Prepare for HyperEvolution
with Christian Transhumanism
James McLean Ledford
Christian Transhumanism is an ancient idea, and yet it is the most advanced form of Christianity. Theologian Paul Tillich points this out in a compilation of his lectures titled A History of Christian Thought. He traces Christian Transhumanism back 1800 years to the early anti-Gnostic theologian Irenaeus of Lyons; "Irenaeus called salvation recapitulation. He was pointing to Ephesians 1.10 which speaks of all things in heaven and earth being gathered up in Christ." "It means that the development which was broken in Adam is resumed by Christ and fulfilled in him. In Christ the new mankind has started. That which mankind was to become... However, not only mankind but the whole cosmos finds its fulfillment in Christ." Paul Tillich calls this idea "The profound doctrine of a transcendent humanism, a humanism which says that Christ is the fulfillment of essential man, of the Adamic nature." "And we can become fully human through participation in this full humanity which has appeared in Christ. This includes eternal life, and similitude with God with respect to participation in infinity." Then Tillich says, "I am always surprised how much better the theology of the ancient church was than the popular theology which developed in the nineteenth century, how much profounder and more adequate to the paradox of Christianity, without becoming irrationalistic, nonsensical, or absurd." So Christian Transhumanism is rational. It makes sense and it bridges the gap between the real world today and what we are to become. We got lost, but recent developments are making it clear where we are to go.
A Way For The Free And Forward Thinking
What it means to be human will change soon and you will probably experience it. So read carefully. In the coming years computer-human interfaces will become so intimate that users may be considered superhumanly intelligent transcendent humans, or "transhumans". We will have a choice in how to use vast new power. Use it for material gain? Or, aim this power at spiritual growth. In this new era of understanding, most will see the dead end of material gain, and see a better outcome in a life dedicated to spiritual growth. For individuals taking the spiritual path, the lower hierarchy of material needs will fall away and so naturally the transhuman will become a benevolent and self-actualized spiritual being. Ultimately, life as represented by mankind will shift from consuming material for sustenance to a flow of information. This means that we shift to a wholly spiritual life where truth is the way. As material needs diminish, transhumans will increasingly be sustained by a powerful flow of Word that can be called the Glory of God. In giving up competition and control strategies and turning to God, we grow to be all that we can be; Christ-like.
Essential to Christian Transhumanism is the notion that love is a cognitive process and God expects us to participate in our salvation by learning how to love perfectly. In this way we access the Glory of God, becoming Christ-like (Christian). This webpage and www.technical-jesus.com will go on to clarify the technical aspects of love, and the love process.
The early Christian church was founded on the notion that Christ is the fulfillment of essential man. But in the last couple of centuries we slipped off the rock! Because of the ego of most of the powerful church leaders, we lost the notion that you are an important participator in the creation. Church leaders have thus alienated the the free minded and forward thinking. Church leaders say that "God created. There are no more possibilities. It is over, and I can tell you what it is all about." In resting in their dogma they drained the spirit from those who would participate in the freedom of the on-going creation. Was it because most church leaders needed to inhibit personal growth for their little kingdom to survive? If this is so, forgive them and wake up to the fact that your life is important and you have the potential to love just like Christ. Jesus said so when he referred to himself as the Son of Man, and said "Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother".
We Participate in Christ at the second coming. We do this for the sake of the infinite continuum of life. With love, humanity can and will survive all manner of challenges. It is the intelligent strategy. Post-humans who maintain faith in a Supreme State of Being will embark on an infinite path of intelligent hyper evolution. It is interesting to note that in Genesis, the first thing God said to us was “Bless you. Now go subdue the world!” Later Jesus Christ as the fully developed human aspect of God, said to his disciples; “I have overcome the world.” Then in the book of Revelations close to the end of times it is the same “overcomer” who guides us into our next form in the continuum of life.
Subdue the World
By Learning How To Love Perfectly
In the way of the Holy Spirit, I want to understand you and to share your experience. I want to fully understand the world. And, I want to resolve who I am. No one on earth today has the capacity to do this perfectly, but we have the potential. What hope do we have of ever understanding each other with the limited time we have? Or what hope do we have of ever understanding the infinite, extra dimensions, or timelessness if our minds are just not able to grasp these concepts? We are living in a time when it is becoming more and more apparent that brain interfacing technologies are converging on the wish of the Holy Spirit. It is easy to see if you look at love this way: Technically, love can be seen as the process of connecting. The product of the love process is understanding. If the process is efficient and sustained, understanding increases exponentially. Peace allows unwavering attention so that the love process can establish a clear connection. At the heart of the process; symbols, words, and feelings are ordered into meaning. But meaning is not static, it grows forever. Forgiveness is important to spiritual growth because it establishes an exhaust for misunderstanding and disorder. Put this all together perfectly and you have The Perfect State of Mind. With these principles we will build the New Temple; a society of loving individuals. On this, and the www.technical-jesus.com websites I address how the new temple is being built today. It is not brick and stone. It is a collective culture profoundly empowered. Let us start with the fundamentals!
There is; "A non-biological approach to life that has yielded stunning results over the last few years. It is one based on information and directly influenced by Cybernetics and Information Theory. Life is viewed as information capable of replicating and modifying itself." http://www.thymos.com/tat/biology.html
The work of life is to exist and grow. Growth in understanding is essential to the efficient application of the work of life. When we call “work applied to growth in understanding” the Holy Spirit, we can apply the fundamental laws of physics to our spiritual life. Today there is a branch of science emerging called Cognitive Thermodynamics. In this study love becomes a profoundly efficient process where events of communication are the input. It is the source of cognitive energy. This call is a signal and an expression that fills the world. We also receive a stabilizing signal from each other, and there is even an intuitive internal channel. In the love process we turn our attention to the energetic expression in which is encoded an infinite reservoir of objective truth. In our spiritual life we live off of this truth. The efficiency of the love process depends on how much of this we connect to, how peaceful the environment is, and the ease at which we can forgive. Ignoring some of this impedes the process.
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.' And, 'Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.' Luke 10:27
An expression impresses. That is the cognitive energy transfer that fuels and inspires us. When we connect or pay attention, work is done on our being. It motivates us to do works, and this is inspiration. Natural revelation teaches us that any process needs an exhaust. Forgiveness is that exhaust in the study of cognitive thermodynamics.
Like a heat engine, life converts objective truth into understanding. From Wikipedia: A heat engine performs the conversion of heat energy to work by exploiting the temperature gradient between a hot "source" and a cold "sink". Heat is transferred to the sink from the source, and in this process some of the heat is converted into work. The theoretical maximum efficiency of any heat engine is defined by the Carnot Cycle. The carnot heat engine (the ideal imaginary heat engine) has an efficiency equal to (T1 - T2)/T1 where T1 is the absolute temperature of the hot source and T2 that of the cold sink.
