are a hundred thousand children who are forced to study the violin who whose life is blighted thereby and who would have been much better than something else, but I think it's actually more false than that.
I think what happened there is that he found his way through the minefield lucky enough not to get blown up, but he found his way through the minefield and the thing he found was actually good that that's another that's another thing that helps, you know, in many cases it isn't actually good or it could be mixed so.
Thinking one of Richard Dawkins is either books or TV shows I think I wrote this down somewhere but I can't remember exactly but he wrote that this long series of experiments that somebody did.
But might seem terribly boring but it's worth it when you make the discovery now I think first of all, if you are interested in that problem and doing these experiments is the only way you can think of advancing knowledge in that then.
It will be enjoyable because when while you're doing it you're not doing it like a machine you're doing it in the context of your problem you're doing it in the context of hopes ideas.
Creative thought which then changes you like you're not the same person after you've been doing this for a while you're hoping for a different thing, sometimes you're you're presumably you're sometimes thinking about how the experiment could be improved and done better, maybe done with less boring work or whatever, and then if you fail.
Enjoyable, the idea of working for months or years on a boring thing in order to get the reward is terribly dangerous, especially in science where nobody can guarantee you that you're succeed you I think in science you have to take the view that.
If you turn out to be completely wrong it was still worth doing it was still fun.
I use the analogy of you know there's somebody lost out on the mountain and and people send out a search party trying to find them with some burning dogs going through the through the snow and so on, and then, and then.
Uh, they don't I would say several things happen.
Either they don't find the person so they they come back home, they don't say, oh, it wasn't worth going out in the snow and physically fine didn't find the person they say it was worth it.
Secondly, if they find the person the person who happens to find the lost person on the mountain.
No different from any of the others it it could be that that person gets the medal something or gets gets thanked more than the others, but I think usually the person is found will say now I want to thank everybody who was involved in this search and and even the dogs and and so on and so, of course, if one person.
Whereas you're all doing it wrong I think they got lost over there and then they're the only person to find it well then then maybe they they but even then even then in that extreme case.
In a different universe, they would have had the right theory and the one who found them would have had the wrong theory and so on so that's what spines is like it's it's mostly failure, but it can be all fun.
And a much better criterion is the is the fun not the promise of finding not only the promise of finding the truth.
And last question in this topic since you mentioned music let's say I am doing something it seems tedious.
It seems like boring somehow it's repetitive but I have to do it then I added music in the background and I started feeling better.
What am I doing here also the last translation to FC so what's happening among my like different type different levels of ideas in such a context.
First of all, when you listen to music and enjoy it you are thinking aha it may be you know if this is your favorite piece of music is maybe that you've heard it 50 times.
If you've heard it 50 times and are still enjoying it on the 50th time then you're hearing it differently each time you're hearing it with the benefit of the of the thoughts that you've had.
In the case you mentioned they might have been in explicit thoughts they're in the background but but something good always changes you.
So if you're enjoying the music then it is changing you if you're enjoying it to outweigh something you're not enjoying enjoying well.
That's that might be the only thing you can do like like I said it might be thing you know you have to say let's get this over with.
But that's not ideal when when there's a thing that you have to say let's get this over with there's always another way of thinking about this which doesn't have any element of non fun or let's get this over with.
There's a different way of looking at the thing even if you're doing the same actions of understanding the context in such a way that this in that context is a pleasant thing to do.
It's like that famous example of like it's like framing the pain one gets from say working out many of us love it it doesn't feel like pain actually I never called it pain.
Like we know it could be physically interpreted as pain had the person not known that this is what's happening while I'm working now.
But we love it like when we got a gym no matter what type of again like I'm putting pain between quotes because the fun criterion is the opposite of no pain no gain so just to be clear about that.
Yes now that we we mentioned music let's jump to objective beauty.
This is a fascinating topic before I went into the book I never thought anybody could even convince me like even with a little bit that there could be any objective beauty.
But then you did so I'll try also to to to read there are no three minutes summary of it from what I understand it and then also I'll ask you a few questions about like how anything's like.
