Life, the Universe and Everything
What’s the meaning of life? How should we live our lives? Is everything predetermined or do we have a free will? Are we alone in the universe? How did it all begin? What happens if we create artificial general intelligence?
Some of these questions are ancient, some of them are newer. Regardless of age, they are relevant and it’s beneficial to occasionally set some time aside and think about them. As a matter of fact, you can consider yourself lucky if you have the chance to sit down and be philosophical. Most people in the world don’t have that luxury.
I’m not a philosopher and I don’t pretend to be one. I have no formal philosophical training and I don’t consider myself a great thinker in general. That doesn’t mean I can’t be interested in the same essential questions people have been asking for thousands of years.
I find it exciting to learn what others have thought about philosophical questions before diving deeper into them myself. It’s incredible how certain ideas have changed over the years, whereas some have not. In particular it’s interesting to see how science, for example physics, has changed the way we view and treat philosophical questions.
I also enjoy discussions where my thoughts are taken – with clear and well-formulated arguments – into directions, which intuitively feel wrong and off-putting. This sensation can be felt also by just listening to others having an interesting discussion.
Every now and then I stumble across an interesting question (new or old) and that’s when I write a blog post about it. You’ll find those posts summarised below. Typically I won’t have any answers to offer – just more questions. But I guess that’s the whole point of being philosophical.
Summary of blog posts on Philosophy
The life expectancy in Europe for newborn babies is around 79 years for males and 84 years for females. That’s about 10 years longer compared to people born in 1970. But what if life expectancy explodes during the next 50 years?
What we have seen in the U.S. since the new administration took over in January is mind-boggling. It feels like the entire world is trapped in a wicked candid camera show, but nobody knows how to pull the plug.
After the shocking U.S. presidential election result I decided that I need to take a break from all political and economical news flows. No more talking heads. No more analyses. Enough is enough.
I’m a news junkie and I spend a large portion of each day with my addiction. It’s not just one particular drug, in my case we’re talking about a veritable cocktail.
It seems obvious that the jobs of the future will require different skills than the jobs of today. Just like the jobs of today require different skills than the jobs of the past. One thing is certain: the industries of the future don’t need their human workers to be robots. They have robots.
Google is investing a lot in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Probably more than any other company. The good news is that Google has set up an AI ethics board. The bad news is that they don’t disclose the individuals on that board or what the board actually does.
The FBI wants to get inside a terrorist’s iPhone. Apple is challenging this order. Who’s right? Turns out this is a much more difficult question than I originally thought.
Many believe that life would be miserable without a meaningful job. In other words, it's important for our wellbeing that we feel we’re doing something useful, either for ourselves and for our communities. But if robots take over most of our jobs, what will there be left for us to do?
Robots and artificial intelligence have always played a prominent role in science fiction. Memorable characters include HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Marvin the paranoid android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But is it just science fiction? Could we actually succeed in creating artificial general intelligence?
I had planned that my first blog post on this site should probably cover some easy-going topic, like where to enjoy that perfect glass of Chianti in Milan. Then two news items hit me, one from Saudi-Arabia and the other from Turkey. I thought – here I am, and I could basically write about anything without being afraid of the consequences. But that's not the case everywhere and I wanted to remind myself that freedom of inquiry and free speech should never be taken for granted.