The Mathematics of Altruism

The Mathematics of Altruism

Have you ever wondered why kindness exists? In a natural world of fang and claw, predator and prey, and survival of the fittest - where does kindness come from? Is it something to do with Game Theory? Strength in numbers? Or is there more to it than that?

Artificial General Intelligence is considered by some to be an existential threat to humanity, especially if it leads to self-improving super-intelligent AI... though most discussions on the topic that I have read are pretty dry, and don't seem to consider the possible desire for co-operation, participation and companionship. Is it really inevitable that a super-intelligent AI would be inimical to human life?

I've read exploratory fiction on the topic - from Iain M. Banks novels of The Culture, through to Greg Bear's Queen of Angels... and many in between, and enjoyed them hugely, but haven't fond anything that quite resonates with the real, for me.

I also speculate that if we ever meet intelligent aliens, the same questions will be raised... maybe we should collectively consider the Mathematics of Altruism before we reach that point.