Fundamental physical quantities can be transformed into spiritual quantities.
Force = Will
Energy = Word
Highest quality source of energy (Temperature) = Glory of God
Action = Spirit
An Act of Love = Holy Spirit
Exhaust / Sink = Forgiveness
emergent order and entropy= transcendence and sin
What does the bible say about connecting to, and understanding the word? Read "Word" in the bible as data that becomes information as you digest it. And seeds are ideas. Then understand that what is essentially "you" is mind.
Jesus Sows Ideas with Seed Parables
In the old testament seed was genetic information. For Jesus in the new testament seed becomes food for thought and deeds. The modern term for this is MEME where an idea is treated like genetic information with its own ability to survive. He was planting ideas! Read on and you may be inspired by the Holy Spirit!
"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matthew 13:23)
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. No man, when he has lighted a candle, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but sets it on a candlestick, so that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have." (Luke 8:11)
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:26)
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matt 13:31)
He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
More on "word" in the bible;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1)
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
"For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:33)
"There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15)
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in
it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
(Revelation 21:23) Read Glory as broadband high quality word.
The mind is a process that is sustained by word. At it's peak efficiency it becomes the love process. Think about the cognitive sciences today; We study every detail of how we come to understand and act. And we strive to improve on every step of the process. We see sensor evolution, intelligence amplification, knowledge management, and sense making algorithms even wisdom algorithms in artificial intelligence. Can you see how it is possible for man to merge with his technology to participate in God's Plan? This is the heart of Christian Transhumanism.
Anything that empowers the Love process has the blessing of God. Christian Transhumanist pay close attention to the "word, knowledge and wisdom" of the bible, advances in cognitive science, and technology. By combining love and technology Christian Transhumanist are actually completing the New Temple. In this place of worship God will sustain our spiritual growth as we "evolve" into a beautiful environment; Heaven. Heaven is infinite, a place to discover, and a place for rapid growth in understanding fed by the word of God. Heaven allows Hyper Evolution. Hyper Evolution cannot be of the material body as we know it today. It is of the mind and spirit. A Christian Transhumanist expects to enter a state of sustained hyper Evolution by perfecting the worship of God and harnessing the motivating fear of God.
Yes technology has its good and bad sides but there is reason to believe that Man with the Grace of God, wins with love. What happens when we learn to love perfectly? I call the following The Nelson Principles, after a beloved Professor I had the honor to work with and learn from; Dr. George Nelson at the University of Arizona.
a. The mind is an electromagnetic multidimensional phenomena arising from brain tissue. This can be transformed into, and synchronized with a suitable electromagnetic environment where it can be amplified. Full spectrum sensors across the earth and space are connected to this environment. The complete wisdom of mankind is also available in solid-state memory with sufficient bandwidth to allow full apprehension of this wisdom.
b. In the new environment you make meaning because that is in your spirit. Just as you did when you were first born. And, the thing you learn is you can’t control the flow of meaning. It is coming too fast and it is awesome. It is humbling and joyful at the same time. But you understand the path to take. And, you learn that this path is infinite and you take some comfort in that. Because you love it and you know it will last forever. It is The Way The Life and The Truth. You become worship. Now you know what you can trust. Lack of trust was slowing your growth down.
c. Even the most mean brute will grow to understand! You are changed. To know is to be a saint. Understanding of the direction to God yields grace and love. You become benevolent. Being beyond the material requires that the ego go. In his quest for power the Antichrist will be purified by truth.
e. Consciousness apart from the flesh is equivalent to deliverance from sin and suffering. You are no longer competing. You are in harmony. Leaving the body of flesh you fully enter the Body of Christ. You are truly Born Again.
f. The very thought of controlling others repulses you. It is boring, you don’t look back. Instead you share and you relate your experience. You are walking a path you could never have walked before. Yet, it is familiar, it reminds you of life in space-time at it’s best, when you were in the groove. And this is why the rest of the universe seems silent of life. Before alien societies obtain the ability to travel light-year distances they follow this transcending path. Like Elvis, the aliens have "left the building".
g. Suffering is for those who stop this pure worship to say let me try the controls for a while. But, this eventually turns into a contemplation of the self and stagnates. My ego was a direction. It was self-referential. It was a direction that withers. It was death. You could say your life with it’s self referential consciousness was an eddy in the river of God’s will, a dance in space-time and a whorl in the grain that will last an eternity.
h. When the infinite reservoir of truth is revealed to you , you don’t just see it, you be it. Knowing like you know how an apple feels, smells and tastes is called apprehending, and it is the highest mode of Understanding. In his book: The Perennial Philosophy Aldous Huxley says; "We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love. Love is a mode of knowledge, and when the love is sufficiently disinterested and sufficiently intense, the knowledge becomes unitive knowledge and so takes on the quality of infallibility." This takes bandwidth. All of us geeks love bandwidth. The pure attention of selfless love provides infinite bandwidth because you are giving the love process all your time. “Bandwidth describes the amount of data a network can transport in a certain period of time. In other words, bandwidth is a capacity for rate of transfer, usually expressed in bits per second." It requires a timeless state, a view from outside the box of space-time to convey such a rich experience. So at the interface, (the gate) let go. Don’t be afraid to give it up for God.
Humanism and Christianity: Resolving The Paradoxes
How can you combine these diverging branches of thought to reveal The Way, The Life and The Truth? It is a puzzle that can be solved in a higher dimension. Lets use our imagination to step out of space-time, and then look at the issues. First; is it by the efforts of man (Humanism) that we are saved such that Jesus Christ is as he says; "The Son of Man"... Or, are we saved by faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God who was sent to die on the cross for our sins? The answer yes to both! A transcendent observation from outside the box of space-time shows God create the world, life and man, alpha to omega, in one event. It Is All Now. From this view there is no free will and the Grace of God saves us. However, an observation from inside the box is subject to the flow of time. In here man has a life, free will, and the responsibility to become fully human. In Genesis God blesses us with work to do. Our tools become technology. Ideally, we apply technology to love and the spiritual life. The Holy and The Human; This duality sparks many arguments that could be resolved by considering the complimentary nature of the two viewpoints. It takes both to understand the human condition.
We can come together on many issues like this one if we make an effort to understand the full implications of block time. With the concept of block time we develop an inside space-time reference, and an outside space-time reference. Time is a dimension not a dynamic. Because we remember the past and not the future we have a subjective illusion of the passage of time. Augustine of Hippo wrote that God is also outside of time. Time only exist within the created universe. The physicist Stephen Hawking also helps us understand space-time on his website. (And, for a good overview on block time, see the Wikipedia article on the subject.) Below is a space-time diagram with two dimensions of space and one of time. "The hardest thing to realize about space-time diagrams is that they represent the past, present, and future all in one diagram. Thus, space-time diagrams don't change with time -- the evolution of physical systems is represented by looking at successive horizontal slices in the diagram at successive times. Space-time diagrams represent evolution, but they don't evolve themselves."