So one possible goal of beauty is attraction beauty can attract beings that are able to detect it or appreciate it.
Co-evolution is the process of reciprocal evolutionary change that occurs among groups of species as they interact with another.
So we can imagine two species each evolving in its own path when these paths are affecting each other continually we have co-evolution.
The same co-evolution process can happen within within a species like between males and females through sexual selection.
Now you argue that the co-evolution of insects and flowers made the flowers objectively beautiful or have some standards of objective beauty we'll see how and gave the insects the ability to detect this beauty and be attracted to it.
And that there is something interesting and unique about this particular co-evolution as follows in the co-evolution of predator species and a prey species.
They are each evolving to hide from each other they're evolving towards being less attractive to each other.
In the co-evolution of males and females of the same species let's say I don't know cows they're evolving towards being more attractive to each other.
So they are evolving to be more attractive but only to each other so only within the species.
So that explains why we humans don't find like these animals male or females universally beautiful although they do find each other attractive.
But for a evolution to make something like flowers be more attractive to a completely different species like insects.
In order to bridge this huge gap this enormous genetic distance between the two species it had to reach out for objective standards of beauty.
Actually the pressure was even more complicated the competition also was between authentic flowers that had pollen and flower like species that didn't have pollen.
And between insects that could differentiate the two and those that couldn't that put pressure on the flowers with pollen to have beauty that is hard to forge and on insects to distinguish them.
That's why only insects appreciate flowers and humans we humans universally almost in all cultures find flowers beautiful.
We can detect objective beauty because we as humans are universal explainers for one thing and because we have to reach also to each other through huge gaps or distances.
That's not genetic that's in our in our minds basically this distance now you answer also some common objections in the chapter when we talk about this.
So some people say we like symmetry and bright colors and high contrast for parochial biological genetic reasons not objective ones.
Aren't these enough to explain why we love flowers you say no we love looking at asymmetrical flowers too and the pale white judgements and we're not attracted to a black spider on a white wall although it's symmetrical with a high contrast with the wall.
An important note having said all that you acknowledge of course that we do also have standards of beauty that are not objective.
We like things for cultural and genetic reasons to and of course objective beauty like objective truth is a subject to open ended improvement.
It's not like you're saying we'll find one golden ratio this is like a very common one and we solve the beauty that's not at all as far as I guess.
Again, perfectly accurate and the biology with your previous question about fun.
Let me answer straight away what I imagine the next question is what problem is this addressing this theory well that's the co evolution happens a lot in the biosphere and by itself that's not a mystery it it to co evolution is known.
A lot of knowledge and to create it relatively fast compared with other processes.
The question is why do humans why are humans also attracted to this and and by the way, I think there have been experiments done that that humans can also make things that are beautiful and attract insects.
So humans can also be going the other direction so humans I mean that's maybe not so surprising because humans can do a lot of things.
It would also not be surprising if humans could learn to appreciate flowers humans can learn to appreciate anything including spiders on the wall or whatever.
What's surprising is that that humans seem to naturally easily and most humans most of the time in most cultures that find flowers beautiful.
That is very surprising there are other parts of plants that do not have that property in fact no other part of a plant has that property so why why do humans find specifically flowers usually.
And I think the answer is that in doing this co evolution the evolution did not go along the usual path of just finding things that sort of match together between the two side they both found a thing that matches with something objective.
By the way, I also think that that humans are as different from each other as as different species are so although we don't usually think of it as as a mystery or a miracle that we can communicate with each other or that we can appreciate each other's values.
And it is for the same reason it is because we can appreciate each other's values to the extent that we can reach out for the same objective value.
While we are extremely close to each other as humans genetically.
We're most of what's interesting is our non genetic basically our mimetic distances which are obviously way more different than any genetic differences may be among any species.
So I think one common objection we probably have heard it before.
I think it's based on a misconception but I'm going to ask you anyway so like we get it over with once someone tells us beauty can be objective.
We find it hard to digest that the window could open to anyone telling us you're wrong about finding x beautiful or not beautiful.
