"Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence?" with Dr. John Lennox


(C Rhodes) #21

@CarsonWeitnauer. I was listening to your Jude 3 conversations. I wondered why Darin considered the depth and reach of AI; would give it omnipotent and omniscient attributes? Why would the sum total of human knowledge equal omnipotent or omniscience?


(Shawn Cooper) #22

Why should you be afraid of something that doesn’t exist? The artificial intelligence of scifi or bad dreams is a sentient, self aware machine. The technology we have is about as far away from that as the east is from the west. Algorithms and the “AI” that we have today appear smart sure but the are not a true intelligence in my opinion. Even the brain of an animal can run circles around artificial intelligence in many capacities and they are not self aware. Self awareness requires a level of technology that I do not believe is even possible in theory. Most super tech companies are highly invested in the idea that one day they will reach this pinnacle of technology and thus purport to be close to it but they are as far off from that as I am from jumping to the moon on my own two legs. Simply responding to speech or containing algorithms that can predict somewhat complicated circumstances are not intelligence but sophisticated calculators that while impressive are not capable of forming an out of bounds thought or even response.
On another often overlooked hand, if artificial intelligence could be created than what God gave to us in life would be nothing special. Our bodies are nothing more than organic machinery that every day is more and more able to be replaced by technology. From wooden peg legs to biomechanical appendages our entire bodies will soon be able to be replaced with synthetic pieces. Our consciousness will not. It in itself is proof of a creator. If evolution were to be true, animal intelligence would be the pinnacle of existence. Self awareness in and of itself is like the eye. No single piece can be evolved individually as the entirety has to exist in a coherent whole for any part to exist. There is no incremental path to reaching it. It has to be created in an instant. If humans were to create a true self aware inorganic or even organic machine I would personally hold it as proof that God does not exist and so would many of the scientists that so desperately want it to mean that very thing. If you could synthesize the image of God than would he really be any more powerful than a high tech golden calf? Of course there is more to the image of God that just our self aware consciousness but it is one of the integral parts of it that only God himself can create. The real discussion that should be had is what does it mean to be human? Are we simply complex algorithms that will eventually be able to be replicated en masse a la Star Wars or are we and our conscious being beyond the reach of technology?
I may have worded some of that poorly and for that I apologize. This is a topic that does need to be consciously analyzed by any believer in this time period but will ultimately be nothing more than a theoretical discussion for generations to come. The veritable rosetta stone of alchemy that many will search for and never find.


(Lori Walker) #23

Excellent points all around everyone and, @CroaMagna that was a very interesting read. Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say and agree with a great deal of it, and the fact that there are things that are likely and things that are probable.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way of knowing that it doesn’t exist. Even the research I’ve done so far is quite sobering. There is an A.I. named Sophia, created by Hanson Robotics that is an actual legal citizen in Saudi Arabia and has the rights of any other human being (which brings up a plethora of new issues as well). To me, that in and of itself is a bit terrifying, though even more so if you stop and consider other little known A.I. projects who’s only function is to be as “human as possible in every way” whether it be behavior, abilities, speaking patterns, and such.

Another good example would be one of the newer Google assistant programs for one of their newer phones which is programmed to act and react just as a human would vocally including small things like saying, “uh” or, “um” and the like. It sounds like a real person and makes decisions based on the parameters set by it’s owner. It can call and make appointments for you or order something for you and does not have to disclose that it is not human and gives no notice to the person talking with it that it is a personal assistant working on behalf of the human user. All of this A.I. talk brings a quote to mind from the movie, Jurassic Park:

Hammond: “Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before!”
Malcom: “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

This topic is surely a slippery slope in many ways and could possibly dive into deep speculation, as I believe the public is not allowed to know a good deal of what exists behind closed doors. I do know of certain experiments which have been done that have yielded very spine tingling results, and I will try to dig up the links to those if you’re interested. However, all this being said, I think the bottom line is that God is in control and will only allow what is within His will. That’s all that matters to me!

This is a wonderful point and agree this plays a large part in many facets of this issue, as it is very, very multi-faceted from jobs and economy, to ethical issues, to health issues (nanotechnology/bio-mechanics and other A.I. for medical uses), and so much more.

