Ray Kurzweil: The Singularity is Not a Religion

November 6, 2008

At Singularity Summit 2008, Future of Gadgets editor John Heylin asked Ray Kurzweil: Do you feel the Singularity has become its own religious movement inside the science community?

Kurzweil began his response by acknowledging that though there are some people who seek the rapture according to their own preferences, that “the idea of the Singularity did not start from religion.” Instead the concept sprang from “over 30 years of technology trends research.” But he did admit that it can seem similar to some of the concepts contained in religion: “Some of the ideas look like a way of transcending our limitations. You can argue that’s what technology does in general, and given that it’s exponential it ultimately feels supposedly transcendent, so people use words like rapture.” Kurzweil said that, in particular, “[The Singularity] does then achieve some of the things a religion has sought to achieve, like a way to forestall death,” pointing out that, “When we didn’t have any rational means of doing that we can up with rationalizations why death was a good thing.” […]