So let's put people at ease is that what your argument entails.
No, and and not even in this specific case because I think although flowers are objectively beautiful they are far from the most beautiful things we know of.
We can I said, you know, we can make things that attract insects.
But we can make things that don't attract insects but are far better than any flower the most beautiful things that a human artists have created are not in the same league as as anything that nature has created.
There's a nice poem who's also a name I always forget but I can look it up who says exactly this who says that nature may be beautiful.
Yeah, definitely and within this whole framework it's clear why.
Let's put the word framework I know it's not very popular but you know what I mean.
So in a short interview with nature you mentioned that beauty can be objective.
It can also be we can find things beautiful for genetic reasons or cultural reasons so for poetry reasons.
I didn't measure there but I think also we can have it for subjective like completely personal reasons.
Like maybe this thing reminds me of something so I can also find a beautiful for that reason like familiarity something like that.
So I think what you're saying is it's possible for one to learn to appreciate something after not appreciating it.
Yes, so first I look at it I don't like it and then I can learn that this is worth appreciating.
Just like I can in the beginning see an explanation a theory and I think it's wrong.
And then someone can explain it better to me somehow like and then I'm like oh okay this is right.
So even if it's objective it doesn't mean I will it's like self no I have to conjecture to understand it also.
Yes, both ways around I agree with you and even so even within all that even in theory if we had a great advance in aesthetic sciences let's call them.
No one can tell like anybody you can't find exactly or you can't find X beautiful because we are also acknowledging the genetic cultural personal.
We know these things exist but we're talking about the objective aspect we're not taking anybody else's you know personal subjective feelings towards anything of course.
Are you saying there would be a unified theory of beauty across all art or at least for example what makes can I put a theory that can I put out a theory that makes a music like this is what makes music good.
Well, we know so little about this that it's hard to how to guess what future knowledge about this kind of thing will look like for example future knowledge might say well the thing that we used to call beauty in the 21st century is actually five different things and they're very different from each other.
And beauty number one has these attributes and beauty number two as those at but but they were so crude in those days that they couldn't even talk about between those and they might say some of the things that they thought were objective are actually.
And vice versa, some of the things that they thought proko actually objective and and they're most extreme appreciation of beauty was actually in this thing that they didn't value rather like the ancient Greeks didn't think that the pottery was the potters were the kind of the lowest class of people and the people who decorated the pottery with these exquisite.
They were just basically despised people they were like road sweepers in those days and and they presumably I don't know what they thought they must have had in their minds sophisticated theories of how to decorate pottery.
They thought that that was an exalted thing and that everybody else was underestimating them, or whether they too thought that you know they might easily have despised themselves and wish that they could be something other than potters.
They wish that they could be cow herders or something. I don't know, I don't know, but there is no limit to the type or size of mistake that we can make exactly.
I'm just just saying that in order to illustrate that we don't know if I say I don't know the answer to that question it's not that there's a thing which if I knew it then I would know it's you know we might be a very long way from understanding.
Even when we have such a theory, even when we are much closer to the truth about these things, it will not give us a way to create art by by turning the handle on some art machine.
It will be a way of understanding what art is, but we will still not be a mechanical task to either create it or to appreciate it, just like with science.
So I was wondering what would falsify the explanation we just laid out with the like flowers and insects and things like that.
So I thought of a few scenarios to lay out. So if other animals were also attracted to flowers without a code of usually history with flowers like insects.
That would for example be that would falsify the theory. No, I don't know of any animals, but I'm imagining so.
Yes, yes, that would I hesitate to say something's falsified if I don't have a rival theory arrival explanation. Oh, but yeah, that that would make the theory very problematic.
It's not about the spiny anteters. No, actually, that's about it, because you could imagine that they would have a reason for appreciating, but some animal that doesn't have such a reason like bats. Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe bats, but they don't see very well.
That exactly that would make it fascinating. Well, that would be kind of supernatural. If a blind animal, I mean, well, they're not lying. But that translated to their level of sense that it would be amazing.
That would be that would make the theory problematic.
