Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 4, No 1-2 (2008)

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The Singularity: A Crucial Phase in Divine Self-Actualization?

Michael Zimmerman

Abstract


Ray Kurzweil and others have posited that the confluence of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetic engineering will soon produce posthuman beings that will far surpass us in power and intelligence. Just as black holes constitute a ldquo;singularityrdquo; from which no information can escape, posthumans will constitute a ldquo;singularity:rdquo; whose aims and capacities lie beyond our ken. I argue that technological posthumanists, whether wittingly or unwittingly, draw upon the long-standing Christian discourse of ldquo;theosis,rdquo; according to which humans are capable of being God or god-like. From St. Paul and Luther to Hegel and Kurzweil, the idea of human self-deification plays a prominent role. Hegel in particular emphasizes that God becomes wholly actualized only in the process by which humanity achieves absolute consciousness. Kurzweil agrees that God becomes fully actual only through historical processes that illuminate and thus transform the entire universe. The difference is that for Kurzweil and many other posthumanists, our offspringmdash;the posthumansmdash;will carry out this extraordinary process. What will happen to Home sapiens in the meantime is a daunting question.br /br /

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