Review of Kurzweil Documentary “Transcendent Man” & The REAL Singularity

Having known appallingly little about the oft-quoted man credited for the paradigm shattering ideas about the singularity, I looked forward to this glimpse into the life and ideas of this modern prophet. What I found was not quite what I had expected.

Before I review this documentary and the ideas within it, let me put out a few caveats. I have not read the source material on Kurzweil. I am assuming that the documentary is accurate and does not reflect bias. I am taking what I saw as a fair appraisal of Kurzweil and his ideas. I am open to the fact that I could be wrong in any or all of these assumptions.

Ray Kurzweil is a genius. To deny this fact is to say that the sun does not warm the earth. It is irrefutable. However, like many true geniuses there are aspects of truth outside of his field of vision for which he is as blind as the many individuals he has helped with his technologies. The result is that the more Kurzweil errs on matters beyond the finite scope of his laser intellect, the farther off he gets. But within that failing is a sad poetry that is woven into the very fabric of his achievements.

The single strongest driving force in Kurzweil is a fear of death. More than anything he wants to live forever, and beyond that, he wants his father to live forever with him. He was obviously too smart to ask sweet baby Jesus, so he turned to science for the answer. Technology became his new religion. And from this mad dash to push forward the capabilities of technology in time to save his life, and rescue the memories of his father, he has become a Promethean juggernaut.

The irony that any Peruvian jungle teenager, or Bwiti initiate could tell you is that we already do live forever, and that he can access his father’s memories any time he wishes. Ray would know this too, but he has bought into the great lie of Western government, accepting the illegality of the technologies that would allow him easy access to understand this. But for once maybe we should thank our overbearing Uncle Sam and his tyrannical religious morality, because in the absence of this simple truth, Kurzweil has given the world great gifts. It is sad though to see a great man needlessly suffer when the solution is so simple. A few grams of ibogaine and he could recall any memory he wanted and talk to his father, right now! Tell him he loved him and he was sorry, and be at peace. A few cups of Ayahuasca and Kurzweil would discover that death is actually a transition carrying the illusion of finality.

As for Kurzweil’s ideas on the singularity, they are extremely thought provoking. But once again, there is one piece of the puzzle that Ray is missing from his analysis. While we may merge more and more with machines, the thing that separates all life from non-life is the existence of our spirit, and the connection to the infinite wisdom of the higher self. While machines and nanotechnology may improve our computation and health, or perhaps handle those challenges entirely, they will never touch the true magic of what it is to be alive; Love, awe, art, beauty, poetry.

But maybe this advancement of technology will pave the way for what I believe is the real singularity. The real singularity comes when we transcend the myth of life and death. Where souls can enter and leave the physical plane consciously, choose bodies as we choose our automobiles, and communicate in higher dimensions while experiencing the physical. But to get to that maybe we do need to extend our lives another 500 years with nano-cells. Maybe we do need to have nothing left to compute and no resources of scarcity to compete for. Maybe this is always how it goes, or maybe we just fucked up along the way and are destined to weaponize artificial intelligence and relive the nightmare of the movies we created. It’s hard to say. But if we fail, I have no doubts that if they haven’t already, other species will finish the race. Taken as a cosmic whole, we are no more significant than one good soldier in a war. It would be a shame if we died. A true shame, and our uniqueness would be lost forever and missed by many. But other races will live on, more will be born, and the universal big-bang heartbeat of God will keep on pumping.

