As I approached Cafe Imperia Hideout (my workplace after 2:00 PM), I gazed around and found myself pondering: Can you believe that there was once a time when there was nothing? No roads, no houses, no cars, no buildings, no bicycles, no carts—almost nothing. Just a few disparate humans, atoms, molecules of the earth, plants, and animals. But truly, there was nothing. What's astonishing about this thought is that, despite its undeniable truth, it remains incredibly difficult to fathom that if we were to rewind time, an era of absolute nothingness existed - human-made. The next question I asked myself was can we accelerate the pace of progress without affecting mother nature? What are your answers? I have mine at the end of this essay.
Within this emptiness lies the crux of humanity's achievements, the essence of our existence, and the evolution of civilizations. It dawns upon us that our world stands as the culmination of builders—those who directly and indirectly contributed to its creation. Thanks to these builders, a significant percentage of the global population now leads lives vastly improved (though there is much progress yet to be made). Admittedly, we've incurred a cost for this advancement, evident in the form of the predicament of climate change. Yet, even as I write these words, the notion that everything surrounding us has been constructed by individuals like you and me remains a challenging realization to consciously embrace. It seems that the march of our world's progress is the byproduct of these builders and shall continue to be so.
In examining builders, we discern two archetypes: the first type, employing a Deliberative mind, operates within established rules; the second, characterized by a Reflective mind, not only follows rules but creates them as well. Deliberative mind individuals tend to be followers due to their relatively limited daily decision-making or rule-driven choices. Conversely, the second type—those wielding the Reflective mind—engages in more decisions, on average. However, it's crucial to note that during the early stages of humanity, these two distinct mindsets did not exist.
In the dawn of human intelligence, deliberative minds predominated, which initially slowed the pace of progress and prosperity. This type of mind was deliberate, conscious, and thus slower. However, as time and experience shaped our development, the reflective mind emerged—a product of thousands of years of evolution, grounded in instinct. This newer facet of the human mind operates swiftly and automatically. Its emergence was necessitated by the growing volume of decisions our deliberative minds struggled to accommodate. Thus, we delegated to the reflective mind. This, in part, explains principles like the "10,000 hours rule" or the time required to attain mastery. During the preparatory phase, we trained our reflective minds to execute the intentions of our deliberative minds.
Productive individuals of note leverage their reflective minds to act on deliberate decisions. Thus, before the advent of LLMs-based models like ChatGPT, the number of highly performing individuals was limited. Approaching LLMs from first principles clarifies their nature: they are an external reflective mind variant, one that operates beyond the human mind. Similar to how humans transferred decisions from the deliberative to the reflective mind, we can delegate some of our reflective mind decisions to LLMs-based counterparts situated externally.
Here lies the intriguing facet: while it took humanity millennia to evolve reflective minds and these were confined to a select few, LLM-based models have become commoditized, and accessible to all. This endows every human with the capacity of an external reflective mind in an instant. Consequently, anyone can make a plethora of high-quality decisions, establish rules, and become the second type of builder. Thus, the unlocking of substantial human productivity seems imminent in the next few decades. Based purely on first principles, it's evident that humanity stands poised on the threshold of a new era…
So, answering the above question that I asked to myself - it seems we can accelerate the progress of human civilization without affecting our Mother Nature because we have an externally capable reflective mind! :)
Thanks for reading, if you like my essay, I write weekly, you can subscribe and share this essay with your network. I shall see you all the next week
PS: We need to be careful because the problem of sudo reflection (answers) is a real problem with current versions of LLMs.