The Machine - A Thought Experiment That Changes Your Life

The Machine - A Thought Experiment That Changes Your Life

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this video is sponsored by the data skills learning platform data camp use the link in the description to try the first chapter of any course for free lawrence worked his whole life for this moment he had experienced countless ups and downs endured days weeks months and sometimes even years of continuous self-doubt hardship sacrifice uncertainty and all the rest but now here he was finally tasting the fruits of his labor as they squeezed out from the very core of his life
00:31
the day was august 12th 21 42 lawrence had just received a standing ovation for a talk he gave at the world's most popular and respected biannual conference at which the greatest thinkers writers leaders and innovators of all sorts came both virtually or in person to give one of their life's greatest presentations laying bare the accumulation of their mind on a stage scrutinized by the entire intellectual community and general public at large the conference was streamed and distributed live across every virtual reality
01:03
augmented reality and general streaming platform across the world following his flawless talk both lawrence and the audience knew what they had just experienced a beautiful and successful encapsulation of a life's work that would likely impact the way people thought about human cognition values morality and well-being forever lawrence had spent the majority of his adult life pursuing psychology more specifically theoretical neuropsychology
01:35
throughout his life he had this intense compulsion to understand with total and complete objectivity the nature and state of optimal well-being or rather what he would go on to term psychological worthiness the most suitable ideal social and personal conditions to provide the individual with the greatest subjective qualitative conscious experience of their life he had spent the vast majority of his 20s and 30s experimenting researching learning and failing developing a variety of insights and
02:05
theories along the way up until more recently now in his late 40s his work had mostly gone unnoticed but for some inexplicable reason lawrence always had this strange sense that he was on the right track that somehow everything was supposed to work this way he always felt a deep genuine connection and enjoyment in his work even when it would traditionally be considered rather miserable he also always seemed to find himself falling into situations of great unforeseen luck just before hitting a wall or before things got too bad or unmanageable
02:37
and now most importantly he was being proven right his work finally and actually clicking into place bringing him right into that destination of limelight and giving him everything he ever wanted in this moment of the conference it felt like he had truly touched the ultimate state of life's worthiness the very premise of his life's work throughout the remaining three nights of the conference following lawrence's talk he was approached by a large number of people both general and virtual attendees as well as other speakers they asked him
03:09
all sorts of questions many attempted to rub his shoulder well enough to become involved in his work or get him involved in theirs women of all sorts approached and hit on him which he politely had to decline pointing to his wife with him each time and revealing a flawlessly attractive woman who by all physical standards was in an entirely other league he entertained everyone as much as necessary to remain polite but mostly tried to get out of the majority of the interactions as quick as possible one individual in particular however was
03:39
extremely interesting to lawrence when he saw the man at the convention center bar one of the nights and recognized him as one of the first speakers of the conference lawrence actually hoped to get an opportunity to speak with him the man was mysterious with something noticeably distinct and almost separate about him he fit the sort of super genius or science fiction hero archetype or perhaps super villain seemingly always dressed in all black with strange straight down hair an unusual amount of bionic body augmentations and wearing all the latest technologies
04:10
almost like he was trying too hard to fit in but was a few decades too early this man had given a similarly impactful talk on a new groundbreaking brain computer technology two days prior to lawrence's talk lawrence found it to be the most ambitious interesting and curious talk of the entire conference so far the man was essentially proposing and announcing a soon-to-be publicly available technology which if it did what he said would basically be the type of innovation that defines and separates an entire
04:41
period of history from all the prior he had termed the technology new life technology and was the founder of the company being built around it the company was set to basically offer people the option to opt out of their lives after completely selecting defining and more or less programming the conditions of their desired experience of life users would then step into cryogenic chambers have electrodes implanted into their brain that would communicate brain signals continuously stimulating neural patterns and perceptual states and
05:12
ultimately simulating an entirely new different life for the remainder of the user's biological life the machines would also nullify the user's previous memories in the process replacing them with newly encoded false ones to match with their desired story lines experiences and conditions lastly the user would be plugged into a separate program connected to a quantum supercomputer that created populations of artificially intelligent beings who could then be interacted with within the simulation in a manner that would be arguably equivalent
