Bryan Johnson: Why Humans are No Longer Qualified to Manage Our Own Affairs | E1130

Bryan Johnson: Why Humans are No Longer Qualified to Manage Our Own Affairs | E1130

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Bryan Johnson proposes that humans are no longer qualified to manage their own affairs.
  • He created an algorithm that takes better care of him than he can himself.
  • Johnson believes that we have the computational tools to engineer the source code for life and that our native intelligence and abilities have been exceeded.
  • His goal is to be respected by the 25th-century version of himself.

Importance of Processing New Ideas (00:00:45)

  • Johnson emphasizes the importance of processing new ideas and challenging the status quo.
  • He has a rule for himself to set up an alert in his brain whenever he encounters a new idea.
  • The rule is to not say or think anything to form conclusions immediately, as knee-jerk reactions can crush the space for a new idea to breathe.
  • Johnson notes that it takes a lot of work to develop this habit because the impulse to crush new ideas is strong.

Exploring Different Versions of Self (00:03:12)

  • The speaker discusses the concept of having different versions of oneself, each with its own mindset and persona.
  • They use the example of a soldier who is willing to sacrifice their life for their country, but may question the value of their sacrifice if the concept of nation-states becomes less important.
  • The speaker shares their personal experience of questioning the religion they were born into, which challenged their entire existence and required them to reconsider every aspect of their reality.

Impact of Leaving Religion (00:05:38)

  • Leaving religion involves significant changes and challenges, such as redefining one's identity, social circles, and living conditions.
  • The speaker acknowledges that change can be unpleasant and difficult, but suggests that it is an inevitable part of life and growth.
  • They emphasize that change does not necessarily have to be minimized or avoided, but rather accepted as part of the journey.

Challenge of Change & Meaning of Life (00:07:07)

  • The speaker reflects on leaving religion as the most painful change they have gone through.
  • They discuss the challenge of letting go of the desire to be liked and respected within a religious community, and the need to redefine their sense of self and purpose.
  • The speaker suggests that while being liked can be important in certain situations, it is not always necessary and should not define one's self-worth.

Desire to Be Liked (00:07:57)

  • Bryan Johnson discusses the desire to be liked and how it can hinder progress and conformity.
  • He argues that caring about being liked by future generations (the 25th century) rather than contemporaries is more liberating and allows for the exploration of new ideas.
  • Johnson emphasizes the importance of being willing to forgo current social approval in favor of long-term impact.
  • Johnson describes his approach to evaluating new ideas.
  • He focuses on identifying the unseen aspects and unknown unknowns of an idea rather than simply accepting or rejecting it.
  • The goal is to thoroughly understand an idea and its potential implications before deciding whether to pursue it.

Process of Acting on Ideas (00:10:25)

  • New ideas may be just the tip of the iceberg and lead to much more expansive possibilities.
  • The most challenging part of finding new primitives to work with is the unknown unknowns, which could lead to inactivity.
  • Pressure testing new ideas with questions like "what must remain true for this to be true?" and "what would change which would make this untrue?" helps to move through time and space and test their validity.
  • Reframing problems from a future perspective, such as the 25th century, can help to clarify what to do in the present moment.
  • Given that computational intelligence will likely improve substantially faster than we can imagine, it is important to consider what we should do now to prepare for that future.
  • To retain intellectual purity and objectivity, it is necessary to be skeptical of all things and to be aware of our own biases.
  • This can be achieved by learning about behavioral psychology and biases and by being open to new information and perspectives.

Retaining Intellectual Purity & Overcoming Biases (00:14:59)

  • Bryan Johnson emphasizes the unreliability of authorities and the need for skepticism in seeking truth, suggesting that we can have high certainty about immediate things and reasonable certainty about long-term things, but there is uncertainty in between.
  • Johnson proposes that we should focus on navigating thought processes to achieve clarity when making decisions about the future of the species, arguing that "don't die" is the only endurable truth, as it challenges all beliefs, assumptions, and values in the face of potential immortality.
  • He believes that the meaning of life is not about existence itself, but about continued existence and the ability of intelligence to prioritize its own preservation, highlighting the critical moment in human history where intelligence has reached a point where it can prioritize its own continued existence.
  • Johnson questions whether human intelligence has the capability to maintain and eliminate disruptions to its own existence, given its biological nature, despite having the technology to engineer atoms, molecules, and organisms, including the source code for life, and the computational tools that surpass our native intelligence and abilities.
  • However, we still lack the knowledge and expertise to ensure our continued existence, as climate change and the threats posed by global actors with nuclear weapons challenge our ability to manage our affairs effectively.
  • Bryan Johnson believes that humans, including himself, are no longer qualified to manage their own well-being due to self-destructive behaviors and inferior intelligence.

Core Threats to Human Existence (00:22:28)

  • Humans are self-destructive and are causing harm to the planet and each other.
  • Humans are using pretty stories to justify their actions, such as competing for dominance, ideology, nation-state, capital improvements, progress for humanity, etc.
  • Humans are now developing computational intelligence that has the potential to bridge humans to a new form of intelligence that is not self-destructive.
  • Humans should align AI with the goal of "don't die" to avoid self-destruction and preserve conscious existence.
  • The speaker, Bryan Johnson, believes humans are no longer capable of managing their own affairs.
  • Johnson uses himself as a test case and follows an algorithm that takes better care of him than he can himself.
  • The algorithm determines what Johnson eats, when he eats, and when he goes to bed.
  • Johnson acknowledges that the algorithm is based on imperfect data and scientific literature changes over time.
  • However, Johnson believes the algorithm is better than what he was doing before and it is based on the best science available.

