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What Is Super About Super Intelligence?

Edward Trudeau

In 1993, Vernor Vinge, a former computer scientist, professor at San Diego State University, and science fiction author wrote on the coming technological singularity, which he defined as, “the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence.” The dramatic changes that would follow the Singularity could come quickly, perhaps within hours, as machines rapidly improve their own algorithms at billions of times the speed of human thought or action. The consequences of the Singularity are unknowable.

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Transcendence vs. Transition: Finite Creatures and the Desire for the Infinite

Life: Issue Four

What strange creatures we are! We live fully only as creatures indwelt by an infinite desire. Yet, from within this paradox arises the temptation to self-enclosure, an attempt that at once curtails our desire for God and drives us toward the pursuit of unrestrained power. The seduction of modern technology pulls us in both directions. On the one hand, it would pacify us with its comforts and amusements. On the other, it would liberate us from our creaturely limits. We could become something else (transgenderism), or simply replaced by something “infinitely” better (AI). In either case, we settle for simulacra of the “good life.” Against these seductions, stands the invitation to “a joyful simplicity of life” [JPII] that sees in the acceptance of our finitude the living hope of an eternal promise.

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Humanum is about the human: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and what does not. We are driven by the central questions of human existence: nature, freedom, sexual difference and the fundamental figures to which it gives rise, man, woman, and child. We probe these in the context of marriage, family, education, work, medicine and bioethics, science and technology, political and ecclesial life. We sift through the many competing ideas of our age so that we might “hold fast to what is good” and let go of what is not. In addition to articles, witness pieces, and book reviews ArteFact: Film & Fiction searches out the human in the literary and cinematic arts.

Humanum is published as a free service by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.