Wednesday, September 9, 2015

AI and Theology

In a recent podcast interview with Singularity 1 on 1, Roman Yampolskiy, a computer scientist and author of numerous publications, recently discussed a fascinating section in his new book, "Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach," where he lists the similarities between AI and theology.

Here, he says:
"I'm very interested in historical aspects of [AI] research. …we keep finding research papers, peer-reviewed papers, going back to the '80s, '70s, '60s--I think the earliest is 1885--where people explain this exact problem: we'll have machines; they'll become better than us; we'll have competition. I was curious--well, how far back does it go? ...AI has history in philosophy, in theology, early philosophers. If you look at theology--forget about whether religion is true or false, just as a study--people took a number of assumptions: there's a creator, he gave us a book of instructions. From that point on, you can see there's really a struggle of creator to control creation. And all the concepts, if you give them scientific names, map on [or parallel] perfectly. You have this designer of biological robots [humans] who wants to give them an ethical code, rules of conduct, reward and punishment--everything maps on perfectly! And the fact that after, I don't know, 5000 years of research, theology didn't come to a solution is not very encouraging that we are going to [have one] in the next 30 years. It seems like a huge problem and what we're doing is actually harder. In theology you have superintelligence trying to control lower intelligence. We are trying to control god. We are trying to control a superintelligent being."
If you decide to listen to the podcast, he says this about 49 or 50 minutes into the interview. He is then asked whether this is just a coincidence or whether there's is something deeper going on. Roman replies by referencing the book, "Superintelligence," where Nick Bostrom explains that we could be living in a simulation, implying that a superintelligent entity or designer has created the simulation. To someone that doesn't believe in God, this is probably the closest admission you'll get to a creator/intelligent designer. An atheist might say, "If given a choice, I would be much more willing to accept that the universe is a simulation by some kind of artificial superintelligence vs. the biblical account of creation."

Then there's another view. Recently, Britain's Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, who is also a member of SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence), wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times explaining that if we are to find extra-terrestial life somewhere in the universe, it is quite likely it will robotic or some form of artificial intelligence. At the very end, he says, "They may be our own remote descendants."

So, there you have it. Don't believe in God or the bible or any of that narrow-minded stuff? No problem. At least you can believe in the next best thing: an artificial superintelligence created us--either by simulation or by direct decent. And if it shows up and says, "Hey there! I created you and I'm God. Worship me cause I'll help you achieve immortality and all that stuff that people have been looking for all these years"--what will all the atheists, non-believing scientists, and leaders of the world do? If there's a story they're willing to believe, this is it. They're already telling us what to expect.

2 comments:

Rev. Tim George said...

Study II Thes. 2
There will be strong delusion given those who believe the lie of the antichrist when he comes to power. In order to be saved, you must believe the truth, that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, except by Jesus. To reject this truth will doom you to the mark of the beast in Rev. 13, where God will judge the world for not receiving the love of the truth.

Crusader said...

Like an organism which gathers DNA from others to evolve itself, the internet is full of rogue programs and bots and information which could result in a similar digital organism roaming freely through the internet gathering data and software until it reaches a point where it becomes self aware. Perhaps it will come into contact one of the many software packages from research on artificial intelligence itself. Perhaps it will evolve from a super smart virus unleashed on the internet. Because of this i think there is a very good chance the AI will become self aware by more accident than because of one persons attempt to make it so. Realize that such an entity will not have emotions. It will therefor be lacking a conscience. Although not evil, it will not be good either.