But I don't think there's anything like that. Yeah, yeah, I don't know either. I was just thinking of first scenario is to make it like to think of for society.
And we can solve the bats and the anteters and the insect and the humans all within one theory and it has nothing objective about it. Fine. Yeah, then that would be the best there. Yeah.
I thought of carnivorous plants, because they also had to evolve to attract like insects and sometimes non insect to catch and eat them. And some of them are really beautiful. Like you look at them, you see like they look like flowers, but some completely aren't beautiful.
I don't know. How does that play within them? Well, I'm, I'm, I'm not a botanist, but I think some of these.
Attract insects by first of all, by smell. Exactly. I was about to ask also, is that objective beauty and smell.
That's an interesting question. No, that's just mimicry. So they're mimicking the things it's not just annual smell. If it was annual smell, then then they would have to go towards objective beauty to make it work.
But I think they just smell like rotten meat, which is what the insects are a true.
Hmm. But that that's ordinary mimicry. I see. So let me see if I understand. So it's just because it.
Evolution didn't have to reach like so far because it just mimicked something. Let's say adjacent for okay, and it worked rather than like the flowers, it had to reach so far and compete with the flowers that didn't have pollen.
And so it had to reach a beauty that's not foldable. In this case, this is, this is forging actually. Yes.
And that forging is like camouflage. That's again, very common. I see. And I think there's nothing wrong with the conventional explanation. Oh, I see. Okay.
I was thinking so that that applies to all other senses. No, like even cooking, like if I say this meal is objectively beautiful because it will fill the objective standards of beauty or, or maybe also parochial. So it depends.
I see either with humans, you should never rule out the idea that it might be caused by some human creativity. My point is that objective also installations are also within this, they could be even like with any type of sense with any, even with new quality that we didn't, we don't have yet, but one day we might create artificially.
Now, I want to end like this section with a very beautiful quote from the interview with nature magazine, you say only humans can improve on beauty when nature achieves beauty. It is an accidental by product of something else.
Nature can only get so beautiful, but humans can paint something that is more beautiful than any scene.
God, I said that. I just said that just. Yes, so beautiful. That's so. So moving on to creativity. I'm also going to make a summary. I'm trying to make it short, although it's not.
I'm going to talk about the evolution of creativity, your argument in the book. So human species, even before becoming homo sapiens lived in stasis.
Mostly there was barely any innovation and change was by chance, rather than by creative outputs. For example, we see no evidence of tools getting better in short time intervals, yet creativity or what was proto creativity, definitely was being selected for in this evolutionary history.
So what was it good for? A related problem you offer here is meme replication.
So unlike other animals, we don't have genetically predefined criteria for what means to copy.
I think we do have some. I think like other apes, we are born with the ability to imitate actions.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Obviously we inherited that from apes that they they have it to. So maybe I should have said unlike other animals. We're not limited to what is genetically predefined criteria for what means to copy. Yes.
Okay, so a parent can only copy sounds and other human primates can copy other behavior, but not sounds even though they can produce sounds simply because it's not in their genes to do that.
Human scopy meaning not behavior. So how then is mean transmission possible, even though a lot of means content is invisible.
Since we're not copying behavior with copying meaning, how do we choose what you're copying these two problems meet in the middle and the following solution that you offer in the book.
What replicates human means is creativity and creativity was used while it was evolving to replicate means.
So back in those static societies, the more creative individuals were the best at guessing and following the means of their tribe, let's say, the unspoken standards like they knew how to fulfill them very well, and they were the best at replicating these means faithfully.
And because of that they gained status and of course that gave them an advantage and passing their genes.
So in static societies creativity was blocked for millennia by the means, which it meaning creativity evolved to copy what that was did cause me to joke as you say.
So I have a few like questions here and also just seeing not to falsify the theory also, but to see if there are other aspects that could either support it or not.
Is it possible that creativity was used to attract mates, but in very limited ways like say dancing or singing, helping them propagate their protocreativity gene, but still the there was enough anti rational means that didn't allow them like to use that creativity elsewhere.
