Singularity and Immortality from Islamic Perspective

BreathOfHeaven

Singularity became one of the most widely debated topics of Science ever since it was first appeared as a Time’s magazine cover story “2045 The Year Man Becomes Immortal”. There are very limited resources available for Muslims to face the challenge that will exterminate the belief systems of not only Muslims, but also people with all the different faiths of this world.
Scientists believe that the time left for the people who are having faiths in religions is numbered. With the explosion of technology of computers microchips, nanotechnology, and genetic science, there will be eventually end of using human’s brain as a major driving force of future technology. The scientists believe that super Computer with AI (Artificial Intelligence) will create cascades of new generation of super Computers beyond human’s comprehension that will rule our future world as early as 2045.

What is Singularity?

There are many types of mathematical and physical singularities, but in this post , we use the term ‘Singularity’ to refer to the technological singularity. There are three distinct ideas someone might have in mind when they refer to a ‘technological Singularity’:

1. Intelligence explosion: When humanity builds machines with greater-than-human intelligence, they will also be better than we are at creating still smarter machines. Those improved machines will be even more capable of improving themselves or their successors. This is a positive feedback loop that could, before losing steam, produce a machine with vastly greater than human intelligence: machine superintelligence. Such a superintelligence would have enormous powers to make the future unlike anything that came before it.

2. Event horizon: All social and technological progress thus far has come from human brains. When technology creates entirely new kinds of intelligence, this will cause the future to be stranger than we can imagine. So there is an ‘event horizon’ in the future beyond which our ability to predict the future rapidly breaks down.

3. Accelerating change: Technological progress is faster today than it was a century ago, and it was faster a century ago than it was 500 years ago. Technological progress feeds on itself, leading to accelerating change much faster than the linear change we commonly expect, and perhaps change that is faster than we can cope with.
Other Sources about singularity ;( Wikepedia) Singularity, Mind uploading…

“Within 30 years we will have the means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after the human era will be ended.”Vernor Vinge, in “ The coming technological singularity”

The very basic idea of Singularity is simple, explained by Raymond Kurzweil, a futuristic scientist, that we are approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans.

When that happens, humanity-our bodies, our minds, our civilization-will be completely and irreversibly transformed. He believes that this moment is not only inevitable but imminent. According to his calculation, the end of human civilization as we know it is about 35 years away. ( Times Magazine)

In short, some of the top Scientists strongly believed that in near future Super Intelligent Computers will create more sophisticated Computers beyond human comprehension. Thus there will be totally different dimension of solving problems and doing things. The mind of a person will be uploaded to super Computer by mind uploading process. Once a person mind is successfully uploaded to a super Intelligent Computer, it will become an immortal super human cybog.

It sounds rather like futuristic movies such as Avatar and Source Code, but rapid explosion of technology which they believe that technology is growing with exponential rate  that will cause their dream become true in a near future.

Islamic Perspective

Holy Quran clearly stated that all human beings will taste the death (3:185, 21:35, 29:57), no one will escape death, (inevitable 3:185) however in Surah Al Kahf (Surah 18)Allah tells us about a group of people who slept in a cave for more than three hundred years. Quran deals with possible extension of human lives by certain period if Allah wills, but clearly rejected issue of immortality.

Possibility of super intelligent human creation (Brain enhanced by technology) cannot be discounted in future, however self creation of immortal human is totally out of Islamic teaching.

Reasons

What is soul, where is a soul situated?

1. Scientist do not have any idea of what actually is a human soul, they may be able to map a whole human brain as a structure, but human brains have more than 100 billion neurons, with trillions of synapses each one of them have millions of neurotransmitters carrying information along its pathways.

2. Silicon Chips may be more powerful than human brain in term of speed in data handling, however there is absolute impossibility of artificial brain functioning as human brain as the way it thinks, love and interact with humanity with a soul.

3. During the 20th Century, Medical Science progress to the extent that transplantation of Lungs and Hearts were possible. However attempt fora  brain transplantation faces severe ethico-legal challenges.

4. There are profound evidence known as Out Of Body experience among people who have near death experience, in Clinically dead patient. Scientists are looking for answers why brain dead patients ( Clinically dead) are able to recall their experience clearly when their eyes were closed, when their hearts were stopped and when there were no activities on their brains.( Read.. Is there such a thing as life after death?)

Soul is beyond scientific reasoning .The owner of the souls is Allah SWT. Human may be able to create brain like organ, may enhance the function of brain, but they will never be able to find the soul.

So there is no issue of immortality and singularity from Islamic perspective as Allah created soul and the soul will return to Allah SWT in stipulated time. If a person appears to be human staying longer in future,we should accept that creature as a  men made advance robot without soul.

I don’t think we should call human like creature with some memory of human as immortal human. He is just merely an advance robot without a real human attribute; the soul.
Allah knows the best,
Kyaw Kyaw Oo

2 thoughts on “Singularity and Immortality from Islamic Perspective

  1. Youness Ech-chadi says:

    Great article, i was looking for texts to read that relate the technological singularity with islam, the points u showed are very important, i hope they will be more debates about singularity from the islamic perspective.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s