Acclaimed author Dan Brown was at the Frankfurt Book Fair recently promoting his new novel, “Origin.” This is the fifth installment in the series that started with “The Da Vinci Code,” a book that questioned the history of Christianity.
Brown said the new novel was inspired by the question, “Will God survive science?” Brown stated: “Are we naïve today to believe that the gods of the present will survive and be here in a hundred years?”
As if “gods” are a figment of our imagination, deities created by us. You probably have that one backwards, Dan. I’m pretty sure God will make it through the next hundred years, but I am not at all sure about humanity. The real question, Mr. Brown, is this: “Will human beings survive science?”
Many scientists see automation drastically reducing the number of jobs available to living, breathing humans. Self-driving cars are here now, and will be commonplace in the next few years. We can now edit genes and create “designer” babies. The singularity is coming, that point at which artificial intelligence can process information faster than the finest human brain…the point at which be become, scientifically-speaking, unnecessary. Entire human brains will be uploaded into an A.I. computer. At some point, human bodies may be replaced by advanced machinery, as well.
We are in the process of rendering ourselves moot. Or worse.
Brown, who has sold 200 million books in 56 languages, said he investigated deeply and spent a great deal of time talking to futurists to come up with the storyline for “Origin.” Looking to the future, he claimed that technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine.
“We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other,” he said, predicting the emergence of “some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine.” We should have been finding our spiritual experiences all along in our romantic relations with our spouses, among other places. Now, however, our global consciousness comes from social media, and we worship our smartphones. But, in truth, there is no such thing as an artificial God.
“Humanity no longer needs God, but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfills the role of religion,” Brown added at the packed news conference. "Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us ... will diminish and eventually disappear."
Yes, just who does God think He is, sitting up there and judging us? Doesn’t He know “judging” others is bad? (I don’t want to feel marginalized when I’m interconnecting with my sex-bots or doing something else He may not approve of).
So, it’s all about us then, Dan? There is no higher power or objective truth?
I would argue that our need for God is greater today than ever before, in part because of the very “transformative” science in which Dan Brown puts his faith.