How might A.I. enable us to develop “inter-dependable” relationships with each other and A.I. itself?

“It does seem to me that the story, not only of humanity, but of all of nature, of all of life, is one of mutual care and mutual interdependence to a far greater degree than we appreciate…”

– Blaise Agüera y Arcas, fellow at Google Research

He expands on this philosophy as follows:

“And what powers that upward spiral is mutual care and mutual modeling, whether that’s literally the cells in our body caring about each other enough to aggregate together into an organism that is greater than the sum of its parts, to societies, where you get to make this awesome podcast and I get to be on it because of all the people who have made the technologies that we’re using to communicate right now and to distribute all of this. It’s not a question of us becoming obsolete. It’s a question of all of these mutual interactions making something that is cooler and cooler as time passes.”

How might A.I. be utilized to augment an economy that values mutual care and mutual interdependence:

“We could begin with things like ways that A.I. can augment people, with either language barriers, disabilities. If you imagine for a second being blind and having glasses that can read all the text that you’re seeing, that would be a narrow A.I. system that would make you more whole relative to the capabilities of a lot of other people around you by giving you a sense of sight that is more direct than the one that you can have just by braille or with some other system. Now, the more you grow together with such a system, the harder it starts to be to separate the technology from the person. And that’s a new element, that we start to have technology that operates on the same plane that beings with brains like us do, in which we are being modeled and there’s kind of theory of mind — which is to say, not only modeling others, but modeling others’ models of you, person A modeling thing B modeling person C modeling thing D, and so on, in these kind of Hall of Mirrors loops. And there’s this hypothesis; Robin Dunbar, the social psychologist, has talked a lot about this idea that social intelligence, beings modeling each other, is actually the root of intelligence explosions, of like why it is that our brains are so much bigger than other kinds of primates. And I believe in that.”

Since English didn’t seem to have a single term to encapsulate the concept of “mutual care and mutual interdependence” I came up with one about two decades ago: “inter-dependability.”

Inter-dependability – A mindset through which we intentionally convert our inter-dependence (which is a given) into a renewable and thus virtually limitless source of that which we need to survive and thrive.

As we mature, we move from dependence toward limited forms of independence. Eventually, as we acknowledge that our independence is limited and we face the fact that inter-dependence is a fundamental reality, we start to create “inter-dependable” relationships that enable us to make the most of that reality.

We cope with dependence by seeking independence.

As we become aware of limits on our independence, we start to recognize our inter-dependence.

To make the most of our inter-dependence, we develop inter-dependable relationships.

Then just maybe…

As we recognize the value of our inter-dependable relationships, we develop organizations and social structures that support a broadening and deepening of our webs of inter-dependability.

As these webs become increasingly complex, some forms of A.I. might help us create, curate and integrate these webs of inter-dependable relationships for maximum mutual benefit…

Dr. Leon Tsvasman suggests a number of ideas that feel consistent with the concept of inter-dependability. Below are links to a couple of essays in which he lays out a vision for an emerging economy and society in which our natural instincts to grow and create something in the world can be leveraged to the benefit of all with the support of A.I., if we choose to design for that purpose:

© Dana Cogan, 2024, all rights reserved.

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