View Full Version : The Singularity is Near

08-06-2008, 04:24 PM
I am reading a book. The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. by Ray Kurzweil.

The author is an world famous inventor and a futurist with 13 honorary doctorates, etc, etc. Bill Gates thinks he is phenomenal.

Anyhow, the book is about how informational technology is continually, repeatedly developing at an exponential rate ever since the computer was first invented. He explains how technology has and is currently developing in capacity, speed, smaller size and being "smart." He talks about the Artificial Intelligence that is in development. He then prognosticates a whole lot. He says that, by 2045, the world will become a union between biological humanity and Artificial Intelligence. He says the the human brain will be reverse enginered and replicated, enhanced and even copied by nanobots (molcule sized robots that already exist) scanning the brain. The internet will be completely wireless and without any limit of speed and capacity. Wireless interface among nanobots, computers and other machines will be able to, through the means of holographic wireless internet interface technology, "telepathically" connect people with people, people and machines and the internet, etc, etc. We will be able to repair any genetic problems in people. We will be able to manipulate and control the genome. Humans and machines will be so intermeshed.

There will come a moment called "the singularity." This means the following, in my understanding:
After machines and humans have become utterly interdependant and intertwined in their bodies and in daily life, the machines will have begun to develop and improve themselves at an exponential rate. They will develop AI. Artifical intelligence that will develop to become indistinguishable from a real human. Since machines will be wirelessly interfaced with every other machine "online," any and all information gathered will be accessable and downloadable by any machine or person, this will effectively make the machine world and humanity into one giant computer. The world will become "smart." "Singularity" is when the machine world reaches a point of what we could call or compare to consciousness. It/they will think for themselves and then be beyond outer control. Humans will be utterly connected to this tech world and will be carried along with wherever the machine world goes also. It will almost be like evolution happening at a controled pace. (I do not believe in biological evoltion, FYI)
He said that the normal biological human and human life and death will be completely replaced and controled by technology. We will control everything about birth. All sickness and disease will be erradicated. He even predicts that our very consciousness and mind will be able to be copied, downloaded, uploaded and transfered through the technology. People's clothing will be "smart." If someone has a heart attack, their shirt will detect the problem immediately and send for the nearest robotic help. Nanobots can enter your blood stream (already happening today) and repair any internal problems, turn on/off any genetic problems, etc. He said the ultimately, the earth will become totally "structured." This means that all the organic and inorganic material on the planet will be structured so that it can be a container and conduit of information, effectively making the world itself into one unified computer or amalgam of artificial intelligence and biological life. From there, depending on if light itself can be controlled by technology, earth will venture out into the far reaches of space and possibly time and other dimensions and also possibly "wake up" the universe by making everything else "smart" and structured on an atomic and particle level. The whole universe, or at least the areas that will be accessable, will be one unified artificial intelligence, or is it still artificial? Life and consciousness will become the cheif philisophical and religious discussion in the next century.

I do not know what I think about his ideas. But if anyone is qualified to predict these things it is him. I think that his ideas absolutely do contain some truth. Considering his ideas does give us a more reasonable look at the future. He is not a man of faith but claims that he "believes in the power of good ideas." He fails to fully account for the factors of the fallenness of mankind, the reality of a directly involved and transcendant God, the demonic realm, and Bible prophecy. He is right to believe that absolutely anything is possible through technology one day. Gen 11 shows that God himself believes that when people unite as one, there is nothing that they cannot do that they can imagine. Go also disrupts fallen men when this begins to happen, for their own good.

Richard Amiel McGough
08-06-2008, 09:01 PM
Hey there Elihahu,

Thanks for the very interesting review! I agree with the essentially limitless possibilities of technology but I differ on one point which is critical for Kurzweil's ulitmate vision: Artificial Intelligence. I have no reason to believe that machines will ever be "conscious." It seems to me that belief in AI is fundamentally based on the philosophy of materialistic reductionism which posits that consciousness can be ultimately explained as a physical phenomenon.

No arrangement of atoms could ever achieve consciousness or perception of meaning, because both meaning and consciousness are non-physical phenomena. It is easy to prove this for meaning because meaning has no mass or energy, and so is not physical.


08-07-2008, 03:41 AM
Eliyahu, I am digging your new image of yourself. When I read your review, and thought of your new avatar, I realized that you are ahead of the curve, you have already morphed into a an artificial entity! (just a little early morning jest......but seriously, provide some background information on your new visual moniker).

I have two comments relating to the review; 1.) man is comprised of body (physical), spirit (God is spirit), and he is a living soul. Artificiality does not seem applicable to the spirit realm. The new bodies that Paul speaks of will be attuned and aligned with the spiritual realm as far as I can tell. I have no confidence that man is capable to replicating that which is of the spirit.
2.) something that I don't recall ever talking about on this forum (maybe it is somewhere that I missed) is "life" as we know it. Death is going to be destroyed. Paul teaches that death will not be part of God's created realm after Christ has defeated His last enemy. Doesn't this imply that "life" will be different as well? Paul says that neither "life" nor "death".......nor any other creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38, 39). These are realms that man has absolutely no influence as far as I can tell.


Richard Amiel McGough
08-07-2008, 09:50 AM
2.) something that I don't recall ever talking about on this forum (maybe it is somewhere that I missed) is "life" as we know it. Death is going to be destroyed. Paul teaches that death will not be part of God's created realm after Christ has defeated His last enemy. Doesn't this imply that "life" will be different as well? Paul says that neither "life" nor "death".......nor any other creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38, 39). These are realms that man has absolutely no influence as far as I can tell.


Very interesting point Joel. It seems to me that Christ defeated death on the Cross. Whoever believes in Him never dies:
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were [past tense] all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The Bible speaks of two kinds of life and two kinds of death. Christ said that "though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and beleiveth in me shall never die." Obviously, many people who claimed to believe in Jesus have physicially died, which leaves only three possibilities:

Every person who has physically died after claiming faith in Christ were really unbelieving liars. This includes Peter, Paul, John, and James to name a few.
Christ made a false statement.
There are two kinds of death being spoken about in that passage.Richard

08-12-2008, 12:26 PM
I really appreciate the thought out replies you both gave. I am in the middle of that book now and it is very thought provoking. While I do not accept this man and many other like minded computer scientists mathematical prognostications as supernaturally prophetic, I can not dismiss it all wholesale, just because. I assume that true consciousness is not something that can be created artificially, God's "breath of life" is not replicable. But I do wonder just how much of a replication or mimicry of human consciousness will prove to be possible.
Seriously consider this. Can't computers and machines outwit the world's greatest chess players already (they have years ago)? Could not machines eventually mimic human consciousness to a convincing extent to many? If they will be able to compute millions of times faster than any human and draw from all the constantly increasing information on the internet (of that time), might they be able to become something that people would (in a sense) worship and serve? Would such a thing go both ways in a sense, humans worshipping and serving the machine world and machines worhipping and serving the human biological part of the world (much like technology serves man now exept with an artificialy mimicing of consciousness)? It would be a snare and trap for sure.
When you read about all the various technologies that are being developed now and where they are being directed towards going over the next ten, twenty and 50 years, the book really makes to take these ideas more seriously.

08-13-2008, 03:52 AM

Let us know, when you are finished with the book, if you recommend it.

I read a very interesting article in the July 2008 issue of Wired. Chris Anderson, Wired's Editor in Chief, wrote "The Petabyte Age" which reports on the massive amount of data and how the "clouds" of processors, and the statistical analyzing tools are changing science, medicine, business and technology. It's a good read.....