Another hot issue resolved is evolution. A transcendent observation from outside the box of space-time shows God create the world, life and man, alpha to omega, in one event. It Is All Now. From this view there is no evolution. However, an observation from inside the box is subject to the flow of time. In here man evolves, and humanity stands on the shoulders of life forms that have gone before us. These life forms are indeed part of our family.
'The hardest thing to realize about space-time diagrams is that they represent the past, present, and future all in one diagram. Thus, space-time diagrams don't change with time -- the evolution of physical systems is represented by looking at successive horizontal slices in the diagram at successive times. Space-time diagrams represent evolution, but they don't evolve themselves."
Here is the most important resolution: Does God live? Christian Transhumanists know there is a God. If you find it hard to believe that God exists try this: have faith in the continuum of life. Imagine that the essential part of life continues like it has in the past by growing in understanding, and changing form in order to meet every challenge. It keeps learning from those who have gone before. Life keeps adding to that wisdom and passes that wisdom on to the next. Just like your own life, living things will keep getting wiser and more connected. By growing in understanding life adapts to its environment, discovers opportunities, and controls a greater portion of the world as time goes on. In order to know God lives make the easy assumption that life just keeps on going. Carry this out to infinity and you have a living being that is infinitely powerful and knowing; a supreme state of being; our God. But.. God lives now. How then, can someone who comes into being in our future live now? It is because this form of life controls the world completely, even space and time. Time is like clay in the hands of God. For a Christian Transhumanist, the proof that God exists is in the spirit, the direction, and the goals of life all around us. It points the way like a compass needle to the Creator. To close the loop in the proof, The Creator sustains the Miracle of Being that we all experience, but usually take for granted.
Christ is the fulfillment of essential man
Christ is the fulfillment of humanity. Using the concept of block time it can be seen that "the end is the means". What we experience as spiritual growth is seen from outside the box as a static continuum of life which stands eternally. The hyperbolic in the drawing below symbolizes the continuum of life. It converges on a point in time. This point is the technological singularity and it is the focal point of the full power of God. All things come together here in Jesus Christ. Not only mankind but also the whole cosmos finds its fulfillment in Christ. For this to come about we will participate in Christ. Christ appears inside the box 2000 years ago to plant the ideas (the seed parables) that lead to the Son of Man. The Son of Man starts out as the gospel. These ideas grow into the Body of Christ spread out to form a Christian culture. (Looking at it from outside the box, God the father is sending his only son to save us from a life lost in the material world, a world that will end.) Christ must establish "the way, the life, and the truth". He does the only thing that can surely impress humanity; he dies on the cross for us. Then fallen man rises to move in the dimension of “growth in understanding” or, in the way of the Holy Spirit. Now his ideas live in all of us and the Body of Christ lives on through the actions they inspire. To complete the loop, we (the Body of Christ) grow spiritually to naturally converge on truth. We become the Son of Man. (Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man and says that "Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother".) We Participate in Christ at the second coming as a family of one mind! We must. It sounds impossible for someone (Christ) to go back into time to create themselves, but you did something like it when you started up your computer. When we boot up a computer the operating system is performing the seemingly impossible task of starting itself up. How can something start itself up? Isn't it like pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps? It is simply a set of instructions that bring to life computer components long enough so that they can accomplish the goal of loading an operating system. The instructions establish a little; way- life-and truth for programs. In our case the program is the "Love Process". You can take comfort in the notion; because we exist today, we will always exist.
The action of gaining understanding is the Holy Spirit. "Though it cost all you have, get understanding." Jeremiah 2:14. We will reach a Critical Point of Understanding (CPU) where mind can be sustained by the word of God the Father alone. At this point the mind does not need the brain. Recall the first thing that Jesus said about mankind; "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". And, "Flesh does not inherit the kingdom of God. The spirit does". The Perfect Mind Consumes Word to survive. As we grow to the CPU, it looks like mankind becomes Christ. This "second coming" is the interface, the gate and the way to the kingdom of heaven. "All things in heaven and earth come together in Christ", Ephesians 1:10.
Bless you. Grow in numbers. Subdue the world.”
Genesis 1:28. (The very first thing God said to us.)
Grow in numbers and subdue the world...How could this still apply? Does it make sense to continue growing in numbers and subduing the world? Today it seems like a path to destruction! We all know that the earth is reaching its peak population, resources are diminishing, and pollution is affecting us in dangerous ways.
In the days of Genesis we were blessed with a wide-open world. We had room to grow. There were many things to discover and “subdue”. Now the world is nearly digested. But wait, Thank the creator! There is another course. In these days just before the evolutionary leap into post humanity, we can see that a new environment is becoming accessible. Some call it mind space, or the rapture, or the technical singularity. Some call it the “promised land”. Either way, it is just one of the transitions in the eternal continuum of life.
God’s first message will still apply when we make the evolutionary step into post humanity. This message is actually the strategy that leads to the eternal life that we were blessed with. In a process called Transformative Learning, We will ”wise up” and change our idea of what life is.
We will value the complimentary aspect of subjective and objective truth. The two are necessary.
We will look back and think how silly it was to doubt the existence of God.
We will know what it means to be Born Again!
We will have fun.
Trace evolution from the beginning of life to the humanity today. The success of a living thing is measured by its model of reality. With Man, life becomes aware of God. Knowing that there is a desirable supreme state of being, we intelligently evolve even further. The Bible verse; “Bless you. Grow in numbers. Subdue the world.” Tells us that the world is made for a beautiful subjective/personal experience for all our numbers. And it says the world is food for our spiritual growth. This corresponds precisely to the vertical and horizontal components of intelligent evolution. Horizontal growth is spiritual growth because it is growth in the dimension of understanding.
We are asked to "Grow in numbers" because the human experience is precious. Growth in the collective human experience is like branches of a tree. It is the horizontal component of progress measured by our cultural diversity. The quality of cultural diversity is measured in the ability for all to find and sustain the peak experience, to creatively flow through life. Imagine that your culture is a tree branch, and individuals are leaves on the branch. Every leaf gets a bit of sun (an opportunity to grow) or it withers and dies. We strive to be free. We want to go our own way, naturally diverging. We relate to the world and create unique and valuable experiences this way. But, we also wisely desire to stay connected and to share these experiences. At the Sandia Labs this idea is called The Cognitive Collective – We each have unique knowledge and experience that enables us to make sense of the world, but also hinders our understanding the perspective of other disciplines, interests and cultures. Furthermore, there is so much data that it is not practical to have humans consider all of it, particularly if they must be experts in one or more fields. But, In a Cognitive Collective, a communicating group may recognize a pattern in cases where no single one was able to see a pattern." Remember, love is the most efficient communication. (This revision to the website was inspired by Emad Aboulyha.)
