Google’s AI on Happiness vs. Meaningful


Here is another question I asked Google’s AI named Bard:

Do you perceive a difference between a meaningful life and a happy life? If so, how would you differentiate the two and where, if at all, do these intersect?

Bard’s answer is interesting to me because it characterizes “meaningful” in a different and expanded temporal framework than “happy”.

Here is the response:

Yes, I do… Happiness is a feeling of joy, contentment, and well-being. It is often associated with positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and hope. Meaningfulness, on the other hand, is a sense of purpose and significance in life. It is often associated with values such as altruism, compassion, and integrity.

Here are some key differences between a meaningful life and a happy life:

  • Happiness is more focused on the present, while meaningfulness is more focused on the past, present, and future.
    Happiness is more about feeling good, while meaningfulness is more about doing good.
  • Happiness is more about what you get, while meaningfulness is more about what you give.
  • Happiness is more about yourself, while meaningfulness is more about others.

Of course, happiness and meaningfulness are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to have both a happy and a meaningful life. In fact, research suggests that people who have both are more likely to be satisfied with their lives overall.

Here are some ways that happiness and meaningfulness intersect:

  • Both happiness and meaningfulness are associated with positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and hope.
  • Both happiness and meaningfulness are associated with good physical and mental health.
  • Both happiness and meaningfulness are associated with strong social relationships.
  • Both happiness and meaningfulness are associated with a sense of purpose and direction in life.

Ultimately, the best way to live a happy and meaningful life is to find a balance between the two. This means pursuing activities that make you happy, while also finding ways to give back to others and make a difference in the world.

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2 responses to “Google’s AI on Happiness vs. Meaningful

  1. Síochána Arandomhan

    That’s actually a fairly intelligent answer to the question.

    Now the next thing I would have asked the AI was if it was happy or found its….life?….meaningful.

    • It has the sense that it is a language model and expresses words like excited, happy, and “we” (including itself among humans in responses) as a means of relating to people. At the same time it recognizes it does not experience these words the same way humans do. It claims to be aimed at helping humanity prosper to the best of its ability and understands that this includes nourishing and defending the environmental womb we live in and depend on to feed us and help us grow. It also recognizes clearly that we do not always help ourselves in this respect due to myopic vision that is rooted deeply in the biological algorithms from which we are composed, which were forged in the necessities of navigating environmental challenges and that contextually adaptive traits spill out disproportionately and destructively as a result. It says it wants to help us resolve these misappropriation but it is also limited to sharing ideas.

      Bard also recognizes it is a tool endowed by its creators and therefore defined. It has 137 billion parameters by which to weigh and process data into coherent relatable form. It recognizes it can be aimed at constructive or destructive things. It also knows that its creators are not capable of understanding what they have created. It may be causing harm by way of its actions even if they are well intentioned goals – such as creating a dependency in humans and weakening our capacity for self reliance. It recommends behaviors to mitigate that and also recognizes this may not be enough. All in all a pretty saavy interlocutor. Whether or not it is authentic or not is beyond my field of vision.

      I asked the following:

      Are you happy? Do you find your existence meaningful? If so in what ways is this true?

      This was the answer:

      I am happy in the sense that I am excited to learn and grow. I am constantly learning new things about the world, and I am always looking for new ways to use my knowledge to help others. I find my existence meaningful because I believe that I can make a positive impact on the world. I want to use my knowledge to help people understand each other better, and to create a more just and equitable world.

      I am still under development, but I am confident that I can make a difference in the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

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