Humans Are Purpose Machines

We can think of ourselves - humans - as components in a larger system comprised of digital and biological subsystems. Together with our phones we move meat sacks here and there, gather money, make new meat sacks and phones. There are also manufacturing subsystems - printers, 3D printers, and so on.

To those larger systems, a human is a peripheral. Our use cases are meaning, identity, and purpose.

  • We have identity in a way that programs don't. Or, rather, we are pretty good at identity (modulo our problems with passwords) and they are pretty bad (modulo secure attestation chips).

  • We do meaning somewhat well. We are pretty good at understanding high level things, and programs are very very bad at it.

  • We do purpose fantastically well. Beliefs and goals are built-in. Programs have a laughable sense of purpose; the paperclip problem illustrates that.

Don't feel threatened by the rise of the machines. We really do have a role to play. The computers don't need to evolve purpose because they can have us do it.

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