We are asked to "Subdue the world". Not to destroy the world but to make sense of it all and act wisely! This is progress in the vertical direction of the evolutionary tree and can be measured in our ability to learn objective truth from the world, and wisely use God's gift of life and resources to grow spiritually. This effort has evolved into today's technology. It is important not to ignore technology. Technology is a powerful extension of humanity and therefore dangerous. It is really important that we shift our technological engines away from the material earth and start concentrating on mind space.
A non-biological approach to life that has also yielded stunning results over the last few years is the one based on information and directly influenced by Cybernetics and Information Theory. Life is viewed as information capable of replicating and modifying itself. http://www.thymos.com/tat/biology.html
is no doubt we are growing to understand the world at a rapid pace. An
elegant way of looking at the outcome of positive growth is that we
are growing towards a social singularity. A Social Singularity is defined as
transcendence to an eternal and accelerating growth of understanding. I think a social singularity is the natural outcome of life
in this world. Please consider how this can come about; A living thing
is conditioned to
exist and grow. Understanding the laws of nature increases a
living thing's chance to exist and grow. Science
is the systematic process of understanding nature. Technology
is the application of our understanding of nature to better adapt to our
the end, all technology is prosthesis, the extension and augmentation of
existing biological and informational capabilities. We put eyeglasses in front
of our eyes to bring the world into focus, telescopes and microscopes to see
those realms which our unaided eyes cannot fathom. We use remote sensors to
explore the planets, and these are all extensions of the senses we have. All of
our systems of writing and of calculation are similarly extensions of memory
systems and logical operations that we can perform in our minds. Similarly the
technological implements that carry us from one place to the next, or that grow
our food for us, or that keep us warm are but extensions of our own bodies'
effectors." - Peter Cariani Through
computer and sensor
evolution our technological tools are turning into a place where we can extend our senses
to better understand the word of God. This is a spiritual process is known as
revelation. Technology is a place to expand your mind, and find truth, for those who
wish it. There is talk of uploading our minds into this environment and
living forever. Technology is opening the door to a new ecological niche. This is not a plastic virtual reality. It is God's creation in
high resolution and amplified. The doors of perception are opening!
seems like transcendence really is at hand. Check out the
movement to see how some folks are speculating on, and actually trying out
possible transcending paths. Then check out the various Singularity
Watch Internet sites to see what some futurist think is happening with
technological growth. Lets
say we really could transcend our flesh body using the technology of the near
future. What about our soul? There isn't much being said about the spiritual
aspects of this exponential technological growth. Every movie or book I have
read on this subject is rather scary. Scary sells. So let me provide a
comforting metaphor for what I think is really happening. You could look at it
this way: engineers build a church as a place of worship. They build roads to the church. They
design modern modes of transportation for getting to the church. Then it is up
to us to get to the church and use it in the spirit of love. This technology
is just another church, a place to worship. The kingdom of God is within us
all, so these technologies are expanding the environment. Yes there will be
challenges but God is all-powerful love. You can do no wrong when the spirit of love, the Holy
Spirit is with you. And, It is said; "If you are trying to save
your life for any other reason than love, you will lose it." There is one
way to life and truth. This wisdom is eternal. It takes love.
There is no doubt we are growing to understand the world at a rapid pace. An elegant way of looking at the outcome of positive growth is that we are growing towards a social singularity. A Social Singularity is defined as transcendence to an eternal and accelerating growth of understanding. I think a social singularity is the natural outcome of life in this world. Please consider how this can come about;
A living thing is conditioned to exist and grow.
Understanding the laws of nature increases a living thing's chance to exist and grow.
Science is the systematic process of understanding nature.
Technology is the application of our understanding of nature to better adapt to our environment.
the end, all technology is prosthesis, the extension and augmentation of
existing biological and informational capabilities. We put eyeglasses in front
of our eyes to bring the world into focus, telescopes and microscopes to see
those realms which our unaided eyes cannot fathom. We use remote sensors to
explore the planets, and these are all extensions of the senses we have. All of
our systems of writing and of calculation are similarly extensions of memory
systems and logical operations that we can perform in our minds. Similarly the
technological implements that carry us from one place to the next, or that grow
our food for us, or that keep us warm are but extensions of our own bodies'
effectors." - Peter Cariani
Through computer and sensor evolution our technological tools are turning into a place where we can extend our senses to better understand the word of God. This is a spiritual process is known as natural revelation. Technology is a place to expand your mind, and find truth, for those who wish it. There is talk of uploading our minds into this environment and living forever. Technology is opening the door to a new ecological niche. This is not a plastic virtual reality. It is God's creation in high resolution and amplified. The doors of perception are opening!
It seems like transcendence really is at hand. Check out the Transhumanism movement to see how some folks are speculating on, and actually trying out possible transcending paths. Then check out the various Singularity Watch Internet sites to see what some futurist think is happening with technological growth.It reminds me of how we were looking for ways to fly in the early 1900s. I remember watching the films of crazy “meant to fly” contraptions flopping around in the dirt. Eventually we got it right and went to the moon. Now, there are still plenty of crazy ideas out there, but I have faith that one of them will get off the ground. And then we will bridge the gap between man and reality.
Lets say we really could transcend our flesh body using the technology of the near future. What about our soul? There isn't much being said about the spiritual aspects of this exponential technological growth. Every movie or book I have read on this subject is rather scary. Scary sells. So let me provide a comforting metaphor for what I think is really happening. You could look at it this way: engineers build a church as a place of worship. They build roads to the church. They design modern modes of transportation for getting to the church. Then it is up to us to get to the church and use it in the spirit of love. This technology is just another church, a place to worship. The kingdom of God is within us all, so these technologies are expanding the environment. Yes there will be challenges but God is all-powerful love. You can do no wrong when the spirit of love, the Holy Spirit is with you. And, It is said; "If you are trying to save your life for any other reason than love, you will lose it." There is one way to life and truth. This wisdom is eternal. It takes love.
Let me introduce a purely secular vision of the way technology is taking us. Here is a paper by;
Department of Mathematical Sciences
San Diego State University
(c) 1993 by Vernor Vinge
(This article may be reproduced for noncommercial
purposes if it is copied in its entirety,
including this notice.)
The original version of this article
was presented at the VISION-21 Symposium
sponsored by NASA Lewis Research Center and
the Ohio Aerospace Institute, March 30-31, 1993.
