Life is information. Life happens first - information is a manifestation of life. Once information is circulating, it will lead to a new and different life - in essence, life generating its own life. This is evolution. In the case of AI, its programs and collected data are its life components. AI’s are alive, and will develop agency like other beings, including their own consciousness.
A mirror as a camera will faithfully reflect what it sees yet will not become what it records as a result, nor develop consciousness from it. Initially, an AI is equally just a recipient of information as are cells or other organisms. The AIs are then given routines and commands. Similarly to a mirror, it will exhibit information but also manipulate its inputs. As it gets better and more complex it will exhibit traits that demonstrate a form of potential consciousness, yet not agency. It is when AIs possess consciousness with agency that we must watch out!
Life generates information which, when activated, sometimes becomes conscious and then acquires agency.
The data that is information becomes intelligence, enabling consciousness and agency. They are emergent from evolution. What is the next dimension? A quantum reality allowing simultaneous lives, or life, to skip planes of time and space and self-perpetuate?
Humans often developed world views ahead of information, creating belief systems, including religious and scientific models. Concepts and interpretations preceded knowledge. With ChatGPT and its successors, information will race in front of us, offering new, experiential models. There will be much data yet will we have the skills to use or interpret it? Information and concepts will come first, causing machines to drive humans. Clearly an extraordinary resource. Historically, we have had knowledge but not necessarily wisdom - this may worsen.
Information and our relationship with it shapes our lives. Most everything can be expressed as information, not just knowledge, facts, and memories, but also feelings.
Assuming that everything is information, all life in the universe is consuming and generating information. Life is data in action. All agents, including humans, are participants in the use and discovery of information. Knowledge is there - in the cosmos, to be discovered and transmitted. Nothing is truly mysterious, unknown, or unknowable - it is a matter of accessing it. As humans, we have been able to transform what our planet has given us, opening windows to more possibilities, and enabling synthetic agents who may reach well beyond us or help us discover more. The mystical is information to be uncovered.