Episode 140: Transcendent Man

No matter what problem you encounter, whether it’s a grand challenge for humanity or a personal problem of your own, there’s an idea out there that can overcome it. And you can find that idea.
— Ray Kurzweil
When you talk to a human in 2035, you’ll be talking to someone that’s a combination of biological and non-biological intelligence.
— Ray Kurzweil
Biology is a software process. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, each governed by this process. You and I are walking around with outdated software running in our bodies, which evolved in a very different era.
— Ray Kurzweil
If I was asked if god exists, I would say ‘Not yet.’
— Ray Kurzweil, at the end of Transcendent Man

As technology advances at a rapid pace, many have pointed out its effects on our social, professional and personal lives. The intersection of technology and biology is often overlooked in these conversations, but it’s worth further examination. In the 2009 documentary Transcendent Man, futurist Ray Kurzweil plays a key role in describing this intersection. His central thesis leans upon “The Singularity,” in which humanity will merge with technology because of its accelerated pace and progress. He and various experts speak on memory, the possibility of immortality and other influences of such advanced technology. This week we welcome Tim Connolly to review the film’s main arguments and theories. What effect would technological immortality have on our society? How would this new threshold shift our definitions of humans and humanity?