What is the essence of humanness?


The essence of humanness is a complex topic discussed by several experts on the Lex Fridman Podcast. Here are two perspectives:

  1. Lex Fridman's Conversation with Will Sasso: In discussing AI and its capabilities to replicate human essence, Will Sasso expresses skepticism about AI's ability to capture the full human experience posthumously. He argues that while AI can create avatars and might replicate certain aspects, it cannot fully represent or replace the human essence in its entirety. Sasso highlights this during a discussion about cryogenic preservation and AI avatars, indicating the limitations of technology in capturing the true essence of a person even with extensive data 1.

  2. Lex Fridman and Sheldon Solomon: Sheldon Solomon discusses the influence of death awareness on human behavior. He dives into the historical and philosophical understandings of the soul from Aristotle's viewpoint, describing it as the essence of a living body. For Aristotle, the soul of an ax, if alive, would be to chop, symbolizing that the essence of a tool or being lies in its core function. Solomon extends this discussion to humanity, posing the question of what constitutes the essence of humanness, with various scholars proposing humans as rational, playful, tool-making, or aesthetic appreciating beings 2.

Both discussions emphasize the complexity and depth of what constitutes the human essence, from both psychological and technological perspectives.

Capturing Human Essence

Will Sasso and Chad discuss the possibility of AI creating avatars of human beings that capture their essence, even after they pass away. Will argues that it's impossible to capture the human experience, while Chad believes AI will soon be able to duplicate anyone.

Lex Fridman Podcast

Will Sasso: Comedy, MADtv, AI, Friendship, Madness, and Pro Wrestling | Lex Fridman Podcast #323