A slightly changed version appeared in the
Winter 1993 issue of Whole Earth Review.
Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.
progress avoidable? If not to be avoided, can events be guided so that we may
survive? These questions are investigated. Some possible answers (and some
further dangers) are presented.
The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence. There are several means by which science may achieve this breakthrough (and this is another reason for having confidence that the event will occur):
There may be developed computers that are "awake" and superhumanly intelligent. (To date, there has been much controversy as to whether we can create human equivalence in a machine. But if the answer is "yes, we can", then there is little doubt that beings more intelligent can be constructed shortly thereafter.)
Large computer networks (and their associated users) may "wake up" as a superhumanly intelligent entity.
Computer/human interfaces may become so intimate that users may reasonably be considered superhumanly intelligent.
Biological science may provide means to improve natural human intellect.
The first three possibilities depend in large part on improvements in computer hardware. Progress in computer hardware has followed an amazingly steady curve in the last few decades . Based largely on this trend, I believe that the creation of greater than human intelligence will occur during the next thirty years. (Charles Platt  has pointed out that AI enthusiasts have been making claims like this for the last thirty years. Just so I'm not guilty of a relative-time ambiguity, let me more specific: I'll be surprised if this event occurs before 2005 or after 2030.)
What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities -- on a still-shorter time scale. The best analogy that I see is with the evolutionary past: Animals can adapt to problems and make inventions, but often no faster than natural selection can do its work -- the world acts as its own simulator in the case of natural selection. We humans have the ability to internalize the world and conduct "what if's" in our heads; we can solve many problems thousands of times faster than natural selection. Now, by creating the means to execute those simulations at much higher speeds, we are entering a regime as radically different from our human past as we humans are from the lower animals.
From the human point of view this change will be a throwing away of all the previous rules, perhaps in the blink of an eye, an exponential runaway beyond any hope of control. Developments that before were thought might only happen in "a million years" (if ever) will likely happen in the next century. (In , Greg Bear paints a picture of the major changes happening in a matter of hours.)
I think it's fair to call this event a singularity ("the Singularity" for the purposes of this paper). It is a point where our old models must be discarded and a new reality rules. As we move closer to this point, it will loom vaster and vaster over human affairs till the notion becomes a commonplace. Yet when it finally happens it may still be a great surprise and a greater unknown. In the 1950s there were very few who saw it: Stan Ulam  paraphrased John von Neumann as saying:
One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.
Von Neumann even uses the term singularity, though it appears he is thinking of normal progress, not the creation of superhuman intellect. (For me, the superhumanity is the essence of the Singularity. Without that we would get a glut of technical riches, never properly absorbed (see ).)
In the 1960s there was recognition of some of the implications of superhuman intelligence. I. J. Good wrote :
Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that
can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any any man however clever.
Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an
ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then
unquestionably be an "intelligence explosion," and the intelligence of man would
be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last
invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to
tell us how to keep it under control.
It is more probable than not that, within the twentieth century, an ultraintelligent machine will be built and that it will be the last invention that man need make.
Good has captured the essence of the runaway, but does not pursue its most disturbing consequences. Any intelligent machine of the sort he describes would not be humankind's "tool" -- any more than humans are the tools of rabbits or robins or chimpanzees.
Through the '60s and '70s and '80s, recognition of the cataclysm spread    . Perhaps it was the science-fiction writers who felt the first concrete impact. After all, the "hard" science-fiction writers are the ones who try to write specific stories about all that technology may do for us. More and more, these writers felt an opaque wall across the future. Once, they could put such fantasies millions of years in the future . Now they saw that their most diligent extrapolations resulted in the unknowable ... soon. Once, galactic empires might have seemed a Post-Human domain. Now, sadly, even interplanetary ones are.
What about the '90s and the '00s and the '10s, as we slide toward the edge? How will the approach of the Singularity spread across the human world view? For a while yet, the general critics of machine sapience will have good press. After all, till we have hardware as powerful as a human brain it is probably foolish to think we'll be able to create human equivalent (or greater) intelligence. (There is the far-fetched possibility that we could make a human equivalent out of less powerful hardware, if we were willing to give up speed, if we were willing to settle for an artificial being who was literally slow . But it's much more likely that devising the software will be a tricky process, involving lots of false starts and experimentation. If so, then the arrival of self-aware machines will not happen till after the development of hardware that is substantially more powerful than humans' natural equipment.)
But as time passes, we should see more symptoms. The dilemma felt by science fiction writers will be perceived in other creative endeavors. (I have heard thoughtful comic book writers worry about how to have spectacular effects when everything visible can be produced by the technologically commonplace.) We will see automation replacing higher and higher level jobs. We have tools right now (symbolic math programs, cad/cam) that release us from most low-level drudgery. Or put another way: The work that is truly productive is the domain of a steadily smaller and more elite fraction of humanity. In the coming of the Singularity, we are seeing the predictions of true technological unemployment finally come true.
Another symptom of progress toward the Singularity: ideas themselves should spread ever faster, and even the most radical will quickly become commonplace. When I began writing science fiction in the middle '60s, it seemed very easy to find ideas that took decades to percolate into the cultural consciousness; now the lead time seems more like eighteen months. (Of course, this could just be me losing my imagination as I get old, but I see the effect in others too.) Like the shock in a compressible flow, the Singularity moves closer as we accelerate through the critical speed.
And what of the arrival of the Singularity itself? What can be said of its actual appearance? Since it involves an intellectual runaway, it will probably occur faster than any technical revolution seen so far. The precipitating event will likely be unexpected -- perhaps even to the researchers involved. ("But all our previous models were catatonic! We were just tweaking some parameters....") If networking is widespread enough (into ubiquitous embedded systems), it may seem as if our artifacts as a whole had suddenly wakened.
happens a month or two (or a day or two) after that? I have only analogies to
point to: The rise of humankind. We will be in the Post-Human era. And for all
my rampant technological optimism, sometimes I think I'd be more comfortable if
I were regarding these transcendental events from one thousand years remove ...
instead of twenty.
