The technological singularity as religious ideology

May 14, 2011

A long and fantastic read that makes some great technical points, but ultimately does nothing to influence me in either direction. (I've long found this sort of discussion to be a bit silly (especially at this early juncture), not to mention that it tends to reflect poorly the general opinions and concerns of those scientists and philosophers on the front lines of the still-nascent field of AGI.)

[The previous discussion] has accomplished the goal of laying out how the Singularity might be confused with a religion and how or why these points don't necessarily make it a religion. Now we need to look at some specific examples of people treating the Singularity as a religious ideology or alternately, just look at some of the insane things people talk about in relation to it that tend to make the uninitiated think, "This is some fucking crazy cult." [...]

The Singularity is not magic; it is not the savior of humanity, nor a harbinger of doom. Preaching the Singularity is only going to cause others to see it as nothing but a shroud of delusion pulled over the eyes of its followers, a techno-cult preaching the Rapture of the Nerds, when this is absolutely not the case. The Singularity is a serious thing, and it demands serious study. Promoting the Singularity is difficult enough without accusations that it is a religion, which some plainly treat it as, either knowingly or unknowingly. [...]

To wrap all of these things together, there are people who are either promoting or preaching a religious-ideological conception of the Singularity where either humanity or an AI is seen as godlike. These people have taken the instruction and details about the hypothesis of the Singularity and used it as a mode of instruction in a system of faith they have constructed (either explicitly or implicitly). [...]

This does not mean that most of these people are out there trying to create a religion surrounding the Singularity, but that most of these people are preaching an ideology rather than promoting a science. People have a tendency to run away with their passions, especially when those passions concern something that really could allow us to transcend our biology and form a completely new way of living based upon a new paradigm...

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