I’ve been participating in a book study of Compassion: Living in the Spirit of Saint Francis by Ilia Delio, O.S.F. along with other Franciscans across the country. Last week we read Chapter 8 on cyberspace and compassion.
“The futurist Ray Kurzweil anticipates an increasingly virtual life in which the bodily presence of human beings will become irrelevant. Robert Jastrow of NASA believes that ‘human evolution is nearly a finished chapter in the history of life,’ although the evolution of intelligence will not end because a new species will arise, ‘a new kind of intelligent life more likely to be made of silicon.’ Katherine Hayles claims that artificial intelligence is forming a new type of posthuman species where there are no essential differences between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot technology and human goals. We will eventually become like the dinosaurs, she says, a species that once ruled the earth but is now obsolete. In her view, the age of the human is drawing to a close.
“Transhumanists look to a post-biological future where super informational beings will flourish and biological limits such as disease, aging, and death, and perhaps even sin, will be overcome. Kurzweil anticipates an increasingly virtual life in which the bodily presence of human beings will become irrelevant because of artificial intelligence. He claims that machine-dependent humans will transcend death through the virtual reality of eternal life, possibly by ‘neurochips’ or simply by becoming totally machine dependent.”
In essence, a post-human world will be our immortality, our resurrection.
But where does that leave LOVE?
Love is extremely complicated because it involves an amazing array of emotions. A post-human world strikes me as unemotional. Without emotions, we could not be tempted to sin, it is true, but neither could we love—our friends, our family, our enemies.
And, if GOD IS LOVE, where does that leave God? Or will emotions be simulated? But, if emotions are simulated, then emotional reactions are programming rather than choice and free will has been removed.
I just can’t see God being part of a post-human world.
What do you think?