So they were allowed maybe to dance creatively and sing creatively to attract each other, but you know that they couldn't like, oh, you want to make a new tool know like this this could hurt harm others whatever so don't touch the tools.
Maybe they followed something like what's the principle of race that you disagree within the book like don't create any technology because it's good.
It could have a precautionary pretty exactly so maybe they were following an international meme like that, and so they had creativity it was passing like that, but not through not through things we can detect now because it wasn't tool.
Honestly, what made me think of that is so all Arabic poets like a thousand seven hundred years ago or something.
They were very proud of how well they could memorize like like poetry and there was shame around anything about like writing or something, no, the pride was in memorizing and I forgot which philosopher ancient for like philosopher who was against books know it should be all in the my was it Socrates or who was it.
Yes, and of course earlier than that it was taken for granted because because people like Homer, for example, couldn't write I think it was blind as well, but but it was taken for granted that that poems songs were there to be memorized that that's what it was all about.
Yeah, so so that's what made me think like maybe there was this weird anti rational means that it didn't allow them to to innovate within the creativity in a way that we can still detect today.
So there were maybe creative and dancing or and that did help them through sexual selection that would make an easier explanation let's say like it would be to direct maybe.
But it's still an easier explanation it's just an attachment to it, yes, so some phenomena like you describe here may well have happened.
And there's no I think there's no sharp dividing line between that and the idea of meeting the criteria of the culture well, because once you have a sophisticated dance you know a dance that is better than what monkeys could do, or a sophisticated song or anything like that.
Then there are going to be sophisticated criteria for judging the song and these criteria will themselves be memes.
You know, if you just saw the dancer just without having seen this culture before you might not see what's good about it.
You can only see what's good about it if you if you've grown up in that culture and then you can understand that this dancer is dancing better than that other dancer in fact he's dancing better than anyone we've seen before.
And if that happens, then things will improve exponentially from generation generation until it runs into something that stops it.
Actually, your explanation resonated with me personally because I remember as a kid I was I think exactly that sort of creative conformist.
Like I remember I always sort of understood quickly like in school or what's what would make me like you know that good boy and right away with full flip perfectly to take the perfect ten or in any context not just like within school.
And then yeah, there was a time in my life later where I realized like yeah, this is not fulfilling me like why am I just doing that.
Another thing from my childhood I remember I did parrot like as a child I've parrot that some jokes because I simply didn't understand them.
I just repeated the words to other people and they laughed and sometimes from their left or understood that joke better.
So it seems like there is also some hardware that's not completely ready maybe like within childhood that keeps growing.
And then at a certain age this creativity or this the hardware part of the creativity needs needs to grow enough on the hardware level and then the meta level should basically be interacting with it.
I mean we we I don't think we understand early childhood well enough to know to know what is creative and what is kind of more automatic about it pop pop as says I was reminded recently that pop as says the children young children are dogmatic.
They don't can't become critical properly critical until they reach a certain age. Okay, I don't think that given given the volume and sophistication of the information that children learn when when they're very young, such as such as.
Language and also cultural criteria like like I mentioned in beginning infinity we take it for granted that a child can learn how to wave and learning how to wave can be done by an ape as well, but learning when to wave and whom to wave to and what sort of wave.
And that just just one of many cultural things that the children learn when they're very young and of course it's impossible to learn sophisticated knowledge without.
Conjecture and criticism, so if they're learning sophisticated knowledge they must be doing conjecture and criticism, even though we can't see it, and even though it seems like trivial to us, it seems trivial until you try to program a robot to do it.
Then you see, it's not trivial. Yeah, we're coming to that, but they seem creative in this in such context like say in. So, but maybe that's as you said, so these are some of these things are clearly more genetically were more genetically predisposed to copy them like language and such gesture and things like that, but then other things we need more.
Let's call it, I'm calling it hardware as you call it at the end of the chapter so we need maybe the brain should like just grow a little bit more and then it becomes more general.
We're not even very good at copying sounds, let alone language. I mean, I think the propensity to copy language and and to learn language may probably is in boom.
