- Leaked documents reveal all the ‘red flags’ about Trump officials 8 Years Ago
- Elon Musk, who wants to colonize space, thought the moon was Mars 8 Years Ago
- How to watch ‘Legion’ for free 8 Years Ago
- Netflix’s ‘Bolívar’ reduces hero’s tale to irredeemable melodrama 8 Years Ago
- How to watch the U.S. vs. Spain at the World Cup for free Today 7:55 AM
- How to watch ‘The Hills: New Beginnings’ for free Today 7:40 AM
- Inside the pornographic video game that took Kickstarter by storm Today 7:00 AM
- Why everyone wants to debate AOC, and no one wants to debate Ilhan Omar Today 6:30 AM
- How to watch the Trvl Channel online for free Today 5:30 AM
- Are we going to get a ‘Community’ movie on Netflix? Sunday 2:46 PM
- Social networking site Ravelry bans all posts that are supportive of Trump and his administration Sunday 2:07 PM
- YouTube is testing hiding its comments section Sunday 1:23 PM
- Think you have what it takes to be Beyoncé’s assistant for the day? Sunday 1:02 PM
- Facebook co-founder warns against Libra, the company’s new cryptocurrency Sunday 12:04 PM
- Missing YouTuber Etika’s belongings found alongside bridge Sunday 9:16 AM
Living online has a much bigger meaning for this group
The Internet hasn’t given us the secret to eternal life. But for the Turing Church, a group exploring science and religion, it has made life possible.
This Sunday, the Church is hosting its second annual Turing Church Online Workshop to “explore transhumanist spirituality.” The workshop is taking place over the Internet, using open-source virtual-reality software. And the church’s adherents would never have assembled were it not for the Web’s ability to link like-minded types.
The Turing Church is a niche within a niche of transhumanism, an intellectual and cultural movement of people seeking to use technology to transcend such traditional human limitations as sickness and aging.
A goal of some transhumanists: Using the Internet to grant eternal life, by uploading people’s consciousness out of their brains and into a computer network.
Giulio Prisco, an Italian native now living in Hungary, is the founder of the Church, an online community of “scientifically minded persons who are also open to and interested in spiritual and religious visions, compatible with science.”
The Church’s name is a play on the Church-Turing conjecture, a set of unproven but widely-accepted hypotheses about computability theory that play into such philosophical questions as whether the universe is a form of computer. One is reminded of Deep Thought from Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
On his blog, Prisco outlined “the cosmic visions of the Turing Church” he’d shared at another transhumanist conference—computer-generated immortality flavored with a dash of the Matrix:
… minds can be uploaded from biological brains to other computational substrates. Mind uploading research may achieve practical results within decades. Given the technology, humans may live indefinitely, colonizing the universe, and resurrecting the dead by “copying them to the future.” Perhaps they will create synthetic realities inhabited by sentient minds; perhaps we are in a synthetic reality….
Prisco also noted similarities between these predictions and the promises various religions make to their followers.
So far the church is but a tiny tributary flowing into the transhumanist mainstream: as of publication time, the conference announcement had inspired only a handful ofTwitter posts in a week, some doubtless from among the 36 members of the church’s Facebook group.
Transhumanism as a movement predates the Internet, and is big enough that it doesn’t strictly need the Web to survive: Without it, events like the Singularity Summits would likely still go on (albeit with members far less optimistic about how soon “mind uploading research may achieve practical results”).
But it’s hard to imagine how a group like the Turing Church would form, let alone hold an international conference, without the Internet. That this church exists, that it occupies some shared space in its congregations’ minds and lives both within and without them, suggests that we’ve already taken some small step to moving our consciousness into the network.
Jennifer Abel was an early contributor to the Daily Dot's web culture coverage. Her work has appeared in Mashable, Salon, Playboy, the Guardian, and elsewhere.