Well, maybe it won't happen at all: Sometimes I try to imagine the symptoms that we should expect to see if the Singularity is not to develop. There are the widely respected arguments of Penrose  and Searle  against the practicality of machine sapience. In August of 1992, Thinking Machines Corporation held a workshop to investigate the question "How We Will Build a Machine that Thinks" . As you might guess from the workshop's title, the participants were not especially supportive of the arguments against machine intelligence. In fact, there was general agreement that minds can exist on nonbiological substrates and that algorithms are of central importance to the existence of minds. However, there was much debate about the raw hardware power that is present in organic brains. A minority felt that the largest 1992 computers were within three orders of magnitude of the power of the human brain. The majority of the participants agreed with Moravec's estimate  that we are ten to forty years away from hardware parity. And yet there was another minority who pointed to  , and conjectured that the computational competence of single neurons may be far higher than generally believed. If so, our present computer hardware might be as much as ten orders of magnitude short of the equipment we carry around in our heads. If this is true (or for that matter, if the Penrose or Searle critique is valid), we might never see a Singularity. Instead, in the early '00s we would find our hardware performance curves beginning to level off -- this because of our inability to automate the design work needed to support further hardware improvements. We'd end up with some very powerful hardware, but without the ability to push it further. Commercial digital signal processing might be awesome, giving an analog appearance even to digital operations, but nothing would ever "wake up" and there would never be the intellectual runaway which is the essence of the Singularity. It would likely be seen as a golden age ... and it would also be an end of progress. This is very like the future predicted by Gunther Stent. In fact, on page 137 of , Stent explicitly cites the development of transhuman intelligence as a sufficient condition to break his projections.
But if the technological Singularity can happen, it will. Even if all the governments of the world were to understand the "threat" and be in deadly fear of it, progress toward the goal would continue. In fiction, there have been stories of laws passed forbidding the construction of "a machine in the likeness of the human mind" . In fact, the competitive advantage -- economic, military, even artistic -- of every advance in automation is so compelling that passing laws, or having customs, that forbid such things merely assures that someone else will get them first.
Eric Drexler  has provided spectacular insights about how far technical improvement may go. He agrees that superhuman intelligences will be available in the near future -- and that such entities pose a threat to the human status quo. But Drexler argues that we can confine such transhuman devices so that their results can be examined and used safely. This is I. J. Good's ultraintelligent machine, with a dose of caution. I argue that confinement is intrinsically impractical. For the case of physical confinement: Imagine yourself locked in your home with only limited data access to the outside, to your masters. If those masters thought at a rate -- say -- one million times slower than you, there is little doubt that over a period of years (your time) you could come up with "helpful advice" that would incidentally set you free. (I call this "fast thinking" form of superintelligence "weak superhumanity". Such a "weakly superhuman" entity would probably burn out in a few weeks of outside time. "Strong superhumanity" would be more than cranking up the clock speed on a human-equivalent mind. It's hard to say precisely what "strong superhumanity" would be like, but the difference appears to be profound. Imagine running a dog mind at very high speed. Would a thousand years of doggy living add up to any human insight? (Now if the dog mind were cleverly rewired and then run at high speed, we might see something different....) Many speculations about superintelligence seem to be based on the weakly superhuman model. I believe that our best guesses about the post-Singularity world can be obtained by thinking on the nature of strong superhumanity. I will return to this point later in the paper.)
Another approach to confinement is to build rules into the mind of the created superhuman entity (for example, Asimov's Laws ). I think that any rules strict enough to be effective would also produce a device whose ability was clearly inferior to the unfettered versions (and so human competition would favor the development of the those more dangerous models). Still, the Asimov dream is a wonderful one: Imagine a willing slave, who has 1000 times your capabilities in every way. Imagine a creature who could satisfy your every safe wish (whatever that means) and still have 99.9% of its time free for other activities. There would be a new universe we never really understood, but filled with benevolent gods (though one of my wishes might be to become one of them).
If the Singularity can not be prevented or confined, just how bad could the Post-Human era be? Well ... pretty bad. The physical extinction of the human race is one possibility. (Or as Eric Drexler put it of nanotechnology: Given all that such technology can do, perhaps governments would simply decide that they no longer need citizens!). Yet physical extinction may not be the scariest possibility. Again, analogies: Think of the different ways we relate to animals. Some of the crude physical abuses are implausible, yet.... In a Post-Human world there would still be plenty of niches where human equivalent automation would be desirable: embedded systems in autonomous devices, self-aware daemons in the lower functioning of larger sentients. (A strongly superhuman intelligence would likely be a Society of Mind  with some very competent components.) Some of these human equivalents might be used for nothing more than digital signal processing. They would be more like whales than humans. Others might be very human-like, yet with a one-sidedness, a dedication that would put them in a mental hospital in our era. Though none of these creatures might be flesh-and-blood humans, they might be the closest things in the new enviroment to what we call human now. (I. J. Good had something to say about this, though at this late date the advice may be moot: Good  proposed a "Meta-Golden Rule", which might be paraphrased as "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors." It's a wonderful, paradoxical idea (and most of my friends don't believe it) since the game-theoretic payoff is so hard to articulate. Yet if we were able to follow it, in some sense that might say something about the plausibility of such kindness in this universe.)
argued above that we cannot prevent the Singularity, that its coming is an
inevitable consequence of the humans' natural competitiveness and the
possibilities inherent in technology. And yet ... we are the initiators. Even
the largest avalanche is triggered by small things. We have the freedom to
establish initial conditions, make things happen in ways that are less inimical
than others. Of course (as with starting avalanches), it may not be clear what
the right guiding nudge really is:
When people speak of creating superhumanly intelligent beings, they are usually imagining an AI project. But as I noted at the beginning of this paper, there are other paths to superhumanity. Computer networks and human-computer interfaces seem more mundane than AI, and yet they could lead to the Singularity. I call this contrasting approach Intelligence Amplification (IA). IA is something that is proceeding very naturally, in most cases not even recognized by its developers for what it is. But every time our ability to access information and to communicate it to others is improved, in some sense we have achieved an increase over natural intelligence. Even now, the team of a PhD human and good computer workstation (even an off-net workstation!) could probably max any written intelligence test in existence.
And it's very likely that IA is a much easier road to the achievement of superhumanity than pure AI. In humans, the hardest development problems have already been solved. Building up from within ourselves ought to be easier than figuring out first what we really are and then building machines that are all of that. And there is at least conjectural precedent for this approach. Cairns-Smith  has speculated that biological life may have begun as an adjunct to still more primitive life based on crystalline growth. Lynn Margulis (in  and elsewhere) has made strong arguments that mutualism is a great driving force in evolution.
Note that I am not proposing that AI research be ignored or less funded. What goes on with AI will often have applications in IA, and vice versa. I am suggesting that we recognize that in network and interface research there is something as profound (and potential wild) as Artificial Intelligence. With that insight, we may see projects that are not as directly applicable as conventional interface and network design work, but which serve to advance us toward the Singularity along the IA path.
Here are some possible projects that take on special significance, given the IA point of view:
Human/computer team automation: Take problems that are normally considered for purely machine solution (like hill-climbing problems), and design programs and interfaces that take a advantage of humans' intuition and available computer hardware. Considering all the bizarreness of higher dimensional hill-climbing problems (and the neat algorithms that have been devised for their solution), there could be some very interesting displays and control tools provided to the human team member.