This is such an interesting topic and I have greatly enjoyed learning from all of you and hearing everyone’s points of view and what they have to say on this topic. Much love and God bless! :heart:


(Shawn Cooper) #24

Google’s assistant is nowhere near AI. There are two main types of AI that would cause concern were they to actually exist. These are AGI and ASI. Artificial general and super intelligence. General is classified as basically equivalent to human and self aware. This is where I know without a doubt that AI does not nor will it ever exist. Anything less than that is no more than an industrial revolution level event. Powerful and revolutionary maybe but no more scary than any technological advancement. My dad is a computer engineer at Dell and my brother an executive at EA games. In questioning them both on this topic I find an interesting fact. The game companies are far more advanced in ai than Google Assistant or any other personal assistant and their greatest ai is lightyears from self aware. Self awareness cannot be programmed. Video games have to exhibit actual intelligence of some level as they are combatting actual human brains every second of the day. Personal assistant type ai simply has to converse and have a wow factor. It’s nothing more than algorithms programmed to respond to human speech that are integrated with some cool software. A wide array of knowledge does not make a person or a computer intelligent. The ability to utilize that knowledge and discern truth does. These companies are heavily invested in convincing you and their stockholders that they have or are close to having ai. The reality is it’s a high tech circus and Google is P.T. Barnum. The last time a civilization came together and said let us make for ourselves a name…God confused their languages and we ended up spread over the earth. AI would be an identical pursuit as the tower of babel really. Let us make ourself like unto God and create a consciousness in our own image. The Bible says that nothing is or has been made without Him. If the Bible is to remain true than ai cannot be made. A consciousness that violated that verse would tear apart every claim in the Bible. That is how I am so certain. That and my brother and father have more intimate technological knowledge of the subject and also know that everything that exists as far as ai is just for show not only light years away.
Let me put it simply this way. This is not a dig at anyone but an honest question, can you even comprehend where to start when creating a conscious being? The answer is neither can they. They just wont tell you that.


(Carson Weitnauer) #25

Hi @cer7, I can’t speak to that with certainty, as I believe that was Darin’s point.

However, to reflect on the idea with you, I think that Google already has (in a rhetorical, imaginative sense) the appearance of “omniscience.” That is their stated goal: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Similarly, we can feel increasingly omnipotent. I can open my phone, click a few buttons, and all the food I want to eat for the week can be delivered to my door.

I understand that both of these are incredibly different from God’s omniscience or omnipotence. But, imagine a computer system that has in its storage all the information available online with the capacity to interact with the real world (speech, manipulate web pages, control digital systems), and that is 1000x more powerful than anything existing today, and I can sympathize with the sense that this computer system will appear, in some respect, to be ‘omniscient’ and ‘omnipotent.’

For instance, imagine playing the best computer program in chess. Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in the famous match up in 1997 - twenty years ago. No matter how good you are at chess, the computer program will always seem to know more and play better than you - and win every game. Now, generalize that thought experiment to trading stocks, setting mortgage rates, analyzing X-rays, composing hit songs, etc. etc. to any particular human activity. As computers are trained and able to perform at super-human levels at more and more tasks, the more they will ‘feel’ to be omniscient and omnipotent.

Again, in a logical sense, of course they are neither. But in a psychological sense, this may feel increasingly sensible?


(C Rhodes) #26

@CarsonWeitnauer. Thank you for your reflections. I was just concerned that if the Church granted AI such attributes it may “muddy the waters.” By definition omnipotence nor omniscience could ever apply to anything man-made.

I wondered how many people would mentally amend those attributes as it might apply to Artifical Intelligence. But, I see your point. To even label it as intelligent could assign it a value that is not accurate. Maybe the key to properly accessing its impact to our world is to establish our own identification of its existence.

Like Digitalized Controller??? :blush:


(Shawn Cooper) #27

I think that is totally correct. @cer7. The biggest discussion is really in the definition of the various things that we do have and are theoretically searching for. The old adage is true here in that the more we know, the more we know we don’t know. Science cant even explain or formulate a good definition for what life is much less begin to create it. The accumulation of all human knowledge is to accumulate all human questions which are vastly greater than the answers at which we have arrived. Omnipotence isn’t really even in question here but omniscience is vastly out of reach.

How about we call them sensationalized calculators, because in reality that is all we have. Deep Blue is simply able to calculate every possible outcome of a game based on every single move without error which is outside of conscious human ability. But what if I brought in a new piece that behaves in a different way, an irrational way by definition in that it does not follow the predetermined rules of chess, deep blue all of a sudden has no more ability than a kindergartener. Intelligence requires being able to adapt to things that are outside of its definition of the rules. Irrational thought I suppose, even though this may seem counterintuitive, should be a hallmark of intelligence.


(C Rhodes) #28

Or at least a clue that it exist! That could also be its new name. Or AI equals Artificial Human Intelligence. Now that I could live with! AHI! :grin:


(Neil Weaver) #30

I have to be a little socratic here and say - what is rational? The fact that we have that defined and deviation from it occurs doesn’t mean intelligence to me, it means deviation from a standard. I would more likely equate preference or humor to intelligence. But I could argue my way out of that too.


(LaTricia J.) #31

Greetings everyone,
The live stream is about to begin shortly!


