by Nigel Kerner, 2011 (originally posted at UFODIGEST.COM, UNEXPLAINED-MYSTERIES.COM, Feb 6, 2011)
Wes’ Comment: Sorry if this is a little technical, but it’s an important article!
‘Transhumanism’ is a term that has become a euphemism that has been assimilated into our vocabulary such that it shocks no longer. It would seem perfectly natural that we follow the next ‘evolutionary’ step towards the survival of the fittest and convert ourselves into an information field that never breaks down or decays. No need for physical bodies that break down and die, we can reconstruct our virtual self in electronic form and go on forever. Or can we?
Ray Kurzweil believes the exponential growth of artificial intelligence, biotechnology and nanotechnology means that before 2050 his consciousness and identity – can be copied and uploaded into a non-biological form transcending biology and achieve the dream of immortality.
All this flows from Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, a generalization of Moore’s Law, which predicts ongoing exponential growth of key technologies. What this means, Kurzweil writes, is that “…we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”
A body vastly enhanced through biotech and nanotech may suffice to extend life spans indefinitely, but the ultimate leap is to transcend biology entirely. Before 2050, Kurzweil predicts that AI and nanotech will have advanced so far that his brain, with its memories, capabilities and characteristics, can be reduced to pure information and rebooted in a non-biological format, be it a supercomputer, a real or virtual body, or a swarm of nanobots.
If he’s right, before 2050 all information-based technologies will be millions of times more advanced and AI will far outshine the power of all human brains combined, a development futurists describe as ‘The Singularity.’
There are a surprising number who will see morphing into a non- biologically centred virtual machine as an attractive and even exciting prospect for the future of our species. Many look at it as a palliative for all the ills that plague the human quantum both in terms of a social and a physical perspective. Many people will be familiar with how the elements that contrast man against machine play out.
The arguments settle within the aprons of two broad primary factions. There are those who are able to have a sense of what might lie beyond the scales of the purely physical and empiricist standpoint; people with a religious faith or belief in an eternal tray of continuity. Then there are those who hold a hard wired outlook and only believe in an existential tray that is strictly the manifestation of atoms alone and thus of a Universe of force and parts that decays to a complete negation of all things ending in a nothingness driven by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The latter is a strictly temporal view that only believes in what is here and affirmable through the physical senses, a view that, finally exposes an end to all reason and meaning and more pertinently, an end to the delineation of the concept of free compunction within an individualization that allows for an assertion of the concept and realization of the Self. Whilst the former, the religious view, all too often points to an anthropomorphic entity as a God who out of his perfection creates us in our imperfection just to watch the fun. If he, she, or it is any God he, she, or it should know the outcome! So how perfect can such a God be? (more…)