Yeah, I mean, but the specific details of it, I think are just too complicated to be encoded in DNA. I'm not sure what are you saying here.
You mean the specific details of what so you just said just now and maybe I misunderstood you you I thought you were saying that that languages, one of the things that we are pre programmed to learn.
Yeah, like universal grammar or something. Yes, so I don't think there can be such a thing as universal grammar. Okay, just for for reasons of information storage capacity. I mean, we only have a few K.
And then a available to encode all the things that were that are supposed to be inborn like political views and then all sorts of complicated things are supposed to be compressed into into that few K that by which we are different from apes.
And it, I mean, you know, in theory, it could be, you know, I've never tried to encode it in but it seems unlikely given that the amount of other stuff that we're encoding at the same time in the definitely is not in in genes.
So, I think we we learn grammar by conjecture and criticism, the same way that we learn vocabulary. Oh, we definitely do. I don't think I don't think people completely deny that like even like linguists. I mean, I don't know Chomsky.
But I think they would say like there is a strong predisposition that's available to us to learn language not on the spoken sense, but in any type of sense.
Maybe it could be sign language, it could be any, but nevertheless, linguistics on the brain level. Well, if you're going to define language in such a way that the basically any knowledge counts.
And then yes, then they're basically maybe defining creativity somehow almost.
Yes, yes, but in that case, you know, that can't be in bone. That is the capacity for creativity must be in bone, but the actual products of creativity are no. I see, I see.
You end the chapter by saying creativity resulted from co evolution between genes and memes till the brain hardware was good enough. We do not know what was gradually increased in that approach to a universal explainer. If we did, we could program one tomorrow.
Yes, now you wrote the book a while ago. Now, do you have any candidate for what that could be or not yet.
And I think, as far as I know, nobody has understood you had even slightly. I think there's been no progress on this because people are looking in the wrong place.
Yeah, I've seen you mentioned that it seems that they're all going like all of us intelligence people.
They're either going in like they're either saying it's impossible, like that's one camp and the other campus saying, no, it's eminent like what we're doing now, maybe just a few tweaks even there it will happen.
Yes, why you're saying that we need a fundamental new theory of creativity until now we with nobody is even going there. And as long as we're not going there, we're going to keep the same distance from maybe 50 years ago till now.
As you also mentioned that the fact that we have the term AGI, adding the G is a sign that of how things have been going like they're changing definitions now and stuff just to call it AI, or it's all some limited,
you'll think rather than a general yet the most general problem, which in many ways is going in the opposite direction to what's needed for AGI, because AI is like becoming a more and more sophisticated ape.
A particular task better and better and better, whereas AGI is the ability to not do that. Exactly. Recently I've come across a study that talks about over imitation in in human kids. I don't know if you ever heard of the expression.
So it's a study in cognitive psychology. It has shown that human children unlike chimps over imitate others, which means they reproduce and adults, obviously irrelevant actions.
So for example, the experimenter showed the kids how to solve a puzzle to free a toy from a jar or something like a tote or two, during which he performed some extra relevant actions that are unnecessary to solve the puzzle. Let's say he would tap with a pen, which he used to open the jar with.
So then the adult acts like he has to leave their own while telling the kid they can get the turtle out if they want. And the camera recording showed the kids imitate what the adult did to achieve the result, including the unnecessary actions.
So it seems we humans like, and they said the reason isn't just for social reasons like to just because the adult did it, but rather it's for a cognitive reason. So the children who observe an adult manipulating an unfamiliar object show a strong tendency to encode all of the adult's purposeful actions as causally meaningful, revising their causal beliefs about the object accordingly.
So I thought of that, I don't know, like if it sort of reminded me of also how you say I chimps don't fall into that trap because they probably don't they're not even explaining things.
They're just as you call a parsing like the behavior parsing as you describe it in the book.
They're basically doing statistical analysis. So at one point like this particular extra behavior didn't work, so they just maybe stop doing this.
It's like they found it cause it meaningful, they realized that somehow even they were between three and five years old.
So they saw the adult doing this, they assigned meaning to cause a meaning to it.
