Artificial Intelligence, like so many other developments in science and technology, does cause some ethical and theological concern. I asked myself plenty of times while reading Tamatea's article, "is AI a good idea?", and I couldn't come up with as answer. I believe that, as humans, we are created in the "image of God," as Peterson's article states. If so, then, why AI? It's an advancement, yes. It does have some positive aspects, yes. But, how far is too far? This idea of technological singularity terrifies me a little bit, especially after having watched Battlestar Gallactica. (I had nightmares for weeks after watching I, Robot.) Though I highly doubt machines will ever evolve and try to destroy the human race, I do believe that it is dangerous to develop computers that think for themselves. In a way, it's "playing God." In a way, it's creating a life of some sort. The Radiolab we listened to about AI really helped me understand that. I remember being terrified of Furbies as a child, and until I listened to this particular radio show, I could never place why. It's because I felt that I was actually responsible for a life, even thought it was only a toy. I don't want to say that we should eliminate AI fully, but we should definitely be more cautious of it. I don't think its smart for us to create something smarter than we are.
I think that there are legitimate ethical and theological concerns about AI. In my opinion, one of the primary concerns is that computers will soon be as intelligent as humans, also referred to as the “singularity.” I think this gives rise to concerns about human’s ability to control technology. The idea of the “singularity” reminds me of the movie Eagle Eye when the supercomputer at the department of defense begins blackmailing certain individuals with the intended goal of killing the president and his cabinet. Do you think that it is possible that technology could advance past that of human intelligence in a similar manner as to what happened in Eagle Eye? Also, should AI have rights if it does gain the same level of intelligence as humans?
William Bainbridge suggests that as AI progresses there will be no more gaps for God to fill, creating an increase in religious resistance. I think that this is clearly a theological concern for AI because as technology progresses, religion could become viewed as less important and for lack of better words, believable. Do you agree with Bainbridge’s opinion that AI will lead to an increase in religious resistance?
There are multiple issues that certain technological advances, such as Artificial Intelligence, bring to the table. I found the difference in Buddhist and Christian responses to be symptomatic of the broader incoherence of opinion regarding technological advances in general. For example, the Amish responded to technological advances by functionally saying, "Actually, we don't want to continue advancing technologically. We think everything is perfect just the way it is." Yet many people, religious and nonreligious alike, view technological advancement as the main goal of the human enterprise. After all, advances in agricultural technology or infrastructure are what allowed the human race to flourish and develop. There are many opinions on the subject, and they are not necessarily dictated by a person's religion. What are your opinions on technological advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence? Is it possible that if computers/robots became too intelligent the result could be a Terminator-like apocalypse? What about all the predicted benefits that will come in the fields of medicine or transport?
I also had some thoughts regarding the conversation at the end of class on Thursday, in which we discussed the fact that technological advances require our participation and, to some extent, our willingness to sacrifice. I saw an interested documentary the other day about advances in Quantum Physics which discussed the possibility of teleportation. The narrator explained that teleportation is possible, but that it involves disassembling an object or person and reassembling it in a second location. He went on to address the question that arose from this discovery: Is the person or object the same person/object when it is reassembled? The narrator believes the answer was yes, because it was the exact same composition of particles as the original. However, this does raise serious religious and philosophical questions. For example, if the object is really the same just because its particles are assembled in the same way, is there still room for the idea of a soul? I found this discussion ties into Bainbridge's belief that advancing technology could have serious negative impacts on religion. What are your thoughts on the subject?