The Singularity is Near

The Singularity is Near takes credit for being the most disturbing book  I have ever read.  Written by Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the excellent Kurzweil keyboards and numerous other electronic wonders, the book predicts the nearness of “singularity,” the coming “human-machine civilization.” (The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil, Viking, 2005, p. 5).

Ray’s book prophesies the increasing merger of man with machine until, in probably less than forty more years, mankind is more machine than human.  To understand how this can be you must read his book, but I am of the opinion that he is correct.  Here are some of the ways in which this transformation, this “evolution,” will occur:

  1. “Along with the accelerating improvement cycle of nonbiological intelligence, nanotechnology will enable the manipulation of physical reality at the molecular level.
  2. Nanotechnology will enable the design of nanobots: robots designed at the molecular level, measured in microns (millionths of a meter), such as “respirocytes” (mechanical red-blood cells).
  3. Nanobots will have myriad roles within the human body, including reversing human aging (to the extent that this task will not already have been completed through biotechnology, such as genetic engineering).
  4. Nanobots will interract with biological neurons to vastly expand human experience by creating virtual reality from within the nervous system.
  5. Billions of nanobots in the capillaries of the brain will also vastly extend human intelligence.
  6. Once nonbiological intelligence gets a foothold in the human brain (this has already started with computerized neural implants), the machine intelligence in our brains will grow exponentially (as it has been doing all along), at least doubling in power each year. In contrast, biological intelligence is effectively of fixed capacity. Thus, the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will ultimately predominate.
  7. Nanobots called foglets that can manipulate image and sound waves will bring the morphing qualities of virtual reality to the real world.” (Id. p. 28)

According to Kurzweil’s vision man ultimately becomes more machine than human.  In fact, in my opinion, the ultimate status of man would be extinction, or the state of being kept alive as slaves for use by the master machine “race.”  The most disturbing aspect of Kurzweil’s vision is that he is right.  I used at least one of his inventions, for example, to create this blog.  I spoke into a microphone and my computer printed my words almost flawlessly.  Kurzweil invented the original program that I now use which is called “Dragon” and is produced by Nuance.  I have been involved with computer programming and systems on some level for almost thirty years and can tell you that his ascertions concerning exponential growth in human knowledge, achievement, and interactions with machines is real.

Ray’s is a simplistic, naive faith and religion, however.  He may think he is doing good and actually believe that the man-machine unity would be a good thing, but he is deceived.  He neither knows his own heart nor the heart of man in its wicked depravity.  Already we see the scourages on earth wrought by men’s scientific advances.  We have not yet seen the horrors that will surely arise from genetic manipulation of plants, animals and humans, but we will if time marches on with no one to prevent them.  Can we even imagine the evil, the horror, the catastrophe awaiting all creation when man melds with machine, a world of cyborgs and matrices where this is no way out, for then men will want to die, but be unable to?

“The singularity won’t destroy us, Kurzweil says. Instead, it will immortalize us. ” (from the biography referenced below)  But, Ray’s vision is the vision of Babel when men said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower, with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves….” (Genesis 11:4)  Ray’s singularity is man’s attempt to become one with the universe, but he has forgotten, like the multitude, that mankind was made in God’s image.  God’s goal with man is to mold him into the pattern of his son and become one with him in spirit, not to watch helplessly as he devolves into oneness with a material matrix of silicon and carbon.

The nearness of the singularity is a sign of the times.  Behold the time is at hand when God must do as He did to Babel.

Continue to: The Image of the Beast

Kursweil Links:

Biography of Ray Kurzweil

I am a singularitarian.

Transhumanity saving humanity.

The Movie

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