Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Transcendent Man"

Does God exist? Well, I would say ‘not yet.’

-- Ray Kurzweil, last line in the movie Transcendent Man

Actually this is not a bad movie. Sure, Kurzweil is a self-promoter, but he does have some interesting ideas, and to be fair the film does include critics of his work (though my favorite remark about the Singularity, by Douglas Hofstadter, isn't included: "It’s as if you took a lot of very good food and some dog excrement and blended it all up so that you can't possibly figure out what's good or bad. It's an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it's very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they're not stupid").

1 comment:

Palang Thai said...

I agree it's a great movie, even if the guy seems driven by unhealthy fixation on mortality. There's some fascinating grist for the mill here: consciousness (of us, of the universe), death, immortality, God -- all through a perspective seeing human technology as another phase (albeit vastly accelerated) of the fundamental evolutionary process that has been at work 14 billion years or so.

The end of the movie has Ray saying, "Does God exist? Well, I would say ‘not yet.’"

The idea is that "we" or humans successor will ultimately suffuse the universe with nano-engineered intelligence. OK... but doesn't it seem awfully unlikely that we would be the first ones? Afterall, there's hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy alone. And hundreds of billions (at least) of galaxies out there. In other words, isn't it more likely that the substrate we live in -- all the matter and light in the cosmos -- is already suffused with consciousness and our science is just too ignorant yet to figure that out?