There are many different conceptions of the 'singularity,' the hypothetical point at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, yet they all seem to agree that it will involve some sort of runaway computer growth which would rapidly surpass human intelligence, with potentially catastrophic consequences for mankind. Most conservative estimates place this event called the singularity around the year 2045, plus or minus a few decades depending on the author and what theory is followed.
Is such an event foretold in the Bible, church teachings or tradition? How might one discern what God’s will is concerning this event?
There is only one place that comes close to explaining this to us, and it concerns the end of things, or Eschatology. Our challenge with biblical eschatology is that most accounts of the beast and the antichrist are already accounted for historically as the Roman Empire or a particular emperor. In an effort to not be extremist or a scare monger, let us look more closely at the abilities of the gods from classical history or better still of our God as our faith requires. The first cause upon which all creation is humanly dependent is our finite way of thinking of God. God is not bound by our principles of space / time and so an infinite transcendence from everlasting to everlasting is God.
What some futurists allude to when writing of the singularity is this ability to be forever. It is expected that humans and our technology will merge into a new state of existence that will allow us to be extremely healthy and not age in current terms. Some estimates put us at 300 to 500 years and others even longer at some point after the singularity. While this “singularity” may increase knowledge exponentially; it will likely not improve one’s ability to have faith unless...
...Unless the Church is able to make the singularity somehow relevant to our faith, traditions, and to our Christian way of life.
With respect to the common good and help for all the faithful; the Church may miss this important opportunity to make a lasting impression upon humanity if it stands by silently while this “singularity” unfolds around us at some point in our near future. The time to set the Church apart is now with the new Evangelization. We need to push the boundaries of innovations in technology to build and sustain our faith. A good example of pushing boundaries is this blog site Catholic365, a face book page, and multiple other ways to connect on various social media platforms. A specific example is that you can now follow the Pope on Twitter. In keeping up with the next phase of innovations we need mobile apps and widgets that will connect us more closely as the Universal Church and push us to participate in the new evangelization more fully in ever new ways.
While these examples are here and now; the future is yet unknown and many futurists only imagine what might be. We must do the same and find ways to either invent or utilize innovations that keep our faith alive, real, and relevant. So, to that end I can see that one day we will have a direct cerebral interface. This is a digital communications device that is internet enabled and sends real time voice, graphics, and video directly to the brain. I see a Pope connecting to all the faithful more closely by communicating with us in this manner. This is one small example of things not yet invented that via the “singularity” we will be able to utilize to live the gospel more fully. To more fully understand this brave new world that approaches we need a starting point. We need a place where one can reconcile faith and science, and no one is better at assisting us with that than the Reverend Charles J. Chaput in his address to a conference of Catholic scholars in 1998 on “Science and Faith”. His talk was titled; “Alpha and Omega: Reconciling Science and Faith” Your assignment is to look it up for yourself; it is a very good read. I have an excerpt for you that may spark your interest in this “singularity” as follows: “I believe the Holy Father is right when he says that no fundamental conflict can exist between science and religious faith, whatever the appearance to the contrary. Truth cannot contradict itself, and both science and faith are means to discovering truth about creation.”… “The way science will regain its soul, the way science and faith will begin one day to work together to serve the truth and advance real human dignity, is through the witness of intelligent women and men of faith, like yourselves.”
The time for; “Let’s wait and see” is over! If you have not been paying attention; just one small example is Google who recently announced that they are developing their second prototype, driverless car that has no pedals or steering wheel. We have to be on the fore front of the coming tidal wave of technology. I will be nearly done with this life by the time this “singularity” is here. You young man & young woman; your time is now, and your place is here. Your Church needs you and your faith depends upon what we make of our technologies in the next several decades. A new light to the world we must be. How are you inventing or using innovations to solidify and spread your faith?