March 3, 2005

The robots are coming . . .


In his forthcoming book, The Singularity Is Near, Ray Kurzweil says “the inevitable next step in the evolutionary process,” an “end-of-humantime event” he calls The Singularity, will take place sometime around mid-century. So what is it? As Alex Beam explains in his Boston Globe column, The Singularity, “is the moment when biological material ceases to exist, and we become products of the revolution in ‘GNR’: genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics.” So, asks Beam, “How is this techno-Apocalypse so different from Judeo-Christian end-of-time scenarios . . .?”Says Kurzwell, “Ultimately the Universe will become saturated with intelligence. It will ‘wake up,’ be conscious and sublimely intelligent. That’s about as close to God as I can imagine.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.