Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The last few days in review

Sunday was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration.  Gail and I played a piano duet as the special music.  We played a piece by Scott Joplin titled "Solace." 

I gave the message which I titled "Human Life Extension."  I began by noting the early deaths of several well-known composers and how long they lived: Mozart (35), Robert Schumann (46), Franz Schubert (31), Chopin (39), Beethoven (56).  And the English Romantic poets: Byron (36), Shelley (30), and Keats (26).  I quoted the poet Dylan Thomas who wrote the lines: "Do not go gentle into that good night./Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  Thomas died when he was 39.

I mentioned that sanitation and medicine have come a long way in extending the lives of people living today.  I cited myself as an example, having contracted pertussis (whopping cough) at two weeks of age.  Today in the U.S., life expectancy is 77.2 years.  Aubrey de Grey, a scientist working in the department of genetics at Cambridge University, says that by the year 2100 human life expectancy will be in the region of 5,000 years.

Bill Gates believes Kurzweil to be the best in the world at predicting the future.  According to Kurzweil computers will have consciousness by 2029.  Then their intelligence will start to exceed that of humans.  By the 2030s, computers will have become millions of times more intelligent than humans.  Then the question becomes, Will the artificial intellegences (AI) be willing to keep humans around.?

We will understand how our brains work in 2024.  We will have "flash memories" we can plug into our brains.

When asked "Does God exist?" Kurzweil replies, "I would say not yet."

I mentioned the DVD a small group of us watched on this subject titled "Transcendent Man."  It can be found in many libraries.  I also mentioned a web site http://www.kurzweilai.net/ which tracks developments related to life extension. 

Following my talk we had a potluck dinner during which I fielded several questions from the congregation on the topic about which I had spoken.

Afterwards Steve Nunn and I talked about replacing the sign out front (which gives the names of the church and other information) with a better sign.  We will be working on that in the coming months.  Presently Steve is working on replacing the doors of the church.  Steve is the new leader of the Humanist Association of Tulsa.

I have a few other things to write about, but I will save them for tomorrow.

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