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Monday, February 13, 2012

Rapture of the geeks, a continuation of the Abrahamic tradition

by John MacBeath Watkins

Science fiction writer  Vernor Vinge invented the term "the singularity" to describe the future evolution of a super intelligence, possibly from enhancement of human minds or the arising of consciousness in the linked nervous system of the computer network (the enchantment of mechanical minds?)

Ray Kurzweil has taken the concept further, imagining that the most important intellects of the technological world can gain unlimited lifespans by having their personalities uploaded into this new intelligence.

And the development of cloud computing makes this all seem more credible, as the memory of our civilization is increasingly stored in the cloud.

So the idea is that the elect will be taken up into the cloud and be given eternal life by an omniscient being. I kid you not.

It's the Rapture of the Geeks.

I wonder if the computer cognoscenti are even aware of the fact that they are translating the notion of the Rapture into the world of technology? Do they look forward to gazing down at those who are not saved, in a sort of agonistic fancy?

I've written before about how the real overarching intelligence, the world of abstract thought that lives on in language and culture, gives us archetypes that recur in our culture. The amusing thing is, we are sometimes quite unaware of how this is reflected in what we choose to believe.

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