Oh, For Haven’s Sake!


Robots with intelligence equal to or beyond that of humans is called “strong AI” or “strong AGI” where AGI stads for Artificial General Intelligence.  When, one wonders, technology to create strong AI will become an everyday occurrence? Some experts are betting it will happen in the next two decades.roadmap-5-ai

Great! No?

In the past year, people-in-the-know — Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking among others — have warned about an eminent to threat to humanity — the rise of super-intelligent robots. (More on the subject: AI Or Die — Summoning The Demon and Number 1 Risk For This Century.)

What would their super-intelligent high-tech “brains” makeup be? Would super-intelligent robots have any MORALS whatsoever? What moral compass will guide them while their superior intelligence, having digested the entire uploaded Wikipedia, start developing ideas of their own?

robotWhat could be better than religion, right? No?

Shouldn’t any superintelligence created by humans have a notion of God?

Preaching God to automatons, no matter how autonomous, sounds kind of wacky, no?

Actually, not so much, if one doesn’t overlook statistics of U.S. demographics in relation to Christianity. About 75 percent of adult Americans identify themselves as Christians, and 92 percent of our highest politicians in U.S. Congress belong to one or another denomination of Christian faith.

jesusAn associate Pastor of Providence at the Presbyterian Church in Florida, Reverend Dr Christopher Benek, believes religions may help AI live alongside mankind.He is convinced that AIs won’t be worse than us or that they will intentionally mistreat people.

I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings. It’s redemption to all of creation, even AI. If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.’ (from a recent Gizmodo interview with  Reverend Benek by  Zoltan Istvan, author of The Transhumanist Wager.)

The question of “soul” is quintessential in the coming transhumanist age of machine intelligence. Does AI have a soul? Can it be saved?

Marvin Minksy, a pioneer on the field of artificial intelligence and an MIT professor doesn’t see why not.

‘What humans have is a more complex and larger brain than any other animal — maybe a whale’s brain is physically large, but it’s not structurally more complex than ours,‘ he told the Jerusalem Post.

‘If you left a computer by itself, or a community of them together, they would try to figure out where they came from and what they are.’

Even Pope Francis recently sounded off on the possibility of aliens being converted when he affirmed that the Holy Spirit blows where it will.

Dominican monk robot?

Dominican monk robot?

Pope Francis said he would welcome Martians to receive baptism. Would the Catholic Church be as welcoming to a fanciful pile of electronically wired inorganic hardware created by human hands?

Also, god knows what surprises alien chemistry holds… No wonder some scientists are seriously suggesting that alien life that earthlings meet one day might as well be smartly put together alien machines.

To think of it, earthlings that aliens meet might be human-made super-advanced AGIs. What if these machines greet extraterrestrials with a smile and warm “Do you accept Jesus as your personal savior?”   “Allahu akbar!”  “Namaste” or whatnot.

silver-robot-with-cosmosOnce you start thinking like that, it opens up even more questions: How would AI fit into to the religious tension already present around the world? Who is to say a machine with human intelligence wouldn’t choose to become a fundamentalist Muslim, or a Jehova Witness, or a born-again Christian who prefers to speak in tongues instead of a form of communication we understand? If it decides to literally follow any of the sacred religions texts verbatim, as some humans attempt to do, then it could add to already existing religious tensions in the world.  (Zoltan Istvan’s  article in Gizmodo When Superintelligent AI Arrives…)

Interesting article, actually, with a great number of  amusing comments too…

‘Who is to say that one day AIs might not even lead humans to new levels of holiness?’  Indeed. That is, if humans would reach ANY level of holiness by the time THEY arrive.



One comment on “Oh, For Haven’s Sake!

  1. While some scientists (largely unbelievers) raise concerns about the upcoming AI tide, many religious leaders (Pope among them) feel quite opposite – ready to embrace them all (including Martians) into the true faith and salvation.
    One could appreciate such enthusiasm, but if past experience is any indicator, I’d be more cautious about mass conversion of non-human forms. Indeed, numerous efforts by St. Francis to bring the god into animal kingdom were largely a failure (listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVxe43HPZy8)

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