Upload Yourself

Mackay lecturer says technology will become God-like

Emily Baldwin '16

Would you be willing to upload yourself into a computer in order to live forever? Unsure? Refer to Robert Geraci, professor of religion at Manhattan College, who posed this question during his St. Lawrence lecture, “Technicians of the Apocalypse: The Futurist Blend of Religion, Technology, and the End of Time.”

Geraci studied religion and culture in Indian science and technology as a Fulbright-Nehru scholar in the U.S. and India. He presented a new vision of the apocalypse that has accompanied the rise of powerful computers.

According to Emily Liebelt ’16, Geraci spoke about the apocalypse as a biblical and religious theme across cultures, mainly focusing on the exponential growth of technology. “Eventually, technology will become so advanced that it’s going to create an apocalypse where the world as we know it is gone and is replaced by uploading ourselves into computers,” Emily said. “We’ll be interacting with technology as other beings.”

Some notable figures in robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality believe that technology will reach god-like levels of power and intelligence. According to Geraci, we can use technology to create another world or expression of ourselves through virtual reality such as Second Life and World of Warcraft. “In online virtual realities, we can leap to different times and locations,” Emily said. “It’s appealing to have the ability to change our landscape at will and gain a god-like capability to create and destroy what we want to.” n

Geraci’s lecture was part of the Mackay Memorial Lecture series, which honors Kathryn Fraser Mackay ’77 and her inquisitive spirit through religion and philosophy.