Managing Discipline (00:25:59)

  • Bryan Johnson's algorithm steers him away from self-destructive behaviors and has made him the most measured person in history.
  • Johnson questions how to overcome feelings of tiredness and disinterest when the algorithm suggests challenging tasks.
  • Johnson believes humans are transitioning from being stewards of knowledge to not knowing anything compared to AI's superior knowledge and discovery capabilities.
  • The core element of permission is questioned as humans willingly submit to algorithms, raising concerns about potential dystopian scenarios.

Overcoming Feelings & Surrendering to Algorithms (00:28:16)

  • Johnson acknowledges that many people may find his ideas unsettling and threatening to their existence.
  • Despite the risks and negative externalities, Johnson fears death and wants to ensure the continued existence of humanity into the future.
  • Johnson argues that the only thing that matters in the larger context of Earth's existence is humanity's survival and continued progress towards superintelligence.

Fear of Death & Fragility of Life (00:31:10)

  • People tend to focus on the present moment and immediate concerns, neglecting the larger context and future possibilities.
  • Humans are like Homo erectus in that they know about immediate needs but are blind to the future.
  • It is important to have humility and acknowledge our limited knowledge and understanding.
  • The fear of death and the fragility of life can lead people to shut down new ideas and opinions.
  • Bryan Johnson believes that he is the best version of himself now, with improved clarity of thought, emotional stability, and overall well-being.
  • He does not impose his beliefs on his children but teaches through example and offers his perspective.
  • Johnson acknowledges that it can be difficult when his children choose a different path, but he is happy that they have the opportunity to experience conscious existence.
  • He engages in role-playing with his son, acting as his future self to help him consider future values and decisions.

Impact on Parenting & Personal Growth (00:34:34)

  • The present moment always has the authority to do whatever it wants, regardless of past or future decisions.
  • This challenges the idea of personal growth and the consequences of past decisions.
  • Religion has been the most powerful and durable technology in history, outlasting nation-states and technological trends.
  • It is uncertain whether religion will outlast AI.
  • Experts have different opinions on the time scales associated with AI implementation, progression, and adoption.
  • It is difficult to discern who is correct and who is incorrect, making it challenging to determine the next steps in the present moment.
  • Playing on these time scales can help individuals create coherence of thought and overcome the noise of the moment to find signal.

Uncertainty of AI (00:39:17)

  • Bryan Johnson believes that the biggest enemy to clear thinking is poor sleep, a bad diet, and no exercise.
  • When sleep-deprived, people normalize to a blurred state of reality and forget what clarity feels like.
  • Johnson engineers his life around sleep to achieve clarity of thought, which he believes is essential for being respected in the future.

Importance of Sleep & Self-Care (00:41:27)

  • Bryan Johnson believes that it is never too late to start taking care of one's health and well-being.
  • He emphasizes the importance of sleep and self-care in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
  • Johnson's father, who is 71 years old and has lived an unhealthy lifestyle, is an inspiration to him due to his determination to stay alive and embrace life.
  • Johnson highlights the contrast between the perspective of a healthy young person who may not fully appreciate their health and someone who is experiencing the effects of aging and ill health.
  • He raises concerns about the societal implications of people living longer, such as the strain on pension systems, overpopulation, and inequality of age distribution.
  • Johnson argues that "Don't Die" is the most played game in existence, surpassing capitalism and religion.
  • Once the basic concept of "Don't Die" is established, society fractures into various paths and pursuits, all based on the underlying desire to avoid death.
  • Johnson compares the current state of understanding "Don't Die" to the early stages of democracy, where many questions and challenges need to be addressed.

Reshaping Society to Do Not Die as an Existence (00:44:55)

  • The current games we play, such as war and wealth acquisition, increase the odds of self-annihilation.
  • The future lies in a computational mesh of goal alignment among all intelligence, where systems run autonomously to keep individuals and the planet healthy.
  • This future is inevitable, as exemplified by algorithms like OIC that change hunger profiles.

Challenge of Goal Alignment in a Changing World (00:47:27)

  • The most expensive test run on the body was MRI, costing around $1,000 to $2,000 per test.
  • Sex is better after undergoing therapies and achieving a nighttime erection duration of just under 3 hours, which is better than the average 18-year-old.
  • Openness to new ideas and willingness to try anything the algorithm suggests.
  • Unfazed by criticism and enjoys it.
  • Celebrates holidays, such as a recent trip to Singapore with his son.

Quick-Fire Round (00:50:06)

  • Reframe your identity as a professional sleeper and respect your bedtime as you would a meeting.
  • Be wary of seemingly healthy habits that are actually debauchery, such as late-night drinking and eating with friends.
  • Bryan Johnson finds inspiration from a variety of historical figures across different fields, engaging in mental dialogues with them.
  • Blueprints, Bryan Johnson's company, envisions a future where automation by algorithms enhances human life, leading to a state where current human activities become obsolete.

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