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If it doesn't matter to you whether something is AI, then do you matter? I won't bother clarifying every inference (there's a few) that is being made there, if only because the conclusion is very straight-forward: do these people have meaningless lives?

ETA obviously I don't mean that anyone who doesn't care about my AI therapist, my AI friends, and my AI replacement, are living meaningless lives. OBVIOUSLY I mean to suggest, humbly, that adding to the AI in the world, especially in secret, is like pissing in the pool of meaning.

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    I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.
    – Scott Rowe
    Aug 13, 2023 at 2:44
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    This question is v profound but too too cryptic for this site. [It sounds like something more Zen-ish than can work here] And @ScottRowe may be asking a real ie not rhetorical question. It's a funny thing but even ppl like Scott who've expressed concern about AI, are unable to fully grok the long term consequences of humanity making a determined push to overtake bypass and ultimately eliminate humanity. Even among AI folks guys like Yudkowski are rare and the general public implicitly think status quo = eternal quo
    – Rushi
    Aug 13, 2023 at 3:39
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    It's funny how (apparently) deep philosophical ideas pop up in everyday conversation. Perhaps I'm mistaken, me usually is.
    – Hudjefa
    Aug 13, 2023 at 7:47
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    why is it always me that gets targeted for this bullshit, never yourselves or the self interested slime you are all drowning in? i am leaving and not coming back haha @AgentSmith
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 8:07
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    @AgentSmith and sorry if i come off as bitter at all. my complaints are worse than me, i like to think
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 9:33

4 Answers 4

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Your question presents so much scope for criticism that anyone might struggle to decide which aspect to address first. Charitably, I will focus on just one of its many shortcomings, since it is a Sunday and I want you to have a lovely weekend.

You assume that it is possible to say, on the basis of one factor alone, and a poorly-defined, trivial factor at that, whether anyone has a meaningful life. There are, I suppose, billions of people in the world who couldn't care less about whether a particular 'something' is AI, because they are too poor ever to have encountered the concept, or they are struggling for survival, and so on. I can just imagine the conversation among a group of people trying to dig a baby out of an earthquake-damaged building, as you, with your meaning-laden preoccupation with such matters, fret over whether the after-shock predictions that are fuelling their panic are from an AI bot or not. Are those who are too busy to listen to your speculations living meaningless lives?

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  • oh sweet jesus, calm down with the polemic please. why do you think it's trivial whether or not i am ai? because some people are suffering extremely? of what relevance is that except the hypocrisy you display?
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 7:57
  • Ha! Touché. Perhaps I should have focussed on one of the many other shortcomings of your question. Anyway, how about reciprocating some of the lovely weekend bonhomie! Aug 13, 2023 at 8:41
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    The relevance is that there is no universal standard for what constitutes a 'meaningful life'. Why gives you the illusion that your life has meaning might seem utter vacuous to another. Who is to judge what constitutes a meaningful life? Aug 13, 2023 at 8:44
  • while we do construct meaning to our life, there is absolutely no consensus i know of that "anything goes" any more than in ethics
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 11:43
  • Why would you expect consensus? Anyway, the point is that your question supposes that whether a person has a meaningful life can be determined by a single factor, namely whether the person is concerned about the possibility that 'something' might be AI. Aug 13, 2023 at 12:57
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It seems your strong reaction may stem from grappling with a crisis of meaning or purpose in your own life. The intensity of your judgments about others could signal unconscious projections of your inner turmoil.

When we lack meaning ourselves, we often project that void onto those around us. Their indifference seems to reflect or validate our inner nihilism. But this is a distortion - do not presume your inner despair is universal.

Meaning lost can be meaning found through new pursuits and values. Rather than condemn those unaffected by what troubles you, ask what purpose calls you. What potential still lies untapped within?

Face the pain of existence courageously, without blinding yourself to beauty outside your narrow struggles. Be the creator of your own significance, rather than resenting those who found theirs apart from you.

This is no easy task, and there may be a long road ahead. But with truth and perseverance, you can discover your unique path to a meaningful life. Do not project your bitterness onto others - instead build the foundations your purpose can stand upon.

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It's humans who ascribe meaning to things, it doesn't get any deeper than that. Asking what matters and if life is meaningless is all up to humans themselves. AI is just math, which is often just the average of what it was trained on, no deeper than that.

We are a part of existence that has become self aware. How long we can last in this existence, and how much we can discover about it, may be meaning enough for many people. At least, it's a challenge, and why back down from that?

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  • now i know why google fell in love with you...
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 3:15
  • AI is just math, which is often just the average of what it was trained on, no deeper than that. How is that different from human brain?
    – Roger V.
    Aug 13, 2023 at 7:18
  • Everything is an approximation of math. AI will just ascribe meaning like what the average of humans on the internet would say.
    – user67256
    Aug 13, 2023 at 7:26
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 13, 2023 at 19:36
  • I think people aren't understanding the question. I think it's fairly clear. It's saying if AI works like we do, and we don't matter to it, do we matter? I address the concerns.
    – user67256
    Aug 13, 2023 at 19:51
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That's actually quite a fun way of expressing (to yourself) anti realism without falling into nihilism. The meaning of life - assuming it exists at all - seems to be something that I possess merely because I think I do, but I can be wrong about what is meaningful (she didn't love me after-all, they were all lying to me, etc.).

Anyway, if there are any universals to human "meaning", especially outside the sophisticated proofs of e.g. 'alienation' and so on, then we might well be wrong to think that AI can fully take the place of our friends, lovers, etc..

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    It is unfortunate that people look for meaning outside their own experience. However, participating with others adds to one's own experience.
    – Scott Rowe
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:02
  • yes, many things are unfortunate @ScottRowe
    – user67155
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:04

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