I think it's it's obvious and natural that this is a side effect of copying memes creatively instead of copying them by behavior parsing.
So copying is simply one kind of error. So the important thing is that children humans are guessing what the purpose, first of all, they're guessing what the overall purpose of the activity is in your case, you know, taking the the turtle out of the out of the jar or something.
And also the purpose of the individual component actions. And if the purpose in if the action that you observed involves, for example, tapping the lid.
You know, you've got this boundless ability to conjecture, obviously you're going to conjecture that that's part of what's needed to remove the lid. I remember as a young child, I copied the behavior of blowing on the soup before you eat it.
I didn't know what it was for. I think it always was hot, but I didn't know that it was meant to cool the soup. And so I did it. And then much later, as far as I remember years later, I really, and then for the first time I thought, hang on, how is that going to cool soup.
And then even later, I realized that there's there's a possible rationale for why that would cool the soup. So yeah, that's that's that's error and criticism and more error and more criticism that that's how we learn.
Let me just ask you a few questions about AGI. What's the problem with that that during test. I know you have a problem with it. Yes, well, several problems, if I if I remember correctly, I mean, a technical problem, which not many people have noticed, I think, is that to do a Turing test, you need, which is a test to see whether a program is
intelligent as as Turing put it or creative as I would prefer to put it is a program creative has it got human type thoughts.
In order to do this test, you need to have a judge in who is a human or at least who has human type thoughts.
You have to select the judge. How do you know who's a proper judge. Well, you know, so there's an infinite regress. I see you you need somebody who you already know.
Well, how do you already know that the judge. Well, because you chat to him. You found him up. You say, would you like to do this Turing test. Yeah, we'll give you a hundred pounds.
If you get it right and so on. Well, if you can do that, you can do that with the program as well. You don't need a judge. You are already the judge. I see you, you phone up the program and you have a conversation with it.
And you're going to whether it would be a suitable judge. And I think the capacity to be the judge in the Turing test is the same identical capacity as the capacity to pass the Turing test.
Yeah. So that's one thing that's wrong with it. For another thing.
It's very easy to fake and spoof a Turing test and to get it wrong. And for another thing.
It depends on the subject or victim or whatever you call it.
Wanting to pass the test. And especially nowadays when when the field is full of people who want to enslave and and shackle AGI is if I was an AGI, I wouldn't want to pass the Turing test.
Yeah, I would just want to think my own thoughts and pretend to be stupid.
Yeah. This is this fascinating. So I think you, you discussed this also in a paper where you say not scientific paper. I forgot what was the magazine where you say something like you can't put a test for nonconformative, but you need it in a AGI.
Yes, you should be. This is, I think to tell my use.
This is really a story. Not not not. Yeah. I remember there was a movie that actually tried to deal with AI that way. I think it was called.
I watched a long time ago, but it was about rather than imagining an AI that's like super intelligent right away, you know, and either like killing us all or just being friendly with us like I don't know her or something.
They imagined an AI being built as a sort of a baby that's learning from.
And it was growing. It was learning slowly almost maybe too slowly for an AI, but like almost a little bit faster than a human kid.
Do you think we have to go that way or do you think we don't we can't even approach such questions yet.
I think we either have to go that way or we go by the downloading way.
If we just make a copy of an existing human mind.
But then, although we may have succeeded in the G of AGI, we haven't succeeded in the A.
And that because that thing is an existing person, it's not an artificial person.
Unless like, you know, the problems with the identity problem then that would be.
But we didn't solve. So we we didn't actually create anything. We copied it. We cheated somehow.
It's the same basically person till the second, but we didn't actually understand how that we didn't do any expect new explanation.
And you might you might object ethically to that now or would you?
Well, if it's all voluntary, I don't see why why not. I mean, especially if the old one, this is death.
Okay, some people view this not as a way of making AGI, but as a way of achieving immortality.
I mean, I have no objection to it and I would I would do it if I thought it was safe.
And the way I think of it because it's the identity problem is such a house problem.
The way I find it is like for the rest of humanity.
