But what will our destiny be if AI is viewed more benignly. Some scientists like to speculate on how intelligence may evolve when it sheds mortal biology in a remote future – what John Horgan calls a ‘scientific theology.’5 J.D. Bernal speculated that while genetic engineering might be the early course, man’s consciousness may be etherealized allowing communication through space by radiation and possibly light. Hans Moravec, a robotics engineer, proposes the next step is ‘mind children’ or intelligent machines we raise and educate and then release to incredible feats. Such robots will perform the work humans have done until now, then expand into space enlarging the effective universe although under the Darwinian law of competition. He and other futurists such as Freeman Dyson imagine intelligence spreading “through the entire universe, transforming it into one great mind,”6 a virtual deity. Edward Fredkin sees a more cooperative relationship between super-intelligent machines that will develop their own science.
Frank Tipler takes this to the ultimate; the entire universe transformed into a single, all-powerful, all-knowing computer – an Omega point (a term borrowed from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin7). Such a computer could “recreate – or resurrect – everyone who had ever lived for eternal bliss.”8 Alternatively viewed, the goal of science then is “constructing Heaven.”9 But most stunning of all, Tipler suggests the Omega point constructed /will construct our universe – i.e. the past need not lead to the future from the standpoint of the universe. This mixture of science fiction and mysticism takes us as far as possible down the road of human or universal destiny.
But the end result of these speculations on technology is that the destiny of mankind (as of all human actions) will be the one we choose. As a member of humanity, the reader is one of billions of the moving parts that will participate in that future, which also means every human life has the potential for extended if not eternal meaning. Think about it.
1Kaku, Michio, The Future of Humanity, Anchor Books, New York, 2018. ISBN 978-0-525-43454-2, page 125.
2Hawking, Stephen, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Bantam Books, New York, 2018. ISBN 9781984819192, page 188.
3Kaku, Michio, The Future of Humanity, Anchor Books, New York, 2018. ISBN 978-0-525-43454-2, page 313.
4Hawking, Stephen, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Bantam Books, New York, 2018. ISBN 9781984819192, page 196.
5Horgan, John, The End of Science, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., Reading, Massachusetts, 1996. ISBN 0-201-62679-9, page 247.
6Ibid. Page 254.
7See my blog dated October 4 2019 on this site.
8Horgan, John, The End of Science, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., Reading, Massachusetts, 1996. ISBN 0-201-62679-9, page 257.
9Ibid. Page 258.