Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Singularity Is a Religion Just for Digital Geeks

Will we gain our immortality as algorithms in the global human brain? The idea of the coming Singularity does sound nutty when it is stated so blatantly, argues Silicon Valley visionary Jaron Lanier. 

Belief in the coming Singularity is no different than any messianic religion, argues Silicon Valley visionary Jaron Lanier. The only difference is this new religion is "just for digital geeks." Building off the argument he spelled out in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, Lanier argues that treating computers as our "fellow creatures" is a dangerous and misguided idea. In this video, Lanier argues why humans still matter in an age that is increasingly dominated by and mediated by computers:


Why has the idea of the coming Singularity become such a craze? In Lanier's view:

"The answer is simply that computer scientists are human, and are as terrified by the human condition as anyone else. We, the technical elite, seek some way of thinking that gives us an answer to death, for instance. This helps explain the allure of a place like the Singularity University. The influential Silicon Valley institution preaches a story that goes like this: one day in the not-so-distant future, the Internet will suddenly coalesce into a super-intelligent A.I., infinitely smarter than any of us individually and all of us combined; it will become alive in the blink of an eye, and take over the world before humans even realize what’s happening.

"Some think the newly sentient Internet would then choose to kill us; others think it would be generous and digitize us the way Google is digitizing old books, so that we can live forever as algorithms inside the global brain. Yes, this sounds like many different science fiction movies. Yes, it sounds nutty when stated so bluntly. But these are ideas with tremendous currency in Silicon Valley; these are guiding principles, not just amusements, for many of the most influential technologists."

-The New York Times, August 9, 2010


LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

How COVID-19 will change the way we design our homes

Pandemic-inspired housing innovation will collide with techno-acceleration.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Coronavirus
COVID-19 is confounding planning for basic human needs, including shelter.
Keep reading Show less
John Moore/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic cripples the economy and kills hundreds of people each day, there is another epidemic that continues to kill tens of thousands of people each year through opioid drug overdose.

Keep reading Show less
Big Think LIVE

Unfiltered lessons of a female entrepreneur

Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast