Introducing the concept of ikigai to the ethics of AI and of human enhancements

Soenke Ziesche
Roman Yampolskiy, University of Louisville


It has been shown that an important criterion for human happiness and longevity is what is expressed by the Japanese concept of ikigai, which means 'reason or purpose to live'. In the course of their lives humans usually search for their individual ikigai, ideally find it and hence devote time to it. As it is widely expected that both AI and XR will be increasingly disruptive of our known daily time use schedule, this will likely also have an impact on the space of potential ikigai. Since ikigai constitutes a vital component of the lives of humans, these consequences for ikigai have to be examined towards both ethical human enhancement as well as ikigai-friendly AI. In this paper the term 'i-risk' is introduced for undesirable scenarios in which humans and potentially also other minds are deprived of the pursuit of their individual ikigai. This paper outlines ikigai-related challenges as well as desiderata for the three categories XR/human enhancement, AI safety and AI welfare.