20171008

THE OMEGA POINT

Guiss created the replicate robot, Atlas by copying Astro's original designs, making Atlas and Astro brothers, according to episode 37 of the 1982 'Astro Boy' animated TV series. Viewers learnt Skunk had helped Guiss to get hold of the blueprints from the Ministry of Science. The difference between Atlas and Astro, viewers were told, was Guiss had built the Omega factor in Atlas' brain which made Atlas different than a normal robot, more human-like. "In fact, his is more complex and intelligent," Guiss guffawed, "because his mind is superior. To Atlas, humans are as simple as animals."

Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who died on Easter Sunday 1955, viewed evolution as growth in consciousness and the whole evolutionary process of the universe would culminate in the Omega Point, "Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow." Peter Fallon of 'Second Nature Journal' elaborated, "For Teilhard de Chardin, evolution is a Divinely-directed process. There is indeed a power, an intelligence, which drives and directs evolution toward a pre-ordained end. There are no accidents in Teilhard de Chardin's view of evolution; or, at the very least, what appear to humans as accidents are in fact inevitabilities pre-programmed – by God – into the process."

Between 1923 and 1946, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was sent to China and there he assisted in the discovery of Peking Man, the 'missing links' in the human fossil record. Peking Man was the remains of a human who lived at Zhoukoudian some 750,000 years earlier. Based on new research in 2009, anthropologist Russell Ciochon told 'National Geographic' "there was a prolonged mass migration of Homo erectus from Africa, which began about 2 million years ago.

"Reaching southern China, the early humans would have come upon a subtropical forest, which would have proved uninviting to Homo erectus, who were accustomed to savanna and open woodlands. One group probably turned southeast and settled in Southeast Asia. A second group likely turned northeast and moved into what is now China. Part of the group settled the Zhoukoudian region and eventually evolved into the Peking man subspecies, Homo erectus pekinensis."

Speaking to 'The Guardian' in April 2017, German scientist J├╝rgen Schmidhuber made the forecast, "Very soon, the smartest and most important decision makers might not be human. We are on the verge not of another industrial revolution, but a new form of life, more like the big bang. In the year 2050 time won’t stop, but we will have AIs who are more intelligent than we are and will see little point in getting stuck to our bit of the biosphere. They will want to move history to the next level and march out to where the resources are. In a couple of million years, they will have colonized the Milky Way."

In her 1995 report for 'Wired' magazine, Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg noted, "Teilhard de Chardin saw the Net coming more than half a century before it arrived." John Messerly of 'hplusmagazine.com' pointed out, "Some contemporary commentators view the World Wide Web as a partial fulfillment of Teilhard de Chardin’s prophecy." Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg continued, "We stand today (back in 1995) at the beginning of Teilhard de Chardin's third phase of evolution, the moment at which the world is covered with the incandescent glow of consciousness." Cyberbard John Perry Barlow believed, "Teilhard de Chardin's work is about creating a consciousness so profound it will make good company for God itself. With cyberspace, we are, in effect, hard-wiring the collective consciousness."

Eric Horvitz maintained, "AI doomsday scenarios belong more in the realm of science fiction than science fact." However Stephen Hawking argued, "Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets. Humans, limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded by AI."

Bill Gates stated, "I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned."

M. Castillo of the 'American Journal of Neuroradiology' March 2012 reported, "Reaching the Omega Point may not be possible without possessing the 5 attributes assigned to it by Teilhard de Chardin. These are pre-existing, personal, transcendent, autonomous, and irreversible. We humans are getting closer to the Point, particularly with the aid of computers and related technology. The Omega Point is the final step before 'Singularity' takes place. Once we achieve (or cross into) Singularity, which will be the first and truly major evolutionary step in mankind, we cease to be humans.

"In the near future, computers will surpass our collective intellect, and our only way to maintain our place in the universe will be to merge with them. When transhumanists speak about the Omega Point, they refer to the point when our use of science and technology will improve our human state, making conditions such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and even death a thing of the past."

Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg continued, "Teilhard de Chardin imagined a stage of evolution characterized by a complex membrane of information enveloping the globe and fueled by human consciousness. It sounds a little off-the-wall, until you think about the Net, that vast electronic web encircling the Earth, running point to point through a nervelike constellation of wires. We live in an intertwined world of telephone lines, wireless satellite-based transmissions, and dedicated computer circuits that allow us to travel electronically from Des Moines to Delhi in the blink of an eye."

By 2034, the Internet of Things (IoT) was expected to add up to $15 trillion to the global GDP. In 2014, some 4.9 billion objects were reportedly connected to the internet. Futurist Jacob Morgan explained in 'Forbes', "The IoT is a giant network of connected 'things' (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things. The new rule for the future is going to be, 'Anything that can be connected, will be connected.' The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take place, many of which we can't even think of or fully understand the impact of today (in 2014). It's not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today; it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges."

'Wired' continued, "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin believed this vast thinking membrane would ultimately coalesce into 'the living unity of a single tissue' containing our collective thoughts and experiences." John Perry Barlow clarified, "What Teilhard de Chardin was saying here can easily be summed up in a few words. The point of all evolution up to this stage (in 1995) is the creation of a collective organism of Mind."

'Wired' continued, "Teilhard de Chardin argued there have been three major phases in the evolutionary process. The first significant phase started when life was born from the development of the biosphere. The second began at the end of the Tertiary period, when humans emerged along with self-reflective thinking. And once thinking humans began communicating around the world, along came the third phase.

"This was Teilhard de Chardin's 'thinking layer' of the biosphere, called the noosphere (from the Greek noo, for mind). Though small and scattered at first, the noosphere has continued to grow over time, particularly during the age of electronics. In introducing the idea of tangential energy – the energy of consciousness – as a primary factor in evolution, Teilhard de Chardin opened the door for a new level of meaning. The history of the world, he wrote, 'would thus appear no longer as an interlocking succession of structural types replacing one another, but as an ascension of inner sap spreading out in a forest of consolidated instincts.' This could very well be what the Net is doing – consolidating our instincts – so that consciousness can continue to develop."

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