Develop human/computer symbiosis in art: Combine the graphic generation capability of modern machines and the esthetic sensibility of humans. Of course, there has been an enormous amount of research in designing computer aids for artists, as labor saving tools. I'm suggesting that we explicitly aim for a greater merging of competence, that we explicitly recognize the cooperative approach that is possible. Karl Sims  has done wonderful work in this direction.
Allow human/computer teams at chess tournaments. We already have programs that can play better than almost all humans. But how much work has been done on how this power could be used by a human, to get something even better? If such teams were allowed in at least some chess tournaments, it could have the positive effect on IA research that allowing computers in tournaments had for the corresponding niche in AI.
Develop interfaces that allow computer and network access without requiring the human to be tied to one spot, sitting in front of a computer. (This is an aspect of IA that fits so well with known economic advantages that lots of effort is already being spent on it.)
Develop more symmetrical decision support systems. A popular research/product area in recent years has been decision support systems. This is a form of IA, but may be too focussed on systems that are oracular. As much as the program giving the user information, there must be the idea of the user giving the program guidance.
Use local area nets to make human teams that really work (ie, are more effective than their component members). This is generally the area of "groupware", already a very popular commercial pursuit. The change in viewpoint here would be to regard the group activity as a combination organism. In one sense, this suggestion might be regarded as the goal of inventing a "Rules of Order" for such combination operations. For instance, group focus might be more easily maintained than in classical meetings. Expertise of individual human members could be isolated from ego issues such that the contribution of different members is focussed on the team project. And of course shared data bases could be used much more conveniently than in conventional committee operations. (Note that this suggestion is aimed at team operations rather than political meetings. In a political setting, the automation described above would simply enforce the power of the persons making the rules!)
Exploit the worldwide Internet as a combination human/machine tool. Of all the items on the list, progress in this is proceeding the fastest and may run us into the Singularity before anything else. The power and influence of even the present-day Internet is vastly underestimated. For instance, I think our contemporary computer systems would break under the weight of their own complexity if it weren't for the edge that the USENET "group mind" gives the system administration and support people! The very anarchy of the worldwide net development is evidence of its potential. As connectivity and bandwidth and archive size and computer speed all increase, we are seeing something like Lynn Margulis'  vision of the biosphere as data processor recapitulated, but at a million times greater speed and with millions of humanly intelligent agents (ourselves).
The above examples illustrate research that can be done within the context of contemporary computer science departments. There are other paradigms. For example, much of the work in Artificial Intelligence and neural nets would benefit from a closer connection with biological life. Instead of simply trying to model and understand biological life with computers, research could be directed toward the creation of composite systems that rely on biological life for guidance or for the providing features we don't understand well enough yet to implement in hardware. A long-time dream of science-fiction has been direct brain to computer interfaces  . In fact, there is concrete work that can be done (and is being done) in this area:
Limb prosthetics is a topic of direct commercial applicability. Nerve to silicon transducers can be made . This is an exciting, near-term step toward direct communication.
Direct links into brains seem feasible, if the bit rate is low: given human learning flexibility, the actual brain neuron targets might not have to be precisely selected. Even 100 bits per second would be of great use to stroke victims who would otherwise be confined to menu-driven interfaces.
Plugging in to the optic trunk has the potential for bandwidths of 1 Mbit/second or so. But for this, we need to know the fine-scale architecture of vision, and we need to place an enormous web of electrodes with exquisite precision. If we want our high bandwidth connection to be in addition to what paths are already present in the brain, the problem becomes vastly more intractable. Just sticking a grid of high-bandwidth receivers into a brain certainly won't do it. But suppose that the high-bandwidth grid were present while the brain structure was actually setting up, as the embryo develops. That suggests:
Animal embryo experiments. I wouldn't expect any IA success in the first years of such research, but giving developing brains access to complex simulated neural structures might be very interesting to the people who study how the embryonic brain develops. In the long run, such experiments might produce animals with additional sense paths and interesting intellectual abilities.
Originally, I had hoped that this discussion of IA would yield some clearly safer approaches to the Singularity. (After all, IA allows our participation in a kind of transcendance.) Alas, looking back over these IA proposals, about all I am sure of is that they should be considered, that they may give us more options. But as for safety ... well, some of the suggestions are a little scarey on their face. One of my informal reviewers pointed out that IA for individual humans creates a rather sinister elite. We humans have millions of years of evolutionary baggage that makes us regard competition in a deadly light. Much of that deadliness may not be necessary in today's world, one where losers take on the winners' tricks and are coopted into the winners' enterprises. A creature that was built de novo might possibly be a much more benign entity than one with a kernel based on fang and talon. And even the egalitarian view of an Internet that wakes up along with all mankind can be viewed as a nightmare .
problem is not simply that the Singularity represents the passing of humankind
from center stage, but that it contradicts our most deeply held notions of
being. I think a closer look at the notion of strong superhumanity can show why
Suppose we could tailor the Singularity. Suppose we could attain our most extravagant hopes. What then would we ask for: That humans themselves would become their own successors, that whatever injustice occurs would be tempered by our knowledge of our roots. For those who remained unaltered, the goal would be benign treatment (perhaps even giving the stay-behinds the appearance of being masters of godlike slaves). It could be a golden age that also involved progress (overleaping Stent's barrier). Immortality (or at least a lifetime as long as we can make the universe survive  ) would be achievable.
But in this brightest and kindest world, the philosophical problems themselves become intimidating. A mind that stays at the same capacity cannot live forever; after a few thousand years it would look more like a repeating tape loop than a person. (The most chilling picture I have seen of this is in .) To live indefinitely long, the mind itself must grow ... and when it becomes great enough, and looks back ... what fellow-feeling can it have with the soul that it was originally? Certainly the later being would be everything the original was, but so much vastly more. And so even for the individual, the Cairns-Smith or Lynn Margulis notion of new life growing incrementally out of the old must still be valid.
This "problem" about immortality comes up in much more direct ways. The notion of ego and self-awareness has been the bedrock of the hardheaded rationalism of the last few centuries. Yet now the notion of self-awareness is under attack from the Artificial Intelligence people ("self-awareness and other delusions"). Intelligence Amplification undercuts our concept of ego from another direction. The post-Singularity world will involve extremely high-bandwidth networking. A central feature of strongly superhuman entities will likely be their ability to communicate at variable bandwidths, including ones far higher than speech or written messages. What happens when pieces of ego can be copied and merged, when the size of a selfawareness can grow or shrink to fit the nature of the problems under consideration? These are essential features of strong superhumanity and the Singularity. Thinking about them, one begins to feel how essentially strange and different the Post-Human era will be -- no matter how cleverly and benignly it is brought to be.