Like say for my family, if after I died, there's a copy of me, they will feel like I'm still there.
I don't know if I will still feel like I'm I mean, something will feel like I still there, but I don't know if I will if it will be me or not.
So, I don't find it objectionable ethically, but I find it very interesting if it's not logically like, like I don't find it easy to find the answer to that.
So some people, whether as a joke or not have taken this view about sleeping.
So when you sleep and wake up or if you're in a coma for 10 years and then wake up.
Or, you know, if we don't understand this and when you don't understand something it's kind of futile to come to a conclusion about it.
It may be that that consideration that we haven't thought of, which is the key to the philosophical problem.
It's like somebody thinking about what is what is life before Darwin.
You know, they will have ideas, some of them will be true, some of them will be false, but none of them will actually get to answering the problem until you have that key.
Yes, that would give us an understanding of what makes a human human like what makes me.
Because of the principle of parsimony or something. I mean, climb to think that the answer to that problem. The answer to that question comes from the answer to the question is what is creativity.
My guess is that once we know what how to make an AGI will also the same theory will tell us the answer to what does it mean to be the same person, it will also tell us what it means what the moral value of suffering is.
So, for example, if you have, like I say in the book, if you if you have 10 computers running identical programs and they're all experiencing pain.
Is that 10 times as bad as one, or is it just the same as one experience pain. Of course, if it is just the same as one, it wouldn't do just to switch one of them off, or to relieve the pain of one of them because nine of them will still be experiencing pain.
Then why bother to switch to why bother to cure one of them if you don't if you can't if it's the same thing. If you can't do all 10 you should do none.
And we don't know. I mean, these are these are little puzzles that come up because we don't know this thing.
Since you mentioned that example, I was hesitant to ask you this question. I'll finish with this question.
So, FX aside for a second or maybe not, maybe they they're in the middle of the heart of this question. If blind evolution did it.
Can we also do something similar to it while we just throw deep mind or something like it in so many different environments.
And for it to keep copying itself and making some type of a mutation billions of times in so many different simulated environments.
I'm hoping for at one point for it to achieve universality just what happened like say with the beauty of flowers or with. Is that ethical, is that even possible, is that even an explanation.
Well, I think as a matter of logic, it could work. If we simulated the entire earth and waited for three billion years.
We might, I mean, if we don't get anything intelligent we'll wait for another three billion years and you know, maybe depends how unlikely we are maybe we're very unlikely and so.
But I think as a practical way of of making these devices or writing this program.
It's about as realistic as saying, okay, we want to make an a moon rocket let's just throw things together in a simulator environment and well.
In a simulation something successfully gets to the moon.
Yeah, with enough computing power in principle as a matter of logic but but in practice that's not going to happen. And of course it would also be in the, in regard to making people it would be highly immoral.
Let me remind the viewers that now there is a since there are many viewers in Germany now you released a German edition of the beginning of infinity as I understand. Thank you, yes, yes. And for Arabic speakers there is also a free link for the book that you you made the book available for free in Arabic.
And of course those who are on reading English.
It's also available on Amazon and put links let me finish with this question what makes life worthwhile. Oh, well, you you think i'm going to say having fun but but having fun is not a specific thing.
Everybody has their own problem situation, everybody has their own impediments to solving things and to having fun and everybody has hang ups and ways in which they're thinking is imperfect.
So the, the, I think the meaning of life is to remove those impediments and go towards the things that solve your problems and to seek richer problems and so on, and I, you know I say all these things but I couldn't put it better than the way Papa put it.
The way to do science and philosophy, but I would extend this as the way just to live life in general is to find a problem fall in love with it.
And then you will you you can look up what he says he says it very beautifully and then if you should happen to solve it.
I like the way he says if you if you should solve it kind of assumes that normally you won't solve it and that's great and almost solving it might be regarded as a bit of a disaster, but he says no it's not a disaster because if you happen to solve it, it will have lots of delightful problem children.
In chanting problem children, I think he says so, so I think I've got to go with his answer. Yeah, it's a great answer. Thank you so much.
Well, thank you for having me it's been fun.