Transhumanism: Futurism and the New Pseudo-Religion

What will humanity’s future be like, and what sorts of technological innovations will it entail? Even though there are certainly several doomsday forecasts amongst the projections of leading futureologists today, there are also a host of radical offerings with regard to what long term science will bring to mankind, several of which appear to blur the lines among science fiction and religion itself.

The notion of “technological singularity” is definitely some thing that fascinates me, and in prior posts at this weblog, I’ve focused on how this notion may possibly relate to the serious study of ufology in fact, my upcoming book The UFO Singularity (New Web page Books, New York) will also deal with how the study of long term science and UFO phenomenon are interrelated. However, there are also elements of the so-named “Singularitarian” ethos that do seem to be, as I suggested previously, to border on the spiritual and metaphysical.

Certainly, with the idea of technological singularity as proposed by the movement’s preeminent de facto leader, Ray Kurzweil, we see a revolutionary new kind of emergent interrelationship amongst guy and machine, in which we are not only joined in this globe by produced intelligence that will at some point surpass our own, but also by progressive systems that will increase the human existence to a point that our species will grow to be literally capable of super-human feats such as telepathic communication, shape-shifting, and of course, eternal life. The latter of these, rather obviously, entails the most overtly spiritual facet of the complete quandary: if the technology we develop doesn’t destroy humanity as we know it, then it will probably grant us life everlasting. In other words, with technological singularity people are afforded several of the same offerings that Judeo-Christian teachings have instilled in Western society already… albeit in the absence of a divine creator who dictates this kind of eventualities.

All this taken into consideration, it’s a bit strange how guarded the “Singularitarians” appear to stay when approached by individuals of us who study phenomenology and the unexplained (yes, the two places do bear a lot of similarities). Over at the Secret Sun blog, Christopher Knowles accurately noted this odd dichotomy, especially amongst advocates of singularity and transhumanism, with regard to their futuristic beliefs, when compared alongside the unexplained and individuals issues regarded “fringe.”

What he genuinely meant is that he didn’t want to chance a seat on the Kurzweil gravy train by being associated with any individual outside the faith who is not portion of the officially sanctioned media.

Knowles hits the nail correct on the head (albeit sarcastically, which in this situation I feel is warranted), in that right here we see the pot calling the proverbial kettle black. With the exception of the extremely sensible (and gracious) Ben Goertzel Ph.D., most of the scholarly Singularitarians (no wait… all of them, in fact) that I have approached in recent months refused to be interviewed for The UFO Singularity, on the grounds that they wished not to engage in the debate over speculative subjects. As one budding young Singularitarian put it to me recently, “I do not wish to engage in speculative conversation when there are so many fruitful scientific pursuits within the Transhumanist realm.”

Excellent thing we have so significantly empirical information to assistance the emergence of artificial intelligence (or a lot more importantly, how it will emerge) in the coming years, as well as the swarms of nanobots that will at some point comprise most of our bodies, and the practical telepathy people will accomplish utilizing long term engineering, and an whole host of other factors that the hopeful Singularitarians hold genuine in their vision of a better future humanity. Certainly, in numerous methods, what we seem to be to be dealing with right here is a new kind of “fringe” religion, of sorts… the vast majority of what Singularity entails, although backed by a number of facts and promising trends, seems to be largely faith-based mostly.

All that stated, I don’t consider that careful and reasoned speculation (yes, calling a spade a spade here) is such a bad point. Possibly we can actually find out from, or even stand to obtain from the study of factors like Singularity. But if that’s the case… couldn’t we also open our minds to the possibility that the identical might hold accurate for reasoned, skeptical study of spirituality, metaphysical sciences, or even UFOs? Perhaps in this case, the open-minded among us will get to have our cake, and eat it too.

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