Artificial Intelligence Post Number 24

I like to read recent books related to AI. “Artificial Intelligence: The God Killer,” by Zed Marston was published on October 3, 2015, and despite it being a short book, it has a 5 star rating on Amazon. It is an easy read.

I believe that this this book, as many books on AI, makes a serious mistake in that it assumes that once computers have abilities exceeding that of humans, they will get almost god-like knowledge and wisdom. But how will this happen? The computers will have to build on the same knowledge base that humans use. They will just do it faster and with more accuracy. No unique knowledge on questions such as “why are we here?” or “why is there anything?” or even “does the theory of evolution really explain everything?” will suddenly appear for the computers! The computers will do a better job of defining the inconsistencies in the traditional religious texts, but people already ignore those inconsistencies. Sure, AI may help us build better telescopes or advanced rocketry for space exploration; but until that data are available it is unlikely that we are going to make breakthroughs or have a better understanding of basic philosophical questions that often drive people to religion or a belief in some creator. Until humans (and maybe even computers) have a better explanation for their existence and the meaning of life, the need for humans to believe in an overall creator will likely continue. In fact, AI may even increase this belief mode because few people will want to accept computers as superior in any way. They will continue to believe that man was created in God’s image, and that we are special.

I have read the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an. My personal beliefs are that each is flawed with huge inconsistencies and biases. But others have read one or more of these books and become (or remained) believers. It isn’t that the readers don’t see the inconsistencies. It just is that in most cases they give these religious sources huge latitude in that the books were written by people, not their God, and often written many years after the events described. These believers also don’t see any better explanations. Would not a computer give religion the same latitude, especially given that there seems to be no real explanation of the existence of anything that can be scientifically tested and explained with real confidence? Again, computers may not recognize religion as a strong explanation for anything; but they are unlikely to rule out all religious beliefs without having alternative testable explanations for the basic existence questions.

In my book “Artificial Intelligence Newborn – It is 2025, and I Am Here,” I include the effect of religion. Although the book is fiction, it is an attempt to present a very viable possible future once computers get the ability to think.

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2 Responses to “Artificial Intelligence Post Number 24”

  1. Bob Kaufman Says:

    I see no evidence of a reason for existence or any meaning for living beyond the meaning I decide my life has. I need no more than this to make me want to live. Why should a computer need answers to these questions? I don’t. I assume there are no answers. Just guesses.

  2. wbrussee Says:

    Bob Kaufman says, “I see no evidence of a reason for existence or any meaning for living beyond the meaning I decide my life has… Why should a computer need answers to these questions?” The thing is that about 70% (varies somewhat in different polls) of Americans believe in some sort of God. And even if the thinking AI computer doesn’t look at this independently, someone somewhere will request the computer look at the question of God’s existence.

    I happen to agree with you that “…there are no answers.” Thus the book’s premise that AI will kill the idea of a God doesn’t seem to have validity. Unless the computer discovers some secret sauce in the universe that explains the inevitability of us and everything around us, and in such an explainable manner that everyone buys in, then the question of a God will still exist. And the ‘buy-in’ is important, because, after all, we still have a Flat-Earth Society!

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