Is "The Singularity" The Elite Geeks' Version Of "The Rapture"?
The Singularity is a belief that our technology will inevitably collide with our biology, and that this will give us mastery over our mortality.
We will be able to cure diseases, stop our aging, and also control our senses with augmented created experiences. The resolution of those augmented experiences would be indistinguishable from the natural world.
We will be able to create a reality that is indistinguishable from our "natural" reality. We will be able to choose the "matrix" as Hollywood knows it (Singularitans hate that term).
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Ashlee Vance in the The New York Times wrote an interesting report today on The Singularity Movement:
In the Singularity Movement, Humans Are So Yesterday - NYTimes.com
The article points to how much support there is from Google founders and others, such as top investor Peter Thiel.
"Some of Silicon Valley's smartest and wealthiest people have embraced the Singularity. They believe that technology may be the only way to solve the world's ills, while also allowing people to seize control of the evolutionary process. For those who haven't noticed, the Valley's most-celebrated company -- Google -- works daily on building a giant brain that harnesses the thinking power of humans in order to surpass the thinking power of humans. "
"Larry Page, Google's other co-founder, helped set up Singularity University in 2008, and the company has supported it with more than $250,000 in donations. Some of Google's earliest employees are, thanks to personal donations of $100,000 each, among the university's "founding circle." (Mr. Page did not respond to interview requests.) "
. . ."We will transcend all of the limitations of our biology," says Raymond Kurzweil, the inventor and businessman who is the Singularity's most ubiquitous spokesman and boasts that he intends to live for hundreds of years and resurrect the dead, including his own father."
. . ." Peter A. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and a major investor in Facebook, is a Singularity devotee who offers a "Singularity or bust" scenario."
As in the Christian Rapture, only a few will get there:
..."Andrew Orlowski, a British journalist who has written extensively on techno-utopianism. "It is rich people building a lifeboat and getting off the ship."
It's a vision of a select few living forever in an utopian paradise free of mortal concerns. Is "The Singularity" the uber-geeks' version of "The Rapture"? It certainly shares key themes and beliefs.
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Ray Kurzweil is the chief spokesperson for The Singularity movement. I went to see him speak at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco a few years ago.
Mr. Kurzweil had to take a break from ingesting more than 350 micro-nutrients a-day. He takes these to help him stay alive until we reach the early stages of the Singularity - that's one micro-nutrient every 3 minutes.
He spoke for about an hour, or rather, he showed graphs for about an hour. Most of his graphs were logarithmic scale and all his graphs went up. They showed the inevitable progress of technology and science. And all of them converged in about 15 to 20 years, the point of The Singularity.
He said that if we can avoid encountering our mortal nature over the coming ten years or so, we will probably make it to The Singularity.
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As far as my personal choice of "raptures" I'll go with RK's secular "The Singularity" I think we will get there faster than the Christians with their tech-free approach to salvation. Jewish people are still waiting and they are next in line.
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BTW: There is an unique web service for Christians:
"The rapture: When all the believers in Jesus Christ, who have been born again, are taken up to heaven.
After the rapture, there will be a lot of speculation as to why millions of people have just disappeared.
... We have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven."
The Singularity geeks will send out their own emails. And there will also be a Google alert.