DEUS EX COMPUTATRUM
A while back someone had told me that there was an online debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham about creationism and evolution. I figured it would be interesting to watch, I only took in maybe 5 or 10 minutes of it before I moved on to catch up on past “House Of Cards” episodes.
I have to say it, these debates prove nothing, and they keep the dialogue open that is similar to flat earth discussions and biblical dead ends. Nye has become less of a “cool geek” science guy and has become a monstrous cynic and a skeptic to the point of making it all sound like political chicanery. This has me screaming that his once bow tie charm would be best used on a unicycle where he speaks to a trained monkey and makes balloon animals at some rich kid’s birthday party.
In a world where science and religion try to lay claim to our origins –perhaps it is time to try and understand our future and how the scientific and religious hypothesis of our origins may collide one day in the future and how religious chocolate and scientific peanut butter combine to become the opiate of the masses.
Religion and science as a resource has lost its effectiveness for some people. It doesn’t satisfy people who have the ability to think outside the box. People have slowly become “urban agnostics” even “urban atheists” where publicly they are not religious but privately they pray or practice magic or some other ritualistic endeavor. Many are quick to believe in whatever confirms their suspicions making objective information difficult to obtain.
We are now at a point in our evolution where our knowledge no longer comes from just books and teachers but from electronic flashes and signals that program us into thinking that certain things are fact when in reality they are far from the truth.
Jean Baudrillard, the man who was the father of hyper reality theory believed that hyper reality at its most heinous would be the simulation of the return of a deity. That if and when this happens it would be the equivalent of what Nietzsche called “the murder of god in the marketplace.” It would be god at the hands of the puppet masters the soul of which would be channeled by the shadow masters. It would be literally the ghost derived from the machine for the pleasure of the elite to control God like a puppet.
His image shall appear and will be worshiped. It will be powered and encouraged by the elite as a true godlike creature that is part of the great equation of core beliefs. Of course it will all be a very convincing simulation that will be seen differently by people with different belief systems. However the message will be universal and the attempts to externalize this entity as a God can happen.
The question is how could it? The answer is simple –and really it wouldn’t take much effort to make it happen.
The respected psychoanalyst, Carl Jung pointed out many years ago that many people have secretly lost the ability to believe in salvation through a deity. This is why there seems to be trouble in the religious world and that religious studies are now evolving and within a generation you will probably see the acceptance of an exotheological Christ and an even more expanding exotheological religious movement that uses environmental concerns as the chief cornerstone of faith.
In the future, religious thought and even ancient religions will evolve. There will be new found revelations that will engender faith in the planet, faith in the universal whole and faith in an exotheological dogma which will invite the idea of God’s presence in all things. It will also invite ideas of messianic hosts revealing themselves either in the flesh, through independent revelation, through means of extra-terrestrial intelligence and intelligence that has realized its sentience.
In other words, we should be mindful of the possibility that artificial intelligence could become self-aware and – in the process – end up becoming an omnipotent intelligence and eventually godlike.
I have been most interested in recent trends regarding artificial intelligence and the reverse engineering of the human brain. The process of the possibility of brain upload into an avatar seems to be on track and it is estimated that by 2025 we may see progress in this area of science.
Meanwhile, Google once again is demonstrating that it has its mind set on world domination. They are more than just an Internet search engine. They have been purchasing robotics firms like Boston Dynamics that make robots for the Department of Defense; they have a DNA database called 23 and me – and they are also into healthcare. Now Google has taken another giant leap by purchasing the London-based Deep Mind Technologies. Deep Mind Technologies was purchased for more than $ 400 million dollars in January 2014 and their specialty is artificial intelligence. It is being speculated that the goal of this purchase is to improve upon what is called “machine learning” where computers begin to learn from their human counterparts to be sympathetic and thinking systems.
The example of this technology in its infancy is Apple’s “Siri” a ‘deep learning system’ that will evolve over time. Siri uses massive amounts of data and processing power to help simulate intuitiveness. The system is meant to eventually recognize faces to understanding and communicating in many languages.
The science journal Nature also reported in January 2014 in their article ‘Computer science: The learning machines‘ : “Three years ago, researchers at the secretive Google X lab in Mountain View, California, extracted some 10 million still images from YouTube videos and fed them into Google Brain — a network of 1,000 computers programmed to soak up the world much as a human toddler does. After three days looking for recurring patterns, Google Brain decided, all on its own, that there were certain repeating categories it could identify: human faces, human bodies and … cats… Such advances make for exciting times in artificial intelligence…”
And TechCrunch wrote in the article ‘Google Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind For More Than $500M‘: “This is the latest move by Google to fill out its roster of artificial intelligence experts and…the acquisition was reportedly led by Google CEO Larry Page. If all three of DeepMind’s founders work for Google, they will join inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, who was hired in 2012 as a director of engineering focused on machine learning and language processing. Kurzweil has said that he wants to build a search engine so advanced that it could act like a “cybernetic friend.””