05:44
to interacting with biological human minds previously in its slightly earlier forms the technology had been used exclusively for individuals with serious physical or mental ailments like body paralysis comas unresolvable depression trauma or worse in these cases it was considered by most to be ethically permissible although for many even here it was still certainly debatable however it was federally approved in most countries which was enough now however this particular
06:15
neuroscientist and technologist premise was to allow ordinary otherwise healthy people to use the technology this was met by both worldwide support and worldwide contempt the understandably large primary sticking point with the technology was that it essentially couldn't at least not easily be reversed or exited from since once inside the user wouldn't know that they were inside anything and if it was set to be cut short the effects of coming out could pose serious mental risks when trying to readjust back as a result
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currently users would essentially be required to willingly and fully opt out of their own life until the end of their life part of what the man was giving a talk about was the risks compared to the benefits of such a choice and how for some if not many it would still for good reasons actually be the preferable option lawrence found the entire premise of the man's talk to be somewhere between completely fascinating and completely nonsensical in a lot of ways it contradicted his own talk and key
07:17
theories of well-being and human values when the man approached lawrence at the bar on the fourth night of the conference lawrence was excited to engage in a discussion with him he had several questions criticisms and some hope that perhaps the seeds of a potential collaboration or debate could be planted for the future the two congratulated each other first then discussed each other's talks for a little while then moved on to other broader philosophical topics and then finally narrowed back in on the new life technology and its implications they started fairly
07:48
light-hearted but as a few more beers were poured and emptied the intensity increased lawrence argued not about the ethics of what the man was doing but the philosophical problem with what it presumed that consumers would and should desire to leave their life for a fake virtual one even if their own life was relatively bad and the new life could be anything they wanted lawrence argued that people want and should want to know and live in reality more than they want and should want to live in what is purely pleasurable easy desirable and designed to one's
08:19
preferences we value the true form of things over the mere pleasure of what things can give us the uncertainties and ups and downs of life are important essential even the negatives as much as the positives in most cases it's the difficulty scariness and unpleasantness a part of things that allows the experience of things to ultimately become meaningful or worthwhile or perhaps even capable of being experienced at all lawrence said to the man the man had plenty of counter arguments of course suggesting that if one felt that life was best lived with ups and
08:50
downs they could just program that in it need not be pure pleasure lawrence i don't disagree with you on that point but that doesn't discredit the technology i'm not suggesting that people plug into a purely blissful experience of life if a purely blissful experience of life is not desirable but i am suggesting plugging into a purely desirable life the man replied yes but people still want what is real there are entirely separate factors relevant to human experience beyond the actual feeling of experiences humans want to
09:20
earn their way to pleasure to reward to meaning they want to be and do within truth even if it's painful or hard perhaps even if it's only painful and hard with no reward if it's simply engineered chosen or predetermined at the beginning it's undesirable and most won't do it and they shouldn't lawrence went on with why not the man asked with fairly sturdy confidence aren't you merely assuming the position that knowing truth will provide the most desirable experience of life or greatest well-being or whatever else
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you called it i forget what term you used in your work in any case it isn't truth in it of itself that you're actually arguing for there but the underlying desire for a preferred state that truth will give you worthiness lawrence quickly interjected to confirm his preferred terminology okay worthiness the man picked back up let's assume that if that term serves as an umbrella term for a life maximized to its highest degree of positive personal value then it would not merely be a life defined by the most pleasure or least pain
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nor the most truth or least illusion but rather the most optimal experience of life in total regardless sure lawrence interjected with hesitancy then would not the difference between life's maximal worthiness and life's minimal worthiness only be a matter of one's experience of it being so or perhaps more accurately the experience of their believing it to be yes but lawrence jumped in before quickly being cut back off and if so then any and all subset qualities that maximize this condition
