Game of Gods:
The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-Enchantment
By Carl Teichrib
* The following is an excerpt from the first pages of chapter thirteen.
Machines of Loving Grace
We are at the beginning of a new ideological and technological revolution in which the objectives are not physical power and control of the environment, but direct intervention into the fate of man himself – José Delgado.
We are on the back of galloping technology, and we cannot dismount without breaking our necks. – James Gunn.
“Did you see the robot?” I asked the porter as we passed in the dimly lit hallway of New York City’s Empire Hotel.
He stopped and gave me a curious glance. “What are you talking about?”
“You passed right by a robot,” I said matter-of-factly, motioning to a waiting group of people standing five doors down. “He’s the one sitting.”
The porter turned to look, peering at an Asian man seated on a wheeled, cart-like carrier.
“That’s not a human,” I emphasized. “It’s a highly advanced robotic head on a mock body.”
The gentleman stared, and stared some more. “No… that’s a man.” He sounded less convinced of what he believed than what he was seeing. “He must be handicapped, that’s why he’s sitting in the cart.”
“Do yourself a favor,” I said to the porter. “Walk up and look closely. You’ll see it’s not a person at all.”
Pointing to an individual in the group who looked identical to the one sitting, I explained that the man standing was Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese robotics inventor, and the “head” was his creation – a robotic double or gemenoid running on sophisticated software, automatically reacting to its changing environment. The porter blurted, “That can’t be true!”
“Just walk by and take a look,” I assured him. “It’s not what you think.”
Retreating down the hallway, my skeptical friend sauntered past the group, guardedly examining the person in question. Soon he was stopped, standing only a few feet away, peering closely at the life-like figure. And it was staring back at him.
Of course, the porter had pulled out his smart-phone and was taking pictures: Technology looking at technology.
Just a short jaunt from where this unusual interaction took place was an extraordinary gathering. For two days in mid-June, 2013, New York City’s Lincoln Center was home to the Global Future 2045 International Congress (GF2045), a synthesis of Man and Machine, mind and matter, Eastern spirituality and Western secularism.
Among the mix of prestigious personalities were James Martin, the tech entrepreneur and single largest benefactor to Oxford in its 900-year history; Peter Diamandis, the creator of the XPRIZE and co-founder of Singularity University; Ray Kurzweil, Google’s famed Director of Engineering; and the developer of SiriusXM Radio, Martine Rothblatt. Celebrated pioneer of Artificial Intelligence, Marvin Minsky, addressed the eager crowd through a video feed. Dmitry Itskov, the Russian media mogul who inspired the 2045 Initiative – the organizing entity behind the Congress – was in the spotlight both on and off the stage. Neuroscientists and consciousnesses theorists, robotic developers, post-human thinkers and religious leaders had assembled to explore the bounds of future human evolution.
Unlike global events I had attended before, my entrance to the GF2045 was made possible through a media pass. Magnum Veritas Productions, a documentary film company, had brought me on board as an advisor and interviewer. Our time at the Congress was, therefore, split between the event itself, press conferences, and conducting face-to-face interviews in the Empire Hotel.
It was an immersive and interactive experience with some of the leading minds in the transhumanist movement.
But what is transhumanism?
Game of Gods is available on Amazon.