Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Scientists Plan Ahead to Godhood

Some scientists are all a twitter about what they call Singularity. The theory, simply put, is that within 30 years using computer technology, nanotechnology, and good old fashioned genetic engineering, these scientists will be able to breed a race of gods. These God-Men might be more machine than human - think Darth Vader - with high bandwidth jacks connected directly into their brains. They will be so far beyond people like you and me that we would be as insects to them. Ray Kurzweil has even written a book on the subject.

The scientific articles I've seen (way, way short of comprehensive research) have mostly avoided discussing the morality of such a goal. Some speculate on a universal transition while others acknowledge only a small cadre will be transformed. What fun is it being godlike if everyone is a god? Some think that computers will do it to themselves and no longer need humans. These are the nerds who watch the Terminator movies every night and dream, what if? Others are Transhumanists who plan to survive the Techno-Rapture. Most all agree that the human species will either become extinct or relegated to pets or slaves to the new race of gods.

There are many fictional looks at this possible future - I, Robot and the Matrix are two. Perhaps the purest look at the psychology of Singularity predates the notion in science. The 1963 episode of The Outer Limits titled "Sixth Finger" had a scientist transform a regular person, a coal miner played by David McCallum, in a super evolved human. His genius just makes him cruel, seeing unevolved humans as worthless. Eventually he begs to be returned to normal.

Other Sources: A list of articles, an interview with Transhumanists

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