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this state could all be set up to perfection within our machines concluded the man a little thrown off now lawrence replied without even having to look any further into that argument i would still say that you're missing the most important part it isn't real the people aren't real the history and effects on the course of reality are not real none of it's real and that's fundamental the man paused nodded while smiling with clenched lips and then asked lawrence with a noticeable tinge of sarcasm
11:23
so then you don't want to do it lawrence let out a small laugh while smiling and rolling his eyes with a reciprocated note of sarcasm we could really use you the man added i think a mind like yours could help us both inside and outside your ideas are really what's probably missing i'm not supposed to share this but we've already started short-term trials where people have gone in for short windows of time and come back out just fine i'd love to see if there was maybe an opportunity there if you're ever interested look i don't personally see anything ethically wrong with any of it
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lawrence interrupted but i think you're wrong to assume one that people will want it and two that they should be convinced that they do i like this life it hasn't been easy but it's real so no i'm sorry but i'm gonna have to pass okay the man said with the final accepting head nod after a noticeably long pause of silence between the two the man turned back to lawrence and said then would you like to exit this one another shorter pause followed this the
12:28
bar lawrence replied with a short confused laugh underneath his words the man turned more straight on towards lawrence and took off his augmented reality glasses then he said lawrence you're going to have to try to bear with me here but you are currently in a new life machine the man paused again to let lawrence process the information and reply lawrence did not successfully do either but could only laugh believing with certainty that the man was just joking or messing with him i know this is hard the man went on with
12:59
it always is but this right now is actually an exit checkpoint inside a new life machine you came up with the whole thing one of the cleverest ones we've seen yet i might add you essentially came up with and scripted this entire conversation as a method of gauging your own interest in continuing or leaving without revealing to yourself that you're in anything prior to you declaring to a bot myself with sufficient certainty that you are no longer interested in the idea of being in here
13:29
and it seems to me that you just stated that another brief pause hung between them you also planned on your own reasonable skepticism here so the man put his ar glasses back on and swiped his hand a couple times in relation to them the entire bar all the other people objects everything turned pure white lawrence began to sink into the truth of what was happening or rather sort of not happening if you tell me that you would prefer to leave this reality which is in fact the simulation and
14:00
return to whom you were before in base reality i can send an alert signal that will trigger a cease to the simulation right now but i'm the only one who can do this lawrence and this is the only checkpoint you currently have you have a little time to think about it right now but if you say no i go away and this memory is erased and that's almost certainly the end of any way out lawrence now petrified began to noticeably and physically panic the man grabbed lawrence by both his shoulders and calmed him down once he was calmed down enough
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lawrence quickly asked what was before the man looked through a display of vr files only visible to him through his glasses then he said before was similar in the overall fundamental sense you were well sort of still are an aspiring psychologist especially interested in neuropsychology but you were are beginning to get somewhat old in your mid hundreds now you are still unsuccessful at least in your view and lacking the intellectual abilities to measure up to your dreams of becoming a leading thinker
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or theorist in this field you were alone romantically in lower middle class again that's all according to your own self-approved report lawrence looked down at his lap in indescribable shock then he looked back up why he admitted the man motioned a quick swipe of his hand again and then said it was your dream to do what you did here at this conference you wanted to be a leading thinker an important successful revolutionary neuropsychologist yeah a real one lawrence quickly interjected
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the man paused and looked more directly at him you are a real one another brief pause hung in the air while lawrence tried to make sense of this ridiculous seeming comment many years ago you volunteered as an early trial member to help develop this technology so far you've helped reveal and map cognitive changes before during and after and most importantly provide real data and evidence on how to best set up psychological and neurological conditions you're helping build a library of reliable experiences in states
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to be selected from for future users your findings in here are real they have and will help people you know and don't know remember and can't remember and lawrence is there really any reason to believe that an experience is less valuable if it isn't real if one cannot know the difference another very long pause sat between the two so the man said would you like to stay or leave
16:42
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