The Guardian | God in the Machine: my strange journey into transhumanism

Essay on the future of human spirituality inspired by Ray Kurzweil's writings.
May 9, 2017

publication: The Guardian
column: The Long Read

story title: God in the Machine: my strange journey into transhumanism
story author: by Meghan O’Gieblyn
date: April 18, 2017

story excerpts from essay with Ray Kurzweil:

1. |  Humanity will change the nature of mortality in our post-biological future

I first read Ray Kurzweil’s book The Age of Spiritual Machines in 2006. Kurzweil writes, “The 21st century will be different. The human species, along with the computational technology it created, will be able to solve age old problems. It will be in a position to change the nature of mortality in a post-biological future.”

Ray Kurzweil is one of the first major thinkers to bring these ideas to mainstream — and legitimize them for a wide audience. His ascent in 2012 to a director of engineering position at Google, heralded for many, a symbolic merger between the philosophy called transhumanism and the clout of major technological enterprise. By 2045, Kurzweil predicts technology will be inside our bodies. At that moment, the arc of progress will curve up into a vertical line.

2. |  Ray Kurzweil writes that humans will be transformed in “spiritual machines”

Within months of encountering Ray Kurzweil’s book, I became totally immersed in transhumanist philosophy. I researched topics like nanotechnology & brain-computer interfaces. I wanted to know if transhumanist ideas were compatible with Christian eschatology. Was it possible that tech could be how humanity achieves immortality? At bible school, I studied a branch of theology that divides all history into successive stages by which god reveals truth.

Like the theologians at my school, Ray Kurzweil — a leading proponent of transhumanist philosophy — has his own historical narrative. In his book he divides the evolution of life into successive epochs. We’re living in the 5th epoch, when human intelligence begins to merge with tech.

Soon we’ll reach singularity, Kurzweil says — the point where humans will transforme into what he calls “spiritual machines.” We’ll be able to transfer our minds to computers, letting us live forever. Our bodies will also become immune to disease & aging. Using tech, humanity will transform earth into a paradise — then migrate to space, terra-forming other planets.

on the web | essentials

Meghan O’Gieblyn | main

n plus 1 | magazine
n plus 1 | issue no. 28 — Half Life: contents
n plus 1 | issue no. 28 — Half Life: Ghost in the Cloud: transhumanism’s simulation theology by Meghan O’Gieblyn

on the web | notes on topic

Wikipedia | spirituality
Wikipedia | religion
Wikipedia | theology
Wikipedia | eschatology

Wikipedia | emerging tech
Wikipedia | transhumanism
Wikipedia | human enhancement