Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Philosopher, inventor, futurist, writer (etc) Ray Kurzweil has some remarkable ideas concerning our evolutionary progress. Such books as 'In the Age of Spiritual Machines' and 'The Singularity is Near' deal with the issues regarding our next evolutionary step as a symbiosis with non-biological intelligence. Kurzweil is not a simple AI advocate: instead he offers views upon the role of technology within a spiritual framework. For him, the role/function of evolution is 'intelligence increase' - and this occurs through greater complexity which will eventually include the systemic binding of biological and non-biological 'organisms'.

In an interview placed on the WIE website called 'The Enlightened Universe' Kurzweil speaks of the dark matter of the universe as being dumb matter: that is, matter awaiting to be awoken with intelligence. This he envisions as a product of nano-engineering, or molecular reconstruction. If nano-machines become 'smart-machines', which both self-organise and are aware, they can likewise spread their molecular intelligence to other realms of atomic/molecular 'space' (ie. dark matter) and infuse this dead/dumb matter with their molecular intelligence so as to embedd all atomic structure with self-aware intelligence in a step to form an intelligent universe a-flood with information: a universe that is in-formation.

I find this concept fascinating, as it merges the spiritual with the technological- even if I do not fully grasp the fundamentals of Kurzweil's theory. If you have access (or want to apply for the one-month free trial) I recommend checking out the audio talks on the 'What is Enlightenment' site - this site also contains some great talks by a favourite of mine: Ervin Laszlo (perhaps more on him later).

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