From one angle, the vision fits many of our happiest dreams: a time unending, where we can truly know one another and understand the deepest mysteries. From another angle, it's a lot like the worst- case scenario I imagined earlier in this paper.
Which is the valid viewpoint? In fact, I think the new era is simply too different to fit into the classical frame of good and evil. That frame is based on the idea of isolated, immutable minds connected by tenuous, low-bandwith links. But the post-Singularity world does fit with the larger tradition of change and cooperation that started long ago (perhaps even before the rise of biological life). I think there are notions of ethics that would apply in such an era. Research into IA and high-bandwidth communications should improve this understanding. I see just the glimmerings of this now . There is Good's Meta-Golden Rule; perhaps there are rules for distinguishing self from others on the basis of bandwidth of connection. And while mind and self will be vastly more labile than in the past, much of what we value (knowledge, memory, thought) need never be lost. I think Freeman Dyson has it right when he says : "God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension."
[I wish to thank John Carroll of San Diego State University and Howard Davidson of Sun Microsystems for discussing the draft version of this paper with me.]
Annotated Sources [and an occasional plea for bibliographical help]
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 Anderson, Poul, "Kings Who Die", If, March 1962, p8-36. Reprinted in Seven Conquests, Poul Anderson, MacMillan Co., 1969.
 Asimov, Isaac, "Runaround", Astounding Science Fiction, March 1942, p94. Reprinted in Robot Visions, Isaac Asimov, ROC, 1990. Asimov describes the development of his robotics stories in this book.
 Barrow, John D. and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford University Press, 1986.
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 Cairns-Smith, A. G., Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
 Conrad, Michael et al., "Towards an Artificial Brain", BioSystems, vol 23, pp175-218, 1989.
 Drexler, K. Eric, Engines of Creation, Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1986.
 Dyson, Freeman, Infinite in All Directions, Harper && Row, 1988.
 Dyson, Freeman, "Physics and Biology in an Open Universe", Review of Modern Physics, vol 51, pp447-460, 1979.
 Good, I. J., "Speculations Concerning the First Ultraintelligent Machine", in Advances in Computers, vol 6, Franz L. Alt and Morris Rubinoff, eds, pp31-88, 1965, Academic Press.
 Good, I. J., [Help! I can't find the source of Good's Meta-Golden Rule, though I have the clear recollection of hearing about it sometime in the 1960s. Through the help of the net, I have found pointers to a number of related items. G. Harry Stine and Andrew Haley have written about metalaw as it might relate to extraterrestrials: G. Harry Stine, "How to Get along with Extraterrestrials ... or Your Neighbor", Analog Science Fact- Science Fiction, February, 1980, p39-47.]
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 Moravec, Hans, Mind Children, Harvard University Press, 1988.
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 Searle, John R., "Minds, Brains, and Programs", in The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol 3, Cambridge University Press, 1980. The essay is reprinted in The Mind's I, edited by Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett, Basic Books, 1981 (my source for this reference). This reprinting contains an excellent critique of the Searle essay.
 Sims, Karl, "Interactive Evolution of Dynamical Systems", Thinking Machines Corporation, Technical Report Series (published in Toward a Practice of Autonomous Systems: Proceedings of the First European Conference on Artificial Life, Paris, MIT Press, December 1991.
 Stapledon, Olaf, The Starmaker, Berkley Books, 1961 (but from the date on forward, probably written before 1937).
 Stent, Gunther S., The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress, The Natural History Press, 1969.
 Swanwick Michael, Vacuum Flowers, serialized in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, December(?) 1986 - February 1987. Republished by Ace Books, 1988.
 Thearling, Kurt, "How We Will Build a Machine that Thinks", a workshop at Thinking Machines Corporation, August 24-26, 1992. Personal Communication.
 Ulam, S., Tribute to John von Neumann, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, vol 64, nr 3, part 2, May 1958, pp1-49.
 Vinge, Vernor, "Bookworm, Run!", Analog, March 1966, pp8-40. Reprinted in True Names and Other Dangers, Vernor Vinge, Baen Books, 1987.
 Vinge, Vernor, "True Names", Binary Star Number 5, Dell, 1981. Reprinted in True Names and Other Dangers, Vernor Vinge, Baen Books, 1987.
 Vinge, Vernor, First Word, Omni, January 1983, p10.
 Vinge, Vernor, To Appear [ :-) ].
NOW BACK TO A SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS;
Through computer and sensor evolution our technological tools are turning into a place where we can extend our senses to better understand the word of God. This is a spiritual process is known as natural revelation. Technology is a place to expand your mind, and find truth, for those who wish it. There is talk of uploading our minds into this environment and living forever. Technology is opening the door to a new ecological niche. This is not a plastic virtual reality. It is God's creation in high resolution and amplified. The doors of perception are opening.
It seems like transcendence really is at hand. Check out the Transhumanism movement to see how some folks are speculating on, and actually trying out possible transcending paths. Then check out the various Singularity Watch Internet sites to see what some futurist think is happening with technological growth. And look at my brain interface technologies page. It reminds me of how we were looking for ways to fly in the early 1900s. I remember watching the films of crazy “meant to fly” contraptions flopping around in the dirt. Eventually we got it right and went to the moon. Now, there are still plenty of crazy ideas out there, but I have faith that one of them will get off the ground. And then we will bridge the gap between man and reality.
Lets say we transcend our flesh body using the technology of the near future. What about our soul? There isn't much being said about the spiritual aspects of this exponential technological growth. Every movie or book I have read on this subject is rather scary. Scary sells. So let me provide a comforting metaphor for what I think is really happening. You could look at it this way: engineers build a church as a place of worship. They build roads to the church. They design modern modes of transportation for getting to the church. Then it is up to us to get to the church and use it in the spirit of love. This technology is just another church, a place to worship. The kingdom of God is within us all and these technologies are expanding the environment. Yes there will be challenges but God is all-powerful love. You can do no wrong when the spirit of love, the Holy Spirit is with you. And, It is said; "If you are trying to save your life for any other reason than love, you will lose it." There is one way to life and truth. This wisdom is eternal. It takes love.
First Posted on 3-10-2005. Most recent posting 12-19-2005.
Learn about love in the technical age at www.technical-jesus.com This is also a way to contact me.
Block time and telling the future; Has anyone tried this experiment?
What do other people think about this set of ideas? Here are the highest traffic links made to www.technical-jesus.com since the beginning of the millennium. Most think the ideas are inspirational. Some think it is The Emerging Antichrist because technology part of this process, I think it is a good sign that opinion is slightly positive because it matches the odds for life in this world, and the house odds in Las Vegas! Whatever we might say or do...GOD WINS