Over the last 15 years a brilliant and charismatic self-made man has been campaigning across the United States, describing a near-future event that will deliver human salvation, immortality, and unlimited creative potential. After this event, he claims, the trappings of earthly life will no longer plague us: we will no longer age or get sick; we will be able to create our own worlds to our exact preferences; and we will no longer be restricted to our current physical forms.
This man’s vision has become the center of a growing movement that already has tens of thousands of adherents, dozens of shared texts, and its own non-profit school that aims to “assemble, educate, and inspire a cadre of leaders” to one day “address humanity’s grand challenges.”
This might sound like a run-of-the-mill new religious movement, but what makes Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” movement unique is that it doesn’t consider itself religious at all. Singularity Theory holds that technology will continue to grow exponentially until “human” and “digital” forms combine seamlessly.
There are of course a great many parallels between singularity theory and religion, but is singluarlarity theory best understood in terms of religious categories? That's unclear to me. It's an interesting experiment in futurism, and certainly applies well to our strange technological age. Whatever light the theory of religion may shed on the topic, the underlying question of our reliance on technology deserves to me carefully explored from religious, moral, and sociological points of view.