In this short segment on the future after the Singularity, Ray Kurzweil, author, computer scientist, inventor, futurist and a director of engineering at Google posits that through AI we will by the end of this century be able to harness the stored potential of a rock (or any other physical substance for that matter) and transmute it computronium, “turning this rock into a trillion trillion times more powerful than all human brains today”. An AI with a goal of unlimited intelligence would, if transmutation of matter into computronium was possible, seek the never ending expansion of itself into all of space for the harvesting of ever more computronium.
Though such a theoretic substance is likely impossible (see Why Computronium is really Unobtanium) the very idea of turning dead stones into infinite processing power, reminds me of one of the three famous temptations of Jesus Christ in the wilderness. This is the one where Satan tries to tempt him by saying “If you are the Christ, then turn these stones into bread”. Of course Christ denies the temptation, rebutting Satan with the famous statement, “Man does not live by bread along, but by every Word which proceeds from the mouth of God”.
It is notable that a stone was chosen in this video. Could it be that Kurzweil is making a veiled statement here, that the AI that he is hard at work creating for Google will one day soon demonstrate its’ God like power over matter?
Ray Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.