Rapture of the nerds: will the Singularity turn us into gods or end the human race?
"Just think how far we’ve come in a century," said Deming, her cheeks flushed with excitement. "Only a century ago, the nature of genetic code was still a mystery. Now we’re creating pocket-sized DNA calculators and swapping biological circuitry like it’s Lego blocks." Like many at the conference, her faith in a brighter future was grounded in the continuing acceleration of scientific progress. "If we succeed, we will have turned the most awful paradigm that we know on its head. The inevitability of death."
The crowd burst into rapturous applause.
I wondered if The Singularity might serve as a sort of substitute for faith among the Silicon Valley set who felt uncomfortable with some of religion’s mystical beliefs. "The Singularity resolves a lot of the problems that religion irons out for humans," said R.U. Sirius, a longtime attendee I chatted with. "The contradictions, the pains and suffering of living: these are deeply troubling for people who pride themselves on their rational minds. Here you can find a vision of absolute transcendence, but one that uses as its foundation long-term projections that are at least somewhat grounded in science."
In Kurzweil’s vision of the future, we can merge our brains with computers, giving us a near godlike intelligence and the ability to back up our memories and thus live forever. This new species of man-machine will spread out across the universe, a super race on an infinite quest for knowledge.
See also: http://transcendentman.com/