Two trends are colliding: artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more pervasive with machine intelligence outpacing human intelligence, and consciousness is waking up. Which one will trump--or are they in any way coordinated? This is a question I ponder every day. The Internet of Things will start by connecting the dots in our appliances and gadgets, but then later will move into wiring our brains and beings into the Matrix as well.
As of this writing, we have 3D printed organs and other exponentially advancing technologies that emulate the human body and even the brain.
Ray Kurzweil, who has popularized the notion of the Singularity--a moment in time when the acceleration curve goes vertical and robots can pass for human beings--predicts that we will see ourselves able to download our brains into computers, within our lifetime. At that point, he claims, we will permeate space with our intelligence.
Or lack thereof--if someone gains ahold of AI technology first and spreads the AI's goals toward a dark purpose (or even if the AI breaks away with its own agenda, one that has nothing to do with the welfare of humans, and self-replicates to impose that agenda on the planet without humans having any control).
One author predicts, in What if One Country Achieves the Singularity First, that "whichever country produces an AI first will likely end up ruling the world indefinitely, since that AI will be able to control all other technologies and their development on the planet."
He points out that the Singularity has a spiritual dimension, since it involves our consciousness escaping and transcending biological limits; and that among other phenomenon, telepathy has already been performed through a machine interface.
As a culture we are very caught up in technological transcendence. Today it's the Apple Watch, tomorrow it's another way to process more data, more quickly, and in ways that are more easily accessible, personally. Call it the Internet of Things, the appification of life, or the gradual merger of human and machine awareness. We're exhilarated and aghast at the same time--more data means more to keep up with, less leisure, a compression of time itself.
And now just as the power of creation is becoming individualized, also the power to destroy everything is moving from technologies that require heavy investment and can be stopped--or slowed--by political actions, such as sanctions and UN resolutions--to technologies that are accessible to rogue individuals.
In another segment of reality as we know it, consciousness evolves. We have yoga, meditation, mindfulness, fitness, a revolution in self-awareness so that human beings can be more grounded, sane, healthy, more able to deal with negative emotions. We have many tools for healing, to root out anger and violence; to eliminate the core of psychic traumas that may have their origin in history, in the collective wounding of nations and cultures.
We have mind-to-mind communication through subtle energies and downloading of consciousness through energy healing. We do not understand the mechanism of how information travels "energetically," but we know we can access states of unity consciousness and moments of awareness that transcend language. (See my books Future Medicine and A Friend of All Faiths).
Transcending biology is the goal of various yogic and other traditions--merging personal intelligence with cosmic intelligence.
Of course, one difference is that there is an emphasis on the yogic path, and in various traditions, on the heart--on the power of love and compassion; data for its own sake is not very interesting. Knowledge is only a part of what is at stake; understanding and wisdom, too, are valued.
In my own experience, something is driving my personal mind toward universal consciousness, through a variety of mystical encounters that supplant my own, ego- and personality- driven self with a much vaster perception that also seems wiser and kinder. I know many others, too, are experiencing awakenings, and that this phenomenon is intensifying and accelerating.
To what end? Where are these twin trends leading?
Is consciousness arising, awakening, initiating, and expanding, now, to pull us more toward a utopian than dystopian future, and prepare our minds so we can meet the rest of the cosmos in the light of benevolence and shared understanding, rather than from a limited, self-oriented space? Or is there a race between humanity's development of artificial intelligence--which, it's predicted, will ultimately supplant human intelligence, as strong AI can evolve and break past the cage of its programming; and, humanity's development of a cosmic intelligence that entails wisdom, discernment, and universal love?
Perhaps your answer depends on whether you believe our progress is purposeful and driven by forces beyond the steady march of technology and human know-how.
As a healthcare lawyer, I represent companies, practitioners, and ventures both in the healthcare technology space and in the integrative medicine space. My clients look both to the future and to the past for ways to deepen health and healing. As our march into the Singularity accelerates, I would like to see those at the forefront of accelerating consciousness, peer into the meditative space and provide insight into humanity's destiny, as we shake off our biological skins and reunite with an intelligence beyond our own.