Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a popular topic of conversation these days. You may be relying on AI without even realizing it. Siri, what’s the weather going to be like today? Hey Google, what’s “AI”? Alexa, play my favorite song! So, what is artificial intelligence anyways? Simply put, it’s the humanizing of machines.
You may have heard about Google’s self-driving (or driverless) car and the programming challenges associated with a machine making choices when things go wrong – should an autonomous vehicle swerve to avoid hitting the people (saving their lives) and crash into a building (killing the occupants) or vice versa?
You may have heard about Watson, a machine created by IBM. This machine has the ability, among other things, to help doctors treat patients. By reviewing every medical book and medical journal ever written, Watson can sort through, organize, analyze, and retrieve a tremendous amount of information in a very short period of time to help doctors diagnose diseases, prescribe treatments, and ultimately, save lives.
In this article, I’ll identify the pros and cons of AI and examine the misguided attempt of some AI developers to try to create a machine with a soul.
Yes, you read that right. A machine with a soul. Take a moment and try to get your arms around that!
1. What are the Pros of Artificial Intelligence?
Like many other inventions, AI can help improve or enhance the quality of life. Artificial Intelligence can help us get things done more efficiently, be more productive, and/or produce better products and services. It can help us save a significant amount of time and money.
2. What are the Cons of Artificial Intelligence?
Today, machines can “learn” and “think” for themselves. Researchers are trying to figure out ways to add emotional intelligence to the mix so machines can be more like humans. In this age of information overload, it’s great to have machines that can help us sort through, organize, analyze, and retrieve information.
However, beyond creating super intelligent machines, some AI developers have other goals – like trying to create a machine that has (or that could develop) a soul.
3. Should Humanity be Trying to Create Machines to Replicate Humans?
The temptation to be like God is not new.
In Genesis 1:26 (GNT), Scripture says:
And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.
In Genesis 2:7 (GNT), Scripture states that the Lord God:
Took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.
The human body, which is mind-boggling in terms of its complexity, came from the soil. Having bodies so intricate on the one hand and so fragile on the other just begs the question: how is it all possible? How do we do what we do? We see, hear, touch and smell; eat and drink; talk and listen; learn, think, and make decisions; sleep; love; and, reproduce.
Scripture indicates that the spirit inside the body brings life, not the flesh. Without the spirit, the flesh is a lifeless, empty container, much like a cocoon after the butterfly has departed.
In Job 32:8 (NLT), Scripture says:
But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.
Your intelligence comes from the Creator. As such, you learn, think, and make decisions because God gave you the ability to do so. He is the source of your existence. Apart from him, you can’t do anything. God made you. He breathed life into you. You are a unique spiritual being because of divine intelligence. There is nothing artificial about that.
Now, let’s consider the temptation to be like God. In some respects, this is like the goal (shared by some AI developers) of creating a machine with a soul.
In the Garden of Eden, God specifically instructed Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of good and evil. However, Satan tempted them. He told them that they could be like God (if they ate from the tree):
God knows that when you eat fruit from that tree, you will know things you have never known before. Like God you will be able to… Genesis 3:5 (NIRV).
4. The Devil is in the Details
The pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence are being fiercely debated. Experts are trying to figure out the best way to program morality into machines and who (or what group of people or organization) should be responsible for doing so.
While Creation may be able to make machines for doing good and evil, it’s important to remember that Creation cannot be like the Creator. Whenever Creation is tempted to be like the Creator, I can assure you that the devil will be in the details.
Do you think humanity should be trying to create machines to replicate humans (and why or why not)?
If you would like to learn more about the Creator and Creation, check out my book Rediscovering the Divine: Seeing God in a Whole New Way.
Humans definitely should not try to create machines who replicate humans. GOD IS GOD AND WE ARE NOT GOD. I believe this endeavor by man will totally fail and is not pleasing to the Lord.