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Singularity vs. Spirituality October 7, 2008

Posted by IntimatePower in interactions, technology.
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The Singularity is the moment when
1. artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, and will then be able to create an even higher level of intelligence.
2. human beings will be able to “download” their brains into a computer and thus will reach immortality.

In response to a blog post about the singularity at Kevin Kelly’s blog, I wrote the following:

I see this as a spiritual and philosophical issue, not a technological one.
I’d like to offer some ideas and questions that I’ve been contemplating:

1. Singularitans think that consciousness arises from the brain, while spiritualists believe that consciousness arises from the soul, and that the brain and body is just a physical manifestation of the soul.

2. The brain is just a machine – advanced, complex, evolved enough, to serve the soul on this physical plain.
The soul “downloads” itself into the brain, into the body.
It’s the hardware without the software.
Without the soul, it’s just meat.

3. Kurtzweil or others may transfer their brain structure to a computer, but the result will be what William Gibson calls a personality construct – a copy of the persons’ character, persona, memories, etc., which can be programmed to appear self aware, but will not really be.

4. However, I also see it as possible that, as AI gets sufficiently strong, a soul can take residence in it, and for outside observers it would seem as tough the AI has reached self awareness by its own.

5. Which human abilities can _never_ be replicated or surpassed by a machine ?

6. Does high intelligence necessarily mean consciousness and/or self-awareness?

7. What about emotional intelligence ?

8. I see some of the hopes towards singularity and immortality as a simple fear of death and the denial of spirituality.