Social Evolution

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Alexander Panov et al. :

“ Any society consists of separate individuals – social evolution is conservatively based on the previous purely biological evolution (Stewart-Williams 2018). At a certain stage of social evolution, consciousness arises, and then the mind in the human sense. Humanity, being the carrier of the mind, includes many individual biological specimens, conservatively based on all previous biological evolution. Every single person, being a carrier of the spirit, no matter how you understand it, remains at the same time an animal. It may seem that the first arm is in some sense more trivial compared to the second. But it is not so! It is easy to imagine a Universe where the evolution of matter ends very early. For example, atoms cannot arise (for this it is enough to disturb the delicate mass balance of proton, neutron and electron), galaxies cannot arise (insufficient amount of dark matter), etc. Even for the realization of the first arm of evolution, an extremely delicate balance of fundamental constants is required (Rozental 1980). For example, the transition connecting the first and second arms of evolution has a curious feature: heavy elements are formed during stellar evolution due to the existence of an excited state of carbon nuclei with an energy almost matching that of the colliding 4He and 8Be nuclei.

It is difficult to get rid of the impression that the two in some way completely ‘natural’, although essentially different strongly conservative arms of evolution are ‘stuck together’ with each other in some completely ‘unnatural’ way with the help of a very whimsically arranged weak conservative link. This causes an association with something like a key and a keyhole.

There is a reason to assume that we are here and now at the end point of the second arm of the evolution. Evolution enters a blow-up regime and cannot continue with the same rate of growth of speed – the end of the second evolutionary arm is the final singular point at which the speed of evolution should formally turn into infinity that is why the point of singularity is unattainable. Hence, the mode of the evolution must inevitably change when approaching it. We are no more than a few decades away from the point of singularity, or, in slightly different terms, we have already entered a more or less prolonged ‘zone of singularity’. The question is: what is behind this point of singularity? Are we at the beginning of the third arm of evolution, and what can it be, if so? Perhaps, it will be a new evolution arm with a slowdown again? And should not we expect the same ‘artificial’ character of a link of the second arm with the third, as well as the first one with the second? Will this link be strongly conservative, or weakly conservative? Is it possible to see the signs of an answer to these questions in the present time? Is it not our ‘duty’ to organize such a link?

It is rather curious that the question of the nature of the link of the second arm with the third one is easily connected with the problem of artificial intelligence (AI). More precisely, the question can be associated with the ability to create strong AI (Kurzweil 2012). By strong (or general) AI is meant AI that surpasses all human intelligence in all aspects. Obviously, such AI should be capable of self-development (this follows simply from the fact that people, after all, were able to create strong AI, therefore, it should have such abilities by definition). Being capable of self-development, strong AI will not need further contact with its parent, humanity, and, in principle, can proceed to an independent evolution in full isolation from the human mind that created it. This may mean weak conservative link of a new, cybernetic, evolutionary line with the previous, biological one. On the contrary, if the creation of strong AI is impossible, then AI will have to exist in symbiosis with the human mind that gave rise to it; mind and AI can form a single super-system of a new evolutionary level (which actually already seems to be happening), and the transition to the third arm of evolution will then be strongly conservative – the super-system is based on both biological and artificial intelligence as on subsystems. The same will happen if strong AI is possible, and is created once, but for some reason it does not want to separate itself from humanity. What awaits us? It is not yet completely clear whether the above questions are even correctly formulated, but, essentially, the idea of the two arms of megaevolution, the nature of the links between the arms, at least inevitably leads to the need for their formulation.”


More information

* Book: Trajectories of Social Evolution. Ed. by Panov, Alexander; LePoire, David ; Korotayev, Andrey et al. Evolution Almanac, Vol. 8,