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How Would the World's Religions Respond to the Singularity?

singularity religion spirituality artificial intelligence reactionary Church

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#1
Yuli Ban

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Good article that raises great points
 

How Would the World's Religions Respond to the Singularity?

The concept of the Singularity—the point when machines become so intelligent that humanity can no longer keep up—has captivated many technologists and futurists in Silicon Valley and beyond. The Singularity is so hotly anticipated by these believers that conservative commentator Wesley Smith described it as the “materialist version of the Rapture,” where man abandons his body through technology to become immortal. But if this techno equivalent of the Second Coming did occur, how would the world’s religions react?
Not every Singulatarian agrees on what the exact consequences of the Singularity will be. Some suspect that it could create a sentient artificial intelligence that’s smarter than a human. Others suggest that it will allow humans to implant a small computer in the brain that will give them access to infinite knowledge. Some believe that it will be the point where humans figure out how to transfer a mind into the computer.
The Catholic Church has issued an official declaration about the Singularity and transhumanism, which is the idea of using technology to achieve the next state of human evolution. In the declaration, the XVIII International Science and Life Congress stated that the movement’s tendency to emphasize non-human forms of life has the side effect of devaluing human life in itself. However, most religions haven’t taken time to officially deal with the potential existence of the Singularity. As a religion journalist, I believe it’s possible to predict how the leaders of the major world faiths might react to the Singularity based on relevant doctrine.

Only a regular at /r/atheism would think religion will be dead within a single generation. Then again, if the Singularity occurs, that might wind up becoming true... or it might wind up leading to a massive religious blowback. Not one that threatens the Singularity, but one that leads to something akin to a Great Awakening. Both are equally likely, as obviously we cannot predict anything with any accuracy past the Singularity.

 

What really excites me is the idea of a Hindu-Buddhist reaction. We in the West tend to see these two as peaceful and benign, but the fact is they're set with their own groups of psychotic extremists, and they can be more anti-technology than anyone. If you want to see a real life Eastasia, complete with Death Worship and all, I say startle H/B fundamentalists with an AI with a god complex...


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#2
sorcerer

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The usual thing: denial, attempts to stop it happening, suicide bombings, blaming gay people. :angry:



#3
nomad

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Due to recent research, I predict a mass exodus from revealed religion to Deism.


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#4
tygrus

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To veer people away from religion, its going to take more than the singularity.  It will take tech eliminating all wants and needs, either making them redundant or adundant.  That still hasn`t happened yet.  People in 3rd world countries have phones, but that hasn`t changed their lives any.  Secure access to basic necessities of life would, food water shelter education medicine.

 

Capitalisim cannot solve this either because its too skewed.   I suggest a basic world income and basics of life in exhange for labour.  The labour doesn`t even need to be related to a product, it can be tied just to the community.  Pay people to clean up, paint, volunteer at hospitals, help the environment and nature.  If you just pay people, they will sit on their ass and do nothing.  Have to tie it to something.  Imagine what our world would look like if a billion people were dedicated to this sort of stuff.  



#5
jamesgera

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I doubt they will take it that seriously. I mean it won't be a big eye opening thing for them.

Now if aliens came to earth that would totally change everything they believe in

#6
jamesgera

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To veer people away from religion, its going to take more than the singularity.  It will take tech eliminating all wants and needs, either making them redundant or adundant.  That still hasn`t happened yet.  People in 3rd world countries have phones, but that hasn`t changed their lives any.  Secure access to basic necessities of life would, food water shelter education medicine.
 
Capitalisim cannot solve this either because its too skewed.   I suggest a basic world income and basics of life in exhange for labour.  The labour doesn`t even need to be related to a product, it can be tied just to the community.  Pay people to clean up, paint, volunteer at hospitals, help the environment and nature.  If you just pay people, they will sit on their ass and do nothing.  Have to tie it to something.  Imagine what our world would look like if a billion people were dedicated to this sort of stuff.


If you want to stop the spread of religion just build better school systems
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#7
Raklian

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The ANTI-CHRIST is here!!!

 

*yawn*


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#8
GenX

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As a devout Christian who grew up in the church, I can tell you that many Christians (primarily the "right wing fundamentalists") would say that the AI is the antichrist.  You probably would get some really fanatical groups that try to destroy it (if you remember the religious guy in Contact that blew up the first device, it would probably be similar to that).  There would be far more who don't go crazy and just accept it the same as anyone else, but the crazies would get all of the attention.  Ironically it might make life easier for gay people as the groups turn their attention to stopping "the end of the world" rather than preserving "the sanctity of marriage".


The only thing we ever want is more


#9
sorcerer

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As a devout Christian who grew up in the church, I can tell you that many Christians (primarily the "right wing fundamentalists") would say that the AI is the antichrist.  You probably would get some really fanatical groups that try to destroy it (if you remember the religious guy in Contact that blew up the first device, it would probably be similar to that).  There would be far more who don't go crazy and just accept it the same as anyone else, but the crazies would get all of the attention.  Ironically it might make life easier for gay people as the groups turn their attention to stopping "the end of the world" rather than preserving "the sanctity of marriage".

Just look at all the trouble that gay people cause. AI would just be the next one:

 

http://www.advocate....using?page=full

 

Just one quote:

 

Tsunami, 2011
Just a couple of months later, Jacobs added that homosexuality caused the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, which prompted a destructive tsunami in eastern Japan, causing 15,870 deaths and $235 billion in damage.

"Everything that I said has happened," she said. "We have seen these disasters happen. We need to repent for turning away from God and saying that we can make any laws that we want, it doesn't matter... that God's laws don't count."

 

 

Duh. :devil:



#10
illykitty

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I think most responses are of an Abrahamic perspective and largely lack the perspective of other religions. I don't see how Paganism would be affected by this, for instance. How would it prevent someone from still worshipping the Earth, the universe, nature, and so on? Heck I could even see some Pagans embrace the worship of virtual worlds and more "artificial" aspects of reality as they come into existence. We're not as literal as Abrahamic folks and quite a few of us recognise the highly subjective experience/aspect of the path. And what about a Pantheist or a Buddhist (focus on liberation from suffering), etc.

 

Some religions could form around ideas of the Singularity or integrate it. Maybe they will evolve to a point where people from our time wouldn't recognise it any more. After all, to me a deity doesn't need to be literally a supernatural being - it can be a metaphor, a part of my subconscious, aspects of reality which are deemed divine on a subjective basis, virtues personified, etc. Anything that is worshipped/revered.

 

As for Abrahamic religions, well take your pick, either they will disappear, adapt to a point of no recognition, become cultural (like non-religious Jews) and/or tiny fringe groups that cut themselves from others (Amish-like but perhaps less peaceful). I'm not a seer so I have no idea which will come true but any of those sound better than what they are now.



#11
RickyMcMoney

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In a situation where technology becomes, to the common person, completely indistinguishable from magic I can very well see people believing that the singularity was a divine act of god, or the apocalypse depending on the exact way it unfolded.



#12
Rainbow Frog

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By disappearing (hopefully).


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If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. 
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People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. 
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#13
Unity

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The religious instinct at it's core is not about religion, but about the ephemeral, awe, wonder, a sense of seeing the thin fabric which connects all events, persons, and being. I don't think that will go away. I think it will be enhanced.
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