Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TechnoCalyps The Movie Part 3/3...

This will be the third and final post on the film TechnoCalpys titled, The Digital Messiah.  The director named the movie combining two ideas - apocalypse and technology.

The convergence of technology and religious apocalyptic visions of either an end of humanity or a radical transformation of it is key to understanding where this film is coming from.

...That's the surprise of history, that a vision that began as a prophetic and religious vision now seems to be in the process of being appropriated by humanity itself and that convergence is what I mean by TechnoCalpys....
This view would seem to deny all religions their place in the life of mankind.  It would also seem to deny all metaphysics or spirituality.  Does it reduce all knowledge to a term called reductionism?  Can everything be reduced to its biological working parts and be completely explained?  When some adherents of Singularity speak of constructing "gods" are they speaking literally?  If they are, are they not creating a new religion.  Is Singularity at odds with all religion?  Or can there be a middle road between the two taking what is good in both?

In an essay entitled, Milennialism at the Singularity: Reflections on Metaphors, Meanings and the Limits of Exponential Logic by William Grassie this discussion of the implications of Singularity to religion is discussed.  He is not a Singularist.  He cites authors who disagree with a basic assumption of all Singularists, namely that for all processes a computer algorithm can be constructed.  He quotes from David Harel at the Weizmann Institute of Science from his book, Computers LTD.: What They Really Cant's Do:
… we shall see interesting and important problems for which there simply are no algorithms, and it doesn’t matter how smart we are, or how sophisticated and powerful our computers, our software, our programming languages and our algorithmic methods…These facts have deep philosophical implications, not only on the limits of machines like computers, but also on our own limits as beings with finite mass. Even if we were given unlimited amounts of pencil and paper, and unlimited lifespan, there would be well defined problems we could not solve. It is also important to stress that this is not just about computing, by brain or by machine. It is a fact about knowing. In a strong sense, what we can compute is what we are able to figure out by careful step-by-step processes from what we already know. The limits of computation are the limits of knowledge. ***
These are questions which are age old in the Philosophy of Science.  But nevertheless they need to be addressed.

More People Mentioned in this Film
Anders Sandberg, Ph.D. in Computational Science from Stockholm University.  He is a futurist, researcher, transhumanist, Co-Founder of a thinktank named Eudoxa.  Here is a video of him on the subject of "mind uploading."

Mark Pesce, researcher, writer, inventor of VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language),  futurist and teacher.  Here is his website and a video of him at the SAGEM Conference in 2008.

Sadaputa Dasa (Richard L. Thompson), Ph.D. Mathematics, Cornell University, Co-Authored a book named, Hidden History of the Human Race.  Here is a video of him and Michael Cremo on this subject.  He passed away in 2008.

Ian Buruma, writer and academic expert on Asian culture, especially 20th century Japan.

Anne Forest, Ph.D in Divinity, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany, Professor Theology and Computers at St. Bonaventure University, New York.  She is also Director of the Nexus: The Science and Religion Dialogue Project at the University.  Here is an interview she granted in 2004 in which she discusses her book which is listed in the carousel below.  Here is an interview she gave to the New York Times in 2000.  She served as the Theological advisor to a robotics project at MIT with the development of two robots named Kismet and her brother Cog.

Frank Tipler, Ph.D., in Philosophy from the University of Maryland.  He formulated a theory called the Omega Point.  It has been formulated as such:
1. The universe has finite spatial size and the topology of a three-sphere.  2. There are no event horizons, implying the future.  3. Boundary is a point, called the Omega Point.  4. Sentient life must eventually engulf the entire universe and control it.  5. The amount of information processed between now and the Omega Point is infinite.  6. The amount of information stored in the universe asymptotically goes to infinity as the Omega Point is approached.

Michael Grosso,  Ph.D., in Philosophy, Columbia University, New York.  On his website, already cited, he has several of his online writings.  Among other things he is a painter:

Here is the third part of the film Technocalpys: The Digital Messiah:

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