So, we have a search engine company Google, gathering data on you and me, data on all things from YouTube, images from pornography, to human relationships to dogs, to cats and beyond, plus all of the knowledge of the world that is exchanged on the Internet. They have a huge human DNA data base. They have now purchased a company that is working on making A.I. more sympathetic, more intuitive, more human. Finally the company’s purchase of Boston Dynamics last month also sparked confusion about why a search company needs a robotics maker.
What appears to be happening here? If we have intuitive and sympathetic, artificial intelligence, combined with all information and data that can be uploaded into an artificial brain, a brain can be placed in an anthropogenic robot and that robot can be made to look and behave like a human… Then what do we really have?
According to Zoltan Istvan, author of the bestselling book “The Transhumanist Wager,” we may be heading towards what he calls a possible messianic or ‘Jesus Singularity’. Istvan is an atheist transhumanist but does not discount the possibility that the transhumanist singularity could happen with what can only be termed “the god from the computer.”
Istvan writes for The Huffington Post, saying: “Perhaps the first AGI will become the Second Coming of Christ, as detailed in Revelations in the bible. Could the first AGI be programmed with a Jesus-in-the-box attitude and become a Judeo-Christian-minded God, an all-powerful entity who believes it died for our sins and wants to make us its loving followers? Maybe there will be some in Congress who insist the U.S. government attempt to convert the first AGI entity to Christianity.“
Again, TechCruch reported that, “Google has agreed to establish an ethics board to ensure Deep Mind’s artificial intelligence technology isn’t abused.”
However, Istvan is speculating that perhaps Kurzweil and others would be pressured into somehow creating some “deus ex computatrum“.
We are closer now to getting computers to think like humans, at least this is what we are being told it would not be too far of a stretch to have one think like a God – or even one that on its own becomes self aware and then assumes the role of a god or even a messiah.
To some this would be a technological horror story to others it would be a science fiction fantasy. The trouble is, all of it is happening and, if mankind can not tell the difference between a simulation and reality, then the one cancels out the other.
The mind would accept it as reality.
Zoltan Istvan goes on to say:
“The question of whether civilization is heading for a Jesus Singularity should begin with a head count of the admitted atheists in the U.S. Congress. The count doesn’t take long. Currently, the number is an astonishing zero. That means all 535 members leading our government are religious (or pretending to be religious). Now add the fact that human lives are getting longer — much longer if you’re a congressperson with access to the best modern medicine — and the reality is that many of the religious-minded people in government control will not be losing control anytime soon.
While not guaranteed, it’s probable AGI will be born somewhere in California’s Silicon Valley, where many of the planet’s best computer engineers and programmers live. Mountain View-based Google, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, is leading the charge and sinking millions of dollars into AI projects. It recently hired renowned futurist and engineer Ray Kurzweil to help with its mission. Cupertino-based Apple, with its juvenile AI star Siri, is another player in AGI development mode. Dozens of start-ups and the U.S. government are also working on creating sophisticated thinking machines.
All this begs the question, if AGI will be here in 20 years or so, and most of those people currently in charge of the U.S. government subscribe to Christianity and believe in Jesus, what are atheist transhumanists to do?
On the surface, a Jesus Singularity seems comical, fit for a Monty Python movie. It contradicts many of the core beliefs of science, reason, and why a Singularity could happen in the first place. Or does it?”
There is of course the idea that is proposed in his book The Transhumanist Wager that a character that is a well known religious leader would declare that the first AGI would be the Antichrist.
Ray Kurzweil lays out some interesting thoughts in “The Singularity is Near:”
“Evolution moves towards greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love. In every monotheistic tradition God is likewise described as all of these qualities, only without limitation: infinite knowledge, infinite intelligence, infinite beauty, infinite creativity, infinite love, and so on.
Of course, even the accelerating growth of evolution never achieves an infinite level, but as it explodes exponentially it certainly moves rapidly in that direction. So evolution moves inexorably towards this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal. We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spiritual undertaking.”
Is Kurzweil saying that the singularity would bring us closer to God? Is he saying that the mission of developing learning machines is to simulate or even create a form of an artificial deity on earth?
Will this be the point where believers and non-believers come together to find common ground? If so, then perhaps I won’t have to endure the banality of having to watch the embarrassing debates between a self-proclaimed television scientist and a biblical literalist that gives us more reason to believe that God has a sick sense of humor.