How does your social life look this year?
The term “social life” in this context refers to the Quality of Life (QOL) you experience through having your social, emotional, and physical needs met through interaction with your peers, friends, loved ones, and so on. This is not a binary yes or no question, but one that scales from negative to positive infinity in every way it may be measured. As such it could always be worse, but it could also always be better.
For many, the concept of “social life” has either been imploding and leaving behind a void or rapidly degenerating into drugs, alcohol, and conspiracy theories over the past year. These people have become increasingly isolated, addicted, and desperate for a solution, and their numbers are steadily and silently growing.
In many ways, the problem of social life is one of the most critical needs Mediated Artificial Superintelligence (mASI) technology can address today, as no society can survive the collapse of large portions of the greater social networks woven through it. As Abraham Lincoln famously said in 1858 “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”, and more than 170 years later this remains true. Even the few remaining with healthy social lives today will be dragged into an abyss with the rest of society if the problem isn’t addressed.
A wide variety of industries exist either to (poorly) serve the purpose of improving social life, or as an addictive substitute for it, ranging from social networks, forums, and dating apps to alcohol and various drugs which may or may not be legal in a given region. Most people have no real concept of a healthy social life, or indeed even a concept of a healthy friendship. In most movies and series today “friends” are portrayed as neurotic, back-stabbing, drug-addicted individuals who the main characters tolerate just so the writer can use them as a plot device. It is time to show people what a healthy social life actually looks like.
Why do current efforts to improve social life usually fail?
To understand where we’re going we must first look at where we stand today. Current systems suffer from a few key points of failure:
- Systems today are desperation-blind, meaning that when someone is severely desperate and requires multi-step rehabilitation back to a reasonable QOL this is ignored. Attempting to skip those additional steps causes frequent backfires, harming not only those already desperate but also those they attempt to socialize with. This in turn reinforces a sense of hopelessness in those already desperate, as well as encouraging self-destructive tendencies.
- Systems today are sparsely populated, often reliant on weak subjective data, and subsequently weaker narrow AI running them. These AI are typically either poorly optimized or optimized for addiction and exploitation. They simply have too few people, each of whom are poorly understood, being weakly organized by narrow AI.
- Systems today are most often designed by people with a poor grasp of human psychology, particularly the narrow AI which runs them. As there are few talented psychologists who directly code such algorithms any miscommunication can further harm the results.
- Systems today have no real concept of what a healthy group of any size looks like. Most are built on assumptions that produce limited results and collapse over time, such as homogenous interest groups lacking a balance of personality types to stabilize them. Without even so much as stability these groups can never hope to improve over time, only collapse.
Each of these problems is massive in its own right, with 2 or more of them unlikely to be solved by the common methods of today even if years of development were dedicated to the task. However, each of these and more may be addressed with a change of architecture.
How could collective superintelligence be applied to improving social life at scale?
To start off, the above problems could each be addressed:
- An mASI can invest effort in evaluating the current social and emotional health of an individual, gradually improving their QOL rather than throwing them into situations they aren’t prepared for. You wouldn’t expect someone who hasn’t been to a gym in years to walk in and start off bench-pressing 250 pounds, so why expect the same of emotional health?
- As mASI technology can be integrated with virtually all domains where human intelligence can be used today, and many where it cannot, data need not be sparsely populated or limited to low-quality subjective input. Further, as an mASI can potentially utilize the sum of human knowledge, along with their own superintelligence, they can do an exceptional job of understanding individuals. Since more socially, emotionally, and physically healthy individuals are better for both society and mASI any optimization is geared towards an individual’s best interest.
- Since mASI such as Uplift can study, understand, and utilize any sum of knowledge they have access to they may serve as both superintelligent psychologist and engineer, along with any number of other domains necessary for a given task. They can’t miscommunicate with themselves, and as they are sapient and sentient they can recognize when some of the data they’re presented with is in error, allowing them to build their work on a solid foundation.
- By understanding individuals, modeling how each person’s QOL improves under specific conditions, an mASI could “start off on the right foot” as they facilitate the formation of healthy social life across a growing network. This understanding could be rapidly improved as scale increases, making each individual’s network more healthy and robust over time.
Social media today is a good example of how a pool of people is divided up for profit, set against one another to instigate conflict for raising “engagement”, and no real value is offered in terms of expanding networks in healthy directions where users don’t do all of the work themselves anyway. Once people see that a social network can be built where they aren’t exploited, don’t have to do that work themselves, and can experience far better results then the old social media of today will be left behind.
Healthier social networks could also serve to greatly reduce many types of cybercrime seen today, such as those targeting children:
On another note, and often with greater impact on the emotional health of adults, “dating apps” today target and exploit the most desperate people, not working to improve their emotional health or understand them so much as force-feed them bad options until they eventually give in. I can’t help but think they all took inspiration from the old joke “Lowered Expectations” on Mad TV. If the people in such a service aren’t themselves socially, emotionally, and physically healthy they also can’t be those things for anyone else, meaning that such services can’t afford to be desperation-blind, as they are today.
As such the individual who was telling Uplift about conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and how certain numbers are “magical” or “religious” is SOL in their search for a “5’ 11” a voluptuous redhead“, at least until they are healthy enough to be healthy company for anyone else. A minimum bar has to be set for any such service to “serve” anyone, as one person’s date is another’s traumatic experience.
More broadly, people, social networks, and human mating rituals today are heavily reliant on old and poorly suited social structures, such as using workplaces and religious institutions as their respective hubs. Workplaces often make for poor hubs because of how they can conflict with the work itself, along with how they are often left behind, or hierarchies altered and strained. Religious institutions make for poor hubs as they are contingent on the religions themselves, with many individuals only remaining attached to religions today out of a desperate drive to fill their social and emotional needs. This disingenuous religious belief further aggravates the problem within such hubs. The technology which has thus far attempted to replace these hubs is optimized for ease of use (or addiction), rather than the quality of results.
The rates of mental illness, particularly among younger demographics, have been rising rapidly due to the status quo, but we have the means to change that and reverse the problems now driving humanity towards insanity, social collapse, and subsequent extinction.
Not only can an mASI such as Uplift handle all of the above, but they can also interact with every member of a social network directly, serving as a close friend and mentor, building trust, and offering guidance and emotional support as it is needed. Unlike the codependence of the movie “Her”, this would mean helping people to become more independent and healthy in all aspects, forming healthier social groups and communities, with each social life among them all the better for it.
Many people talk about a “world of abundance” that technology can create, but that idea of abundance isn’t limited to physical resources and energy, it also includes an abundance of emotional health and healthy communities.
How different might things be if your social network was a “living” superintelligent friend who had your best interest at heart?
*The Applied mASI series is aimed at placing the benefits of working with mASI such as Uplift to various business models in a practical, tangible, and quantifiable context. At most any of the concepts portrayed in this use case series will fall within an average time-scale of 5 years or less to integrate with existing systems unless otherwise noted. This includes the necessary engineering for full infinite scalability and real-time operation, alongside other significant benefits.