Monday, July 30, 2018

Lent on Kurzweil's dualistic Singularity

From this post that includes some excerpts from Chapter 21 of his book The Patterning Instinct.

"What we see in Kurzweil’s discourse is an ultra-modern version of the deification of reason initiated by Plato, which became the foundation for our modern worldview. In Plato’s cosmology, our reason linked us to the divine. The early Christians transformed this into the conception of an immortal soul existing, after the body’s death, with God in heaven. Descartes reformulated this dualistic framework into the modern, scientifically acceptable mind/body split, identifying the human capacity for thought as the essence of our existence. Kurzweil’s vision of pure intelligence carries this dualistic tradition into the future, fueled by the power of technology."

"Two and a half millennia ago, Plato attempted to transcend the death of his body by making it irrelevant, imagining himself to have a soul that would survive for eternity. Now, Kurzweil is straining towards the actualization of Plato’s original ambition. [...] For Kurzweil, his body is 'hardware' and his mind is 'software': a direct continuation of the dualistic Cartesian conception of the human being. With a simple updating of terminology, Plato’s 'soul,' which became Descartes’s 'mind,' is transformed into Kurzweil’s 'software.'

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