The NY Times SundayBusiness section ran an article titled, “Merely Human? So Yesterday” about the Singularity Movement. Singularity, according to this article, is ” a time, possibly just a few decades from now, when a superior intelligence will dominate and life will take on an altered form that we can’t predict or comprehend in our current, limited state.” Technology and humans merge with technology taking the leading role.
The Singularity Movement has a university, aptly named, Singularity University that was started in 2008 by Mr. Kurzweil and Mr. Diamandis, with the help of Google co-founder Larry Page. The corporate founders are listed as Autodesk, Google, and ePlanet Ventures. The purpose of the university is to educate entrepreneurs on leading-edge technologies and it offers attendees contact with leading thinkers of our time. With this mission, I agree. I think it is fantastic that the bright minds of our time are collaborating and sharing ideas to solve the world’s woes.
What I have a hard time with is the side of the movement that, according to the NY Times article “offers a modern-day, quasi-religious answer to the Fountain of Youth by affirming the notion that, yes, indeed, humans — or at least something derived from them — can have it all.” The article quotes founder Kurzweil as saying, “‘We will transcend all of the limitations of our biology.”” As a practicing Buddhist, this is where I have to bow out. I am a huge fan of technology and believe it does and will continue to solve many of the world’s woes, but I still want to be human. I still want to be with the ‘pain body’ that we have on this earth. I don’t want technology to fix death.
Another NY Times article, “What Broke My Father’s Heart“, addresses the very issue of technology extending life. Sometimes it is better to accept death. To accept being human.
I hope Singularity University is successful in it’s stated mission, ” . . . to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who understand and develop exponentially advancing technologies to address Humanity’s Grand Challenges.” I just hope we keep Humanity the key focus, and not let technology take the lead.