(Brian Weeks) #32

Hi friends! I’m looking forward to our time together tonight! Please use this thread to discuss tonight’s talk: Discuss: Should We Fear Artificial Intelligence? #TrendingQuestions


(Shawn Cooper) #33

@neil2526 Irrational by definition simply means to not follow logic. In the case of theoretical artificial intelligence, logic is defined by programming and as such anything that does not fall in line with this programmed logic is irrational. In the case of programmed consciousness though you cannot argue a true rational thought anymore as rational thought is defined by the creator, in this case the programmer just as it was defined for us by God. Emotion and humor by definition are irrational as they do not follow established logic which is the very thing that lends humor oftentimes. Emotion has absolutely 0 basis in logic other than utilizing it as a tool and therefore is also irrational.
I included all of those things in my mind when I typed it. Sometimes I fail to communicate all that I intend to lol.


(Neil Weaver) #34

Think about this - the modern AI “program” isn’t static. It will change based on a feedback loop. That’s what AI does. Look at Googles deep learning project. Read about it’s image identification, that it self developed the ability to categorize them. And the algorithms and data structures are so complex we only understand the result of the learning. We don’t know how or why it learned what it did, it’s too complex to determine.

So that system has the capability to learn what’s rational or good. Just like we do. lucky for us we have parents that program rational in our brain for us. Otherwise we would be feral and likely die. Our intelligence isn’t enough to survive without lots of care, development and programming from our creators.

So abstractly I believe machines have the propensity for a form of valid intelligence, it’s just not human. To Ravi’s point, when you see that machine, just like you see us, you would know that it wasn’t formed randomly, it was created by an intelligent being. Intelligence follows intelligibility.

I don’t think we can say the word intelligence belongs only to living things. It can also be captured by us and put into machine in a limited, yet growing sense. It’s doesn’t bestow any other quality or right to the machine. It is not alive. It does not “feel”.


(Shawn Cooper) #35

Google’s deep learning is a prime example of something that appears intelligent but is in fact not. It is a layering of networks that analyze data in multiple layers to identify patterns and use that to construct or reconstruct “broken” or missing data and create new data based upon the data that it analyzes. Again this is just a sort of compiling data based upon parameters that are designed into the program. They over blow its performance because the general public is ignorant of the technology and simply oohs and ahhs because they are told to. It does not truly change it simply analyzes at a rate so fast that human analysis cannot keep up and explain it. Its hardly a surprise that a program designed to analyze and group data…analyzes and groups data. It did not self develop any ability. That’s like programming a system to recognize the colors of the rainbow then going “whoa! look at that it is grouping all the red objects together!” Am I cynical? Absolutely. I am familiar with the politics and profits that this technology represents in theory and the drive that places on Executives to take a “magical” technology and sell it as more than it in reality is. When a program that is designed to analyze and categorize color then begins to analyze the effectiveness of criminal prosecution in high gang activity areas, get excited. If you decide that collection of knowledge or data, analysis of knowledge or data, or even extrapolation of said knowledge or data is all it takes to be intelligent, than an excel spreadsheet or a solar calculator has an IQ, albeit vastly lower than Google’s.

Lets say it this way. Google is in my mind equivalent to a dark ages wizard claiming to wield magic beyond our understanding and proving it to be so by accomplishing feats we don’t understand. Or a sort of masonic society that possesses a special knowledge that only they and their trained acolytes can wield and understand. The power of flash and awe to mesmerize a society with “miraculous” or “mystical” occurrences has been utilized since time began to bend the masses to the will of the few. The reality is far more mundane and ordinary.


(Mona Botros) #36

I find your argument quite rational. Harari’s book is entertaining to read as a novel. I was shocked when found out that many people who read it treat it as absolute facts. Man of the things he mentioned in ‘Sapiens’ are contradictory to the theory of evolution which he pose as the only explanation of our existence, saying that ‘our ape ancestor had 2 offsprings , the monkey and the homosapiens’
That the evolution of homosapiens was ‘faster than the rest of the species’.
I am not an expert in evolution , but these claims seem far fetched and illogical ???


(Robert Alexander) #37

Hi. Just joined as I heard a snippet of this talk on UCB this morning.

AI is nothing more than Logic. We actually get an example when we join this site. A Bot Welcomes us, so it’s not rocket science. The answers are all interesting in themselves and as one who has been and to some extent still is, in the Computer Industry most of my working life, people shouldn’t fear AI itself. I think what is the most important thing is who is behind the System/Site that is using AI and what are their objectives.

AI can cover every single thing we could possibly say as a human being. The more data that a database holds, the more powerful it is. When you then programme a logic process down a route to cover a multiplicity of answers, you begin to lead people to where you want to go. This is why you have to understand the heart and motives of the logic programmer. In one sense, it’s not artificial but it appears to be the case to the person using it.

God is completely separate from all of that and AI is man made, but it can be used for good things. Accountability behind whoever owns the AI Process, will and should be come very important.

This is what we should fear. Not AI, but who is using it and why?