Bow down to the new robot religion
Are we ready for a religious revolution? How about a robot revolution?
With our mixed up society, perhaps it’s time to combine the two. The Daily Beast reports that there are new cults arising who might want to do just that. If you’ve lost all faith in humanity you may want to consider a new path with robots as your saviors.
How far should we integrate human physiology with technology? What do we do with self-aware androids—like Blade Runner’s replicants—and self-aware supercomputers? Or the merging of our brains with them? If Ray Kurzweil’s famous singularity—a future in which the exponential growth of technology turns into a runaway train—becomes a reality, does religion have something to offer in response?
On the one hand, new religions can emerge from technology.
In Sweden, for example, Kopimism is a recognized faith founded over a decade ago with branches internationally. It began on a “pirate Agency Forum” and is derived from the words “copy me.” They have no views on the supernatural or gods. Rather, Kopimism celebrates the biological drive (e.g. DNA) to copy and be copied. Like digital monks, they believe that “copying of information” and “dissemination of information is ethically right.”
What happens when the machine becomes the master? Let’s face it… we’ve reached the stage where machines are already doing things which were unimaginable only a generation ago. And movies have shown us the path to a future where they might surpass human beings. So should we get ready to worship them as the superior intelligence?
I don’t know where the concept of Kopimism came from originally. The idea that DNA relies on replication and we can create replicating technology no doubt plays into that. But we’ve been duplicating technology for a long time. Still, one of the great fears among futurists is the concept of nanobots. Nanorobotics emerged some time ago as a technology based on creating machines or robots with components at or near the scale of a nanometre. That presents a theoretical danger which has been the basis for many movies and books.
But if technology can replicate itself, is it… “life” in some sense? And if technology can create and sustain a form of life, can it surpass its creators? I honestly hope that this is a fringe belief. We can’t really have fallen this far as a species. The things we create are only on this Earth because we summoned them. To take that analogy to the next level, Christianity tells us that humans are only on the planet because God placed us here. If you believe that man can create a technology which supplants God, then you never really believed in God to begin with.
There are, of course, those who believe that nanobots could make us immortal in your lifetime. (Computer World)
In 30 or 40 years, we’ll have microscopic machines traveling through our bodies, repairing damaged cells and organs, effectively wiping out diseases. The nanotechnology will also be used to back up our memories and personalities.
In an interview with Computerworld, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil said that anyone alive come 2040 or 2050 could be close to immortal. The quickening advance of nanotechnology means that the human condition will shift into more of a collaboration of man and machine, as nanobots flow through human blood streams and eventually even replace biological blood, he added.
That may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Kurzweil, a member of the Inventor’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, says that research well underway today is leading to a time when a combination of nanotechnology and biotechnology will wipe out cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and diabetes.
Fair enough. Technology can do all sorts of things. But if you ascribe that much power to the robots, haven’t you already given up the fight?