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  • Aubrey, your brilliant as always.  I just wanted to go indepth a little more on these issues. I 100% agree with you that Ray has a huge fear of death, and he has wrapped his mind around the fact that he can live forever. 
    The last paragraph of this blog, is what I want to talk about.
    “The real singularity comes when we transcend the myth of life and death. Where souls can enter and leave the physical plane consciously, choose bodies as we choose our automobiles, and communicate in higher dimensions while experiencing the physical.”
    This sounds like a good idea on the surface, but I can’t imagine this idea ever becoming a reality.
    What Kurzweil and Aubrey, fail to mention is the evil, and bad people in the world.  The evil in man, is what will stop man from getting to the singularity.  The technology that can be used for good will be used for evil.  History has taught us that.  The technology that can help so many will be held away by the government, who will then use it for their advantage.  Instead of us having nano bots running through our bodies, our soldiers will have them, and we will have soldiers that can’t die, because the nano bots heal them so quickly. 
    Why can’t we just do away with war, have peace on earth, and take all the money and resources that go toward this evil activity and put it toward projects that further human growth.  Ideas like space, NASA, healing people instead of hurting them.
    I think I have strayed from my original idea.  The point being that there is too much evil in humans for either of your singularities to ever work.  In my opinion there has to be an event that will bring all humans together to work toward a singularity.  We all know humans; we don’t really attack an activity until it is a necessity.  An example being fossil fuel, we could attack the problem that we are using fossil fuels, and heating up the earth, and using up a finite resource.  We could build cars that run on wind, solar, or even invent a better mode of transportation than cars.  However we will not attack such vast grand ideas until it is an absolute necessity.
    The only way humans will be brought to a singularity is if we are attacked by another species. Either aliens, an animal, mother nature, or Computers.  It is an event that will bring humans together to fight for a good cause.  It will bring out the good in humans, instead of the evil. 
    I agree with your point Aubrey that Ray would learn a lot by doing a little Ayahuasca, however it just seems very tough for all of humanity to be enlightened by a great plant.  In theory this is a great idea, but in reality an improbability. 
    Keep up the great work Aubrey, You effect my life on a daily basis, with your ideas, actions, and wonder pills that you create.

    Brian Pivar
  • Bang on Sir

    Chris Bennett
  • I agree with you on the driving force behind Ray Kurzwell’s quest for immortality.  After hearing the documentary mentioned so many times on the Rogan podcast I eventually found time to indulge my curiousity.  I was impressed by Kurzwell’s kn`111owledge, expertise and creativity in the technological field.  He is truly helping mankind make great leaps and bounds in that field.  However the overall feel I had of him and some others whose comments were picked up on, William Shatner.  I feel a deep sense of sadness for those men that wish to live forever in this mud body or some artifical form.  That desire to me seems as misplaced as the foolish notion that my god is better than your god.  I am 100% on board the living a healthy long life train.  I try to take my Alpha brain regulary and eat healthy foods and engage in various forms of exercise.  I even have a personal desire to live a few years past a hundred.  If retain a decent amount of mental and physical health.  Brining people back from the dead and trying to live forever I can not get on board that train.  At what cost would all those pill, nano bots and other devices do to your body, mind and soul.  Isn’t living over half a century enough?  My grand mom is almost 84 and has seen an incredible amount of what we now call history since the 1920s.  If you believe in life after death then shouldn’t we assume were not missing out on anything?  Especially if life after death is supposed to be better than the physical realm.  

    “The real singularity comes when we transcend the myth of life and death. Where souls can enter and leave the physical plane consciously, choose bodies as we choose our automobiles, and communicate in higher dimensions while experiencing the physical.” 

    I have always wondered what makes me me.  Why am I in this body, this family, this place on earth?  Why not anywhere else?  The only thing that makes some sense to me is that our souls, spirit do consciously and willingly choose to enter into this physical realm to full fill some higher purpose.  Yes the time may be short.  Isn’t the temporality of this physical realm what makes it so wonderful?  Just enough time for one to realize their purpose, make their mark on the world for better or worse.  Hitler, Stalin, Jesus, George Bush, George Washington, Ray Kurzwell and millions of others whose names will never be none outside their own families have all contributed to brining the human race to our great purpose.  The purpose the aliens, god or evolution brought us here for.  Each and every single entity over the millenia, through past, present and future time contributing to that purpose.  With out an inkling of what that purpose may be each continues on in this impermanent existence.  Why?  Maybe there will be a day when the whole world finds peace. I sure hope there is in my lifetime.  When that day comes it does not mean evil has yielded.  Evil/bad will forever be around just as good/justice will always be there.  

    John Luczyszyn

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