The Church & Artificial Intelligence


(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

This week I was delighted to participate in the Jude 3 podcast. The program is hosted by Lisa Fields and I was in conversation with Pastor Darin Jones. Our topic was “The Church and Artificial Intelligence: Can Robots Be Godlike?” You can find the show here:

If you listen to it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the program!

(Melvin Greene) #2

I was only able to watch about 36 minutes of this, because my lunch break is only so long. But, I thought it was very interesting to talk about AI as being “Godlike”. It does seem to be that way now with Google. It seems like any question you have can be answered by Google. I joke that it is the “ALL KNOWING ORICLE”. I think I said this in another thread somewhere, but personally, I’m distrustful of this technology. The thought of a man-made, I think you called it singularity, that is everywhere and all knowing, all seeing, conjures up images from George Orwill’s 1984, or Johnny Depp’s “Transcendence”. It’s one thing to believe in, and have faith and trust in an all knowing and all powerful eternal God, but something else entirely different in talking about something even close to that, that is man made. We know that God is perfect and loving and there’s no evil in Him. I take great comfort in that, as we all do. But, we know that man is fallen, corrupted and fallible. I don’t want something that was created by a being like that to have that kind of power.

By the way, @CarsonWeitnauer. I enjoyed watching and listening to you on that show. I like to put a voice to the posts. You are very articulate with very good insights. I liked Darin Jones, too. It was unfortunate that his feed wasn’t very good.

(Carson Weitnauer) #3

Hi @Melvin_Greene, thanks for the kind feedback. My guess is that a very high percentage of people - worldwide - would be opposed to Skynet. Why would we want to create a super-human, computer-based intelligence that is dedicated to destroying us? As this risk increases from .005% to .05%, more people need to speak up and say, “hey, what are our political and technological leaders doing to minimize this risk?”

(Helen Tan) #4

Hi @CarsonWeitnauer, thanks for sharing this with us. The conversation on the Jude 3 podcast was very informative. I had no idea that a church had been formed with an AI god! Here’s some background information which I found (for those who like me was not aware of this AI church).

What you said about the need for the Church to address these new developments is so true. It’s real and there will be those who will be drawn to this prospect of an omniscient and omnipresent AI god, albeit that it is limited in extent to what information has been offered at its altar of the internet. And the Church needs to be able to address it.

(Helen Tan) #5

Hi @CarsonWeitnauer

I just read this very interesting article by Dr Fazale Rana entitled “Does Development of Artificial Intelligence Undermine Human Exceptionalism?”

I particularly liked Dr Rana’s conclusion here:

“Our ability to create AI systems also provides evidence that we are the product of a Creator’s handiwork. The creation of AI systems requires the work of highly trained scientists and engineers who rely on several hundred years of scientific and technological advances. Creating AI systems requires designing and building highly advanced computer systems, engineering complex robotics systems, and writing sophisticated computer code. In other words, AI systems are intelligently designed. Or to put it another way, work in AI provides empirical evidence that a mind is required to create a mind—or, at least, a facsimile of a mind. And this conclusion means that the human mind must come from a Mind, as well. In light of this conclusion, is it reasonable to think that the human mind arose through unguided, undirected, historically contingent processes?”

It appears that the founder of the First Church of AI has just installed his golden calf. It’s again man worshiping his own creation instead of his Creator.

(Jimmy Sellers) #6

Hi @Helen_Tan
I find it interesting that this golden calf (AI) is a result of willful intension and Aarons calf was an accident.

21 And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you brought on them such a great sin?” 22 And Aaron said, “Let not my lord become angry". You yourself know the people, that they are intent on evil. 23 And they said to me, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us, because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24 And I said to them, **‘Whoever has gold, take it off.’ And they gave it to me, and I threw it in the fire, and out came this bull calf.”
(Ex 32:21–24)
Aaron is appealing to the unintentional sin defend. Anthony Levandowski’s sin in intentional and without remedy.

