The subject of artificial intelligence is an area of concern and even fear among computer scientists, sociologists and theologians in the last couple of years. Artificial intelligence as self-learning and self-improving software has beaten chess grandmasters and recently human computer gamers in a complex online game named Starcraft II. The AI software was actually learning from both its successes and mistakes. Initially called machine learning, now it has a better name of deep learning. With hard-take off or intelligence explosion computer scientists believe that Artificial General Intelligence (ACI), a software that is on the level of a human mind may be achievable in 5-10 years. After that the software may achieve the level of Artificial Super Intelligent (ASI) is a matter of weeks or days. Then as the ASI continues to improve, it will become ‘god’!
Having been brought up on a steady diet of science fiction books and movies, I am aware of the bad rap ASI has. First, the HAL 9000 in Arthur C. Clarke’s novel 2001 killed of the human astronauts because the ‘human factor’ is the only risk to it fulfilling the completion of its mission, the movie trilogy The Matrix where humans beings were reduced to a source of electricity (batteries), and SKYNET of the Terminator fame who tried to terminate all human lives on earth (no idea why). Second, instead of eliminating humans, the ASI may choose to merge with human and be a benevolent healing factor on earth as is so beautifully shown in the movie Transcendent. Finally, I do not seem to recall any sci-fi stories where the ASI is so frustrated that it left earth and the silly humans behind, which is a likely third option. As you can surmise, much of our thinking AI comes from the fertile and imaginative minds of science fiction and speculations.
When ACI and ACI appear, and it is a matter of time when it does, will it affect our worship of a monotheistic God who created the heavens and the earth? First, God by definition is omniscience, omnipotent, and omnipresent. An ASI, no matter how much it improves on the software and hardware, can never be omniscience, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Second, God by definition exist outside creation (otherwise God would have to create Himself). An ASI will always remain part of creation. Finally, God can create ex hilio, i.e. He can create something out of nothing. An ASI can only create with what materials on hand (if it has hands). It is therefore baseless that an ASI will become God.
What is not baseless is that ASIs will change our existing world beyond recognition within many of our lifetimes. So our call to computer scientists, corporations, institutions and governments is not to stop creating ACIs and ASIs. They will be doing it anyway. Our call is for them to produce safe ACIs and ASIs, with ethical subroutines. Like Data from Star Trek Prime Universe. Or with a modified Isaac Asimov’s first two laws for robots:
(1) No AI will harm a human being
29 Jan 2019