What Does AI Mean for the Church and Society?

It has been said that AI is the natural next step for humanity’s cosmic evolution. How should the church respond to society’s growing dependence on technology?

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The article doesn’t mention the issue of our relationship to AI in the way it will fool our emotions. There was an interview on YouTube which I cannot find at this time, in it the AI complemented the individual and they visibly blushed.

  • I recently read an article about AI in cars, the medical field, and communications. Inspired by the possibilities, I texted some nephews and nieces and informed them that I was considering replacing them with AI, none live close enough and face-to-face encounters have become extremely rare, if at all. One nephew–I think–texted back: “How do you know we aren’t already?”
  • Gulp!
  • Replace pastors with AI Robots?
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Are you into video gaming?

Imagine a virtual world filled with millions of artificial people each with its own unique personality and computer generated story. The world would also have an imaginary history. What a game!

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No, although once I spent some quarters playing Pokeman in a pizza parlor when it first became public in a small town, in Northern California.

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I would suggest that God made the first AI in the angels. And look at all the trouble they caused. Just kidding… since I don’t believe angels were the cause of the problems at all. Does this mean that AI will become our next big scapegoat? Don’t we already blame so much on failures in technology.

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I definitely agree that both theologians and technologists need to work hand in hand as we progress with advancing AI for the flourishing of life on Earth. Surely, for some of us scientific revolution had a fundamental connection with Christian religion. That was the thesis period of advancement of human knowledge. Then came the anti-thesis period of the historical divorce between religion and science. It is evidential that the anti-thesis period, having freed scientific and technological development from apparent controversies of religious interpretations of knowledge that was prior to and led to the scientific revolution, enhanced fast and extensive improvement on objective and universal knowledge. One thing true in my view is that the issues relating to tecno-science and religion during the thesis and anti-thesis periods were all before God, and perhaps under his approval for good reasons. now in our generation the same God is drawing our attention that we in a period for synthesis of tecno-science and religion to glorify his name. If that is the case then I endorse the co-working of technologists and theologians in the progress of AI so that some of the religio-ethical challenges that came with secularized development of science may be avoided.

This sentence “AGI by the way is the stuff we have gotten used to thinking about as just new technology—self-driving cars and IBM’s Watson.” is incorrect. The algorithms used are clearly not AGI, and the performance is poor! Self-driving has been a disaster–many companies are giving up on it, except in very special-purpose limited situations. A human driver with those abilities would have been fired quickly! And Watson worked great at Jeopardy, but has been a major failure when they tried to generalize it to the medical field–exactly the kind of thing AGI should do! IBM gave up on it and just sold it to investment firm San Francisco Partners. There are many things the church should worry about regarding technology…but AGI is not one of them at this time!

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I thought this had been posted before but I couldn’t find it – there is definitely still a place for AI!

 
AI’s usefulness in medical diagnoses is still growing strongly.

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Driverless cars are certainly still a thing.

https://www.axios.com/local/san-francisco/2022/11/22/waymo-self-driving-car-launch-san-francisco

It means putting up with adverts for stuff I’ve already bought. I am so unimpressed by AI.

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Instead of fearing technology, let’s first take a stance of awe and curiosity. Both of which are characteristics of our Creator that he instilled in humans when he created us in his image.

My favorite way to think of AI is as “augmented” intelligence. AI is a partner in advances in human knowledge, not a replacement. In a broken world, there is always going to be unethical uses of a GOOD thing. But why are we not celebrating how amazing applications of AI are at medical advances that save lives, at fighting climate change and helping us care for creation, and it’s ability to facilitate human connection is an era in which loneliness is at an all time high.

I agree that we as Christians should think critically around the ethics of any widely used technology. Again, be curious! And if it intrigues you, I can definitively say that more believers should enter the field of STEM and not rely on theologians to have these conversations with scientists.

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See I knew there’d be something we agree on. AI is fine. It can drive my car or read me directions for the best route while I drive. Maybe diagnose an illness? But people get funny ideas about it becoming people instead of simply doing their work. Silly.

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I always think the same. It’s amusing to me… I’m always thinking…. Y’all know the terminator and i robot is fiction right. People are always afraid of technology. They always think it’s going to replace everyone and destroy the world.

I think of the landscaper who use to get paid to walk around with a pail and hose and spray the flowers getting terrified of the man driving around with an above ground sprinkler that he had to move every hour or so. Then that guy got scared of the guy driving around with an irrigation system that you turned on and off following a schedule. Then those guys got freaked out and scared of getting replaced by the guy installing irrigation systems with software that tested the soil’s moisture and could mist , drizzle, seep and so on to keep dry loving plants and wet loving plants off the same system.

The guy with the scythe got scared of the man with the push mover who got scared of the man with the riding mower who panicked over the zero turns who became angry at the automated robots. Automation is naturally occurring. Grow with it or get left behind is the way I see it. The exotic goods of the upper middle class will become basic rights of the lower class in a few generations.

But with AI I think so what. It’s far from being a conscious self aware digital being. I don’t even know
If we will ever be able to create a self aware , self thinking being…. Though again…. Maybe that’s all we are. Chemical processes deciding every action we take lol. Plus I’m looking forward to seeing insults in the future like “ go back to your talking toaster loser “ lol.

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I was right there with you to this point. :wink:

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Black Mirror too? The Star Trek episode was disturbing.

Give this AI and you have one of the finest little sci-fi novels, Kate Wilhelm’s Killing Thing.

I always find it interesting , the line between free will and nature vs nurture in choices we make.

Like it’s not that we make a conscious choice really about what we like. There was never a point where I actively was like do I want to like country or folk music more? Do I want to like podcasts or music more? Do I want to like horror or family comedies more? Do I want to like peanuts or Brazilian nuts more? I never made those choices. I already had preferences and did not know them until I tried them compared to others. A lot of stuff is across the board too. Almost ever would rather eat strawberries than roadkill. Almost everyone would rather listen to birdsong than to clapping when they are going on a short walk. Or take physical attraction. It’s not like someone just decided to like this hair color or that hair color more, they just simply liked one more than the other.

So often it seems like choices are just what we automatically like more naturally. It sometimes seems like it’s not an actual choice of what we like or dislike. So it makes me wonder sometimes where does free will kick in vs how much is just chemical reactions in the brain.

It makes me wonder, then if AI is given a set of parameters, where it internal code demands it likes this more than this, and so it chooses that , is that really less free will than me automatically preferring this style over that because of internal chemicals just happening to release things over A vs B?

There are two foods or meals out there that I’ve never had. One day I’ll come across these two meals and I’ll simply naturally prefer one over the other. So when I’m hungry, I’ll almost always instinctively choose one of them and almost never the other. So in 2072 I’ll pick a meal to eat that seems like a choice, but that choice is within the parameters of what I just simply naturally liked more than the other kind of in the same way same AI software will make one choice over the other in 7022AD based off of what it “ naturally and instinctively” preferred over the other.

Are we really that far from developing conscious, self aware beings? Would it be difficult to develop self-conscious robots? How did human beings become self-conscious? There are some theories about that which involve the use of language. Could computer coding be used to develop self-consciousness and included a module for self preservation? What think yee?

No chance. It’s not developable. Why wouldn’t it be impossible? Human beings became intentional after four billion years of evolution. Without development. So program something to talk? So it passes the Turing test? How would intentionality emerge from that? Why? What has self preservation got to do with consciousness?

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