Eternal life through advanced technology seems like a pipe dream for a society that, until recently, had trouble manufacturing enough masks to save doctors' and nurses' lives. Yet Covid-19 may turn out to be just the kind of crisis needed to turbocharge efforts to create what its advocates call a "transhuman" future. With our biological fragility more obvious than ever, many people will be ready to embrace the message of the Transhumanist Declaration, an eight-point program first issued in 1998: "We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering and our confinement to planet Earth."
There is an abundance of well respected thinkers who believe this is possible, including Google Ventures founder Bill Maris, cited in the article, and Yuval Noah Harari, in his Homo Deus sets the tone early on by declaring:
In the twenty-first century, humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality...
Humans always die due to some technical glitch...
Nothing metaphysical about it. It is all technical problems.
Then of course, no discussion of techno-utopianism would be complete without Ray Kurzweil, who posits a "technological singularity" which would provide for a personalized and totally controlled universe for every human, one where they would be in complete control to experience whatever they desired, for all eternity, once we all upload our consciousnesses into the cloud.
[Ron:Eternal life through advanced technology is demonic nonsense promulgated by Talmudists and other demented atheists. Life is a gift of the Creator who infuses all Creation with conscious energy. Real life is spiritual not material. As I understand it, all life has an impetus to evolve, ie grow in cinsciousness. Life evolves from simple origins. Not everything can think. Rocks, trees, schrubs and flowers etc have an element of consciousness but arguably they do not think as we do because they have not developed an individual soul and lack personality and free will. In order to think self-consciously an entity has to have a dynamic connection to the mind of the Creator so that it can receive and interpret the conscious informational energies coming from the Creator.
Animals have varying degrees of consciousness depending on their level of energetic dynamic development. Individual animalsfirst become part of a group soul and gradually evolve through experience to higher animal forms which develop individual souls. Once an individual animal soul evolves sufficiently to cross the threshold of rational thought it is gifted with a spirit personality and the ability to think, as well as free will and, usually, a human physical form in its next incarnation.
Some higher animals like elephants, whales and dolphins have developed the consciousness levels attainable by humans. Generally though, when a lower animal like a horse, cat or dog graduates to be capable of conscious thought the spirit reincarnates in the human meat suit typical here. Because this is a free will universe there are exceptions. For instance thespirit of the beautiful Jim Key presumably chose to reincarnate as a horse. See eg: The Smartest Horse That Ever Lived - A True Story - http://abundanthope.net/pages/True_US_History_108/The-Smartest-Horse-That-Ever-Lived---A-True-Story.shtml
In Jim Key's case either a graduating animal spirit or an existing higher consciousness spirit chose to reincarnate in an equine form.Jim Key was so intelligent andresponsive that it seems unlikely that he graduated from a lower animal consciousness during his current incarnation. Presumably the spirit incarnating in Jim Key's equine form choose to reincarnate as he did because he knew Bill Key was a very special loving human being. And clearly the duo had a much greater positive impact on human consciousness on this planet as a result of their partnership. Their partnership will have significantly increased peoples' awareness of horses and animals generally as sentient beings.
Whether they take a typical human form or not, once an animal soul evolves the ability to make moral decision(s) and exercises it, the Creator gifts that human with an indwelling fragment of Creator consciousness and s/he become HUman. Thereafter the individual embarks upon the eternal journey towards meeting with the Creator by gradually evolving in consciousness and learning to love unconditionally. That journey will continue unless the individual consciously chooses to terminate it.
Once a HUman evolves a desire to live a moral life his/her indwelling spark of Creator consciousness fuses with the spirit of the individual and s/he sets out upon a conscious journey through eternal life. Thereafter the individual HUman will experience myriad incarnations as s/he progresses via trial and error (ie mistakes aka sins) gradually learning from and correcting mistakes so that the individual's eternal spirit gradually grows in consciousness and progresses from his/her planet of origin through a local universe (in our case that is Nebadon) and then our superuniverse of Orvorton; eventiually graduating to Havona and the Paradise Isle to meet with the Creator. Thereafter each individual spirit returns to the Creation to assist with its management and administration.
Spirits infuse or overshadow physical (usually) HUman forms to explore physicality for the Creator. Eternal life is a gift from the Creator which needs to be earned by learning to love and care for the Creation. HUmans learn to do that through serving others more than self and gradually developing the ability to love neighbour and self unconditionally for the love of God, ie ALL that is. Once infused with an indwelling fragment of Creator consciousness an individual can still choose to terminate his/her eternal journey but that decision needs to be made consciously and with an understanding of what it means.].
The WSJ piece hits on the same theme:
Today, cognitive scientists often compare the brain to hardware and the mind to the software that runs on it. But a software program is just information, and in principle there's no reason why the information of consciousness has to be encoded in neurons.
The Human Connectome Project, launched in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health, describes itself as "an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function." If those pathways could be completely mapped and translated into digital 0s and 1s, the data could be uploaded to a computer, where it could survive indefinitely.
Does any of this sound like heaven? Or paradise? Valhalla? That's not surprising because Scientism (as distinct from exploration and discovery using the scientfic method) has ushered in a new era of material reductionism so that religion, spirituality, or any other non-material aspect of reality that cannot be readily quantified have been stripped of relevance and meaning in our Brave New World.
Something has to fill the void that the absence of religion and spirituality will vacate. In my next book, The Singularity Has Been #Canceled, I posit that this vacuum will be filled with techno-utopian thinking, which will pull forward utopia and everlasting bliss from the next life, and via the promise of expertly managed technology, roll it out into this one.
My premise for the book includes four main assertions, which are:
It is techno-utopian thinking, the idea that systems and expert management can control for all undesirable outcomes, that paradoxically exacerbates undesirable outcomes they seek to ameliorate.
True "artificial intelligence" as defined as "wide AI", sentient and conscious, can never be achieved under our current assumptions. The idea that consciousness is just something our brains emit "as a liver secretes bile" is, I think, actually wrong. No amount technological advancement will achieve wide AI so long as this is the core belief.
That there are fundamental internal contradictions in techno-utopian thinking. The logical extension of the intellectual framework is that consciousness is an illusion, albeit, one we we'll be able to perpetuate ever after by uploading it into the cloud. These internal inconsistencies, when taken hold at a societal level lead to a type of hypernormalization or what spiritual philosopher Ken Wilbur calls "aperspectival madness".
Finally, because I'm not a luddite, far from, in fact, I introduce a framework for what I call "techno-realism", the central premise being that every technological leap ushers in a new set of larger, more complex problems and that this is ok. I do think it's possible that an era of radical life extension could be upon us, for those who can afford it. Life extension is not eternity, however. Do the math.
The downside to this is that every technological quantum leap also bifurcates society into a breakaway civilization that gets to front-run the new technology. The wider masses are slower to benefit (although they do benefit over time), and the ways to mitigate this inequality are typically impeded by institutionally entrenched interests.
Which brings us back to the Wall Street Journal article, that posits a techno-utopian immortality and presents evangelists from the likes of Google and myriad think tanks to advance it.
As we move into a more algorithmically controlled society, I would expect that technocratic social credit systems will supplant conventional moral structures, and the prospect of having your mind uploaded into an everlasting paradise will be the religious payoff for conforming to the rules.
It will be interesting to see how this narrative will be promulgated by various thought leaders and MSM outlets over the coming years. I hope to have my book out sometime in 2021.