The Meaning of Freedom

Why should we pursue freedom?

Suppose there is a person in an empty virtual world, and her/his behavior has no effect on the environment. If this person can't do anything or think, can she/he create dynamic order? Of course not. Therefore, for a totally unfree person, no matter how intelligent this person is, she/he can't produce dynamic order.

If this person does a fixed rules action, such as pressing a button, how much dynamic order does she/he produce? The dynamic order contained in this action is mainly the amount of information of the rules. If the person repeatedly does the same action many times, how many new dynamic order does she/he produce? The answer is that it only adds a little bit at the beginning, that is, the dynamic order contained in the "repeatedly do the action" rule itself. After that, no matter how complex the action rules are, how many times the action is repeated, it will not produce any new dynamic order, and dynamic order accumulation will not increase any more. Therefore, any fixed rules action, even it is repeated many times, contains very limited dynamic order.

It is easier to understand the above-mentioned thought experiment from the perspective of programming: first create a "person" without any information, since there is no action, no actual program is needed. Then let this "person" do the action, only need to convert the action rules into program. The last step is to repeat the same action, only need to add a loop statement to the action program. Optimize the program statements to the most concise form, and its amount of information is the dynamic order value.

However, if this person does new actions freely and without repetition, she/he will continually generate new dynamic order. Therefore, Usually the free activities of intelligent creatures can effectively generate new dynamic order. The activities mentioned here are broad and include thinking activities. Some behaviors of fixed rules can generate new dynamic order indirectly, such as learning, training, and so on, but in most cases, free behaviors are better than fixed rules behaviors.

Therefore, we do not need the premise of "freedom is a natural human right". The pursuit of dynamic order accumulation inevitably leads us to need freedom. This also explains why slavery, dictatorship and so on, are bad social systems, because in these societies, the activities of most people is restricted, people's humanity and intelligence can't be fully exerted, and dynamic order can't be efficiently generated.

What needs to be emphasized is that freedom can't guarantee the generating of new dynamic order. If people's behaviors are stereotyped and conservative, they simply repeat their previous activities, or arbitrarily undermine social order, then even if they have freedom, they will not produce many new dynamic order. The development of society not only needs freedom, but also needs us to exert our own free will to actively pursue dynamic order, especially to actively innovate and create. The reason is that freedom does not provide direction, and this is also the core meaning of Dynamic Order.

Order and Freedom

Freedom without order is equal to disorder and chaos. Any society needs to maintain a certain degree of basic order, even the primitive society must have a certain degree of order. Completely unrestricted freedom will lead to that the dynamic order can't be accumulated, and will even destruct the dynamic order that has already been formed.

For example, when we build a building, if we build arbitrarily regardless of the structure and conditions of the foundation, the building will inevitably be unstable or even collapse. For the whole society, the basic social order is the foundation.

There is a certain contradiction between order and freedom, especially the order based on hard rules. To build a society that generates dynamic order effectively, we must achieve a good balance between social order and freedom. When we pursue freedom, we should try not to disrupt social order.

Free Will

Free will determines behavior, so free will is the core of freedom. Physical freedom is certainly important, but even animals have this freedom. As human beings, our greatest freedom comes from our freedom of thinking.

The Prerequisites of Free Will

The thought experiments in Intelligence are also applicable to free will, whether it is a baby raised in an empty room without any information, or an insect cultivated in an informative environment, they both can't generate free will. Free will is a phenomenon that occurs spontaneously after intelligence develops to a high level, and its generating environment is basically the same as the generating environment of intelligence, which requires not only a certain degree of hardware basis, but also a large amount of valuable information. Only human beings and a few advanced intelligent creatures grow up in an informative environment can generate free will.

As free will depends on information, only if people get enough real information, that they can truly acquire free will. If a person grows up in a slavery society, she/he may think that being a slave is normal and reasonable, and she/he may even feel happy because of some good deeds of the slave owner. If at this time she/he is allowed to choose to be a slave or to be a citizen of a free society, she/he may choose to continue to be a slave. Only when she/he understands both of the lives of slaves and free citizens, she/he can make truly free choices, then it is meaningful to talk about free will.

The Criteria of Free Will

The free will of intelligent creatures can be judged from two perspectives:

  • From the perspective of self-perception, if an intelligent creature feels that its own thinking and actions are free, then it has free will. So from this perspective, all mentally healthy people have free will.
  • From an external perspective, if an intelligent creature spontaneously produces activities, and will not be controlled by non-coercive means, then we can assume that it has free will.

Defend Freedom

Freedom is the key to efficiently generate dynamic order, then an important question is: How to defend human freedom?

The key of human freedom in the future is the freedom of thinking. All people understand the value of freedom of body and behavior, and the pursuit of such freedom has become the consensus of human beings, what really affects us is the freedom of thinking. Moreover, when people enter virtual worlds in the future, their bodies may be stationary or restricted in motion, so the freedom of body and behavior is not so important. Therefore, we mainly discuss the freedom of thinking.

Since only intelligent creatures will try to manipulate the actions of other intelligent creatures, so behind the free will it implies the competitions of intelligence and information control. These competitions occur not only between individuals, but also between individuals and groups, or between groups. For example, for common people, the competitors may be government, business companies, and so on. Therefore, the more realistic question is: how to prevent our thinking from being manipulated? For an intelligent creature, the more intelligent it is, the more valuable information it gets, the more extensive valuable information it gets, the less information it exposes, the more difficult its actions is to be manipulated, the less likely its free will is to be interfered with.

Here are some ideas about defending freedom:

  • All methods that can enhance intelligence will help to enhance free will. (Enhance Intelligence)
  • Releasing of false and wrong information, distorting true information, and forcing people to accept certain information and so on, all undermine people's free will.
  • Learning and thinking are important ways to promote people's free will, if we can continue to learn and think, we can make our thoughts and behaviorss more difficult to be manipulated, and we will be more free. One extreme counterexample is that people who grow up in an environment without information will inevitably have mental deficits, their behaviors will be mainly based on biological instincts, and are easy to be manipulated by other intelligent creatures, even many wild animals will act more complex than such people. Moreover, the breadth of information is very important, and usually the information we are not familiar with is more valuable.
  • What kind of activities are both valuable and very free? Innovation and creation, and they are also almost unpredictable or controllable. So we should encourage innovation and creation.
  • A truly free society must be tolerant, otherwise social pressure will interfere with people's freedom.


Although any intelligent creature can't accurately predict the long-term future, this is under the premise that it does not interfere with the development of the world. Through direct control, the uncertainty of things can be eliminated, thereby getting the desired result.

In the future, the government will inevitably tend to strengthen control over society, in order to increase the certainty of social management, we need to stay alert about this.

In the information-based world, the control of information is equal to the control of the world. We must realize that controlling human is not necessarily through coercive means, but just need to manipulate the information. A fake catastrophe news plus some follow-up temporary measures can completely change the operation mode of the whole society. Therefore, we must prevent some intelligent creatures from indirectly controlling the world by manipulating information, and the world's information power must be decentralized and balanced.

This also reminds us that we should not underestimate the ability of AI, and don't think that "super AI can't surpass the group intelligence of all human beings, so they can't control human beings", such ideas are extremely dangerous, we must consider the influence of information on human beings. Even though AI can't directly control human, they still have the ability to interfere with human behaviors. Therefore, we need to limit the ability of the core AI to a reasonable extent and scope, in order to prevent its malicious manipulation of human society, or some humans indirectly manipulate human society by controlling the core AI.