(Carson Weitnauer) #7

Hi Jimmy, interesting point. But - I’ve always taken it that Aaron is lying! There’s no way that he threw the gold into the fire and it just so happened that a bull calf came out. As we see in Exodus 32:1-6:

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

(Carson Weitnauer) #8

Hi @Helen_Tan, I like Fuz’s conclusion as well. What do you think of this counter-response:

Not so! Just as unguided evolution led to the development of primitive human minds, which led to sophisticated human intellects, so our advanced intelligence can create super-human artificial intelligence. The evidence is in that life has gone from simple cellular life to the first emergence of intelligence and so on and so forth through the process of evolution until we have arrived at our current mental capacities.

(Jimmy Sellers) #9

This is no different then claiming the victim card or the devil made me do it defense today. When facing consequence for actions we all tend to dance. In Aarons case I feel sure that he was trying to distance him self from the act of presumptuous sin.

30 But the one ⌊who acts presumptuously⌋ from among the native or alien blasphemes against Yahweh, and that person must be cut off from the midst of the people. 31 Because he despised the word of Yahweh and broke his command, that person will be surely cut off and bear the guilt.’ ”
(Nu 15:30–31)

2 And the man who treats with contempt so as not to listen to the priest who is standing to minister on behalf of Yahweh your God or to the judge, that man shall die; so you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people will hear and will be afraid, and they will not behave presumptuously again. (Dt 17:12–13)

And yes he was lying but I think for a reason so as not to die.

(Helen Tan) #10

Hi @Jimmy_Sellers

What I found interesting about Aaron was that even though he made the calf, it was the people who were punished but he was spared: “And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.” (Exodus 32:35).

Aaron was spared because Moses prayed for him: “And the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time” (Deuteronomy 9:20). God’s grace was shown towards Aaron even though he failed in spite of witnessing firsthand the mighty power of God demonstrated in the plagues in Egypt and the Exodus.

It just reminds me of the possibilities that can come about as we pray for people like Levandowski and those who may be impacted by him.

(Helen Tan) #11

Since the questioner believes in the “unguided evolution” of the mind, it looks like this discussion could head down the path towards the topic of Mind and Consciousness :thinking::thinking: in order to highlight the difficulties inherent in this naturalistic view of the development of the mind. That discussion will take on a life of its own but to start things off, here’s a quote from Darwin:

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

It could be interesting to explore what is the mind that the questioner is talking about and where it came from to examine his view that evolution brought it about and that evolution will continue its course towards super-human artificial intelligence. Do you think that this may be a useful approach to open up the conversation in a meaningful way?

(Jimmy Sellers) #12

@Helen_Tan, I like that quote. Thanks it is going into my Sunday school folder.:grinning:

(Jimmy Sellers) #13

@Helen_Tan, I googled the quote for context and found this, thought you might like it.

Darwin’s deeper doubt

(Helen Tan) #14

Thanks, @Jimmy_Sellers. It’s interesting to see it in context and I look forward to learning more.

(Tim Ramey) #15

@CarsonWeitnauer Sorry that it took me so long to check in as I was out of town and finally heard your podcast. It was very informative and had many stimulating thoughts and reactions.

Two things struck me. One was when you spoke of Alexa, Carson. For convenience, people throw their lives away by not retaining any privacy. Often, because we are afraid of terrorists and thugs, we will give up our freedoms for security reasons. Cameras are everywhere but it’s OK because “Big Brother” is insuring our safety.

Secondly, I was so touched by your hopeful, upbeat attitude. As scripture says that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. (I hope I’m not coming off making light of God’s Word by creating FDR as one of its authors!!) But seriously, you mentioned Carson that the Lord always wins out - over Pharaoh’s army - even when the enemy thought he won when Jesus was crucified, but no, the Lord was the victor. Thanks for your honesty that it can be frightening but when we trust in Jesus, we don’t have anything to fear. The Lord will give us everything we need for life and godliness.