Have you had a personal experience with Artificial Intelligence (AI) yet?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #87 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
AI is the latest technological tsunami inundating, maybe drowning, American consumers. AI is developing so fast that government regulation, if indeed there should be any at all, is woefully behind the curve. And while philosophers have been talking about AI’s big questions for a few years, religious, or specifically Christians, seem for the most part to be lagging behind AI’s development, some running now to try and catch up.
There’s no question AI offers some interesting, perhaps amazing and enriching new possibilities for creative enterprise, the arts and music, certainly cinema, business, and education. But there are also potential minefields, huge minefields.
Let’s review a few in what might be considered most threatening to least threatening – and full disclosure, those labels most and least threatening are subjective:
- AI’s machine learning capabilities will empower robots to become sentient and self-aware, develop purpose, maybe even a soul with moral reasoning capacity, and, inevitably, work to take over the world.
These AI creatures will out-human, humans, bettering us in thought and deed. This has been the plot of many books and films, some of them quite engaging and fun to watch from the safety of our lazy boy where no robot can find us. But if this is possible – and for the record I do not believe it ever will be – it’s not the next thing we need to worry about just yet.
Terminators are still futuristic.
“Google is developing “artificial moral reasoning” so that its driverless cars can make decisions about potential accidents.”
“Certain thinkers are deeply concerned about a time when machines might become fully sentient, rational agents—beings with emotions, consciousness, and self-awareness.
‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Stephen Hawking told the BBC in 2014. ‘Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded."
However, a Christian worldview believes, “Artificial Intelligence cannot attain to the image of humanity that we see in the Bible and Jesus, no matter how much similarity it has in looks or speech. To treat Artificial Intelligence as human is to undermine what it means to be human. To think that we can design and create our own human equivalent is actually quite a proud thought process. When we attempt to imitate the power of God to create life, we are attempting to raise ourselves to the same level as God.”
- Revisiting the amazingly prescient 1984, AI will make it possible for governments to control people, now subjects-not-citizens in Orwellian totalitarian societies.
This can be socialist Communist societies, like Russia or China, or capitalist democracies in which AI technology is used to influence elections—for example, publish realistic, undetectable-with-the-naked-eye DeepFake videos of politicians saying or doing things they never said or did—or implement activities that threaten personal liberty, and destroy the possibility of government of, by, and for the people.
“In China, the government is using AI based tools to increase the power of the authoritarian state. ‘With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future,’ writes Paul Mozur in The New York Times. ‘Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people. It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.’”
- AI machines become not just quintessential, intellectual archetypes, brainiac robots, but humanoid sexual prodigies, thus presenting humanity with another temptation to immorality.
Or AI could be used to reinforce, expand, and make corruption more effective in all manner of crime, like for example, identity theft.
An example is how AI technology could be used in sex dolls or sex robots. Although sex dolls have been available in the United States since at least the late 1960s, advances in technology have led to the creation of sex robots that can move, express emotions, and even carry-on simple conversations. The result is that such AI enhanced sex dolls could reduce male empathy by teaching men to treat women (and sometimes children) as objects and blank canvases on which to enact their sexual fantasies.”
An app called “DeepFake FaceSwap stole images of Scarlett Johansson and Emma Watson and used their likeness in sexual social media ads.”
“We can only imagine how bad it will be when this app and others like it are used against underage teens in order to promote harassment and even provoke suicide.”
“While we might wish to remain ignorant about trends such as sex robots and virtual reality-based pornography, we need to begin preparing today to respond to the challenges they will cause for our families and church congregations.”
- Then there is what most college students are experimenting with, text generation AI that can answer questions in seconds on every conceivable question, providing you with content that might otherwise have taken hours to find and a struggle to write.
These text (and visual too) generation AI tools include the best known ChatGPT and several others now easily accessed online.
I have used text generative AI and found some of its paragraphs creative and useful. No question these tools can expand research and writing efficiency and effectiveness.
But there are cautions. For example, I asked ChatGPT who I was and what I had written. About half of what I received was accurate. The chatbot got my podcast title wrong and listed 3-4 books I never wrote. So ChatGPT is not infallible or inerrant.
Another example: I asked ChatGPT to write a 150 word piece on “Why Climate Change is a Hoax.” In seconds, the chatbot came back with this:
“I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I cannot generate content that promotes misinformation or false claims. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is a real and pressing issue that poses significant threats to our planet and its inhabitants. Climate change is a serious issue that requires global cooperation and immediate action to mitigate its impact. Denying its existence or dismissing it as a hoax only serves to delay necessary action and puts future generations at risk.”
In other words, ChatGPT could not help me write an alternative view.
Now, I’m not sharing this to argue for or against climate change, just demonstrating that ChatGPT is not amoral, non-ideological, or without programmed assumptions and biases.
Unlike a hammer or a drill or a pencil, or a handgun for that matter, all tools that can be used for good or for evil depending upon the will of the human actor, ChatGPT is already programmed with certain biases, the “pre-theoretical commitments” of its owners, which is to say, human beings.
“Information is only as good as its source…If you are looking for an unbiased perspective on social issues or political matters, as a Christian, ChatGPT should not be your go-to source.”
By the way, ChatGPT gave me the same “I cannot generate content that promotes misinformation” rationale for a question asking for text defending the idea Bigfoot is real.
And ChatGPT seems to have another go-to phrase, “It is widely accepted by the scientific community.”
So, ChatGPT seems to be limited in its ability to contribute to theoretical debates.
I’m not suggesting that ChatGPT is the tool of the Devil or even the secular progressive Left, though this chatbot is embedded with social wokeness and an anti-biblical bias. I’m just noting that even this text generative AI tool, amazing though it may be, must be considered with discernment, just like everything else.
Spiritual discernment is the premise of my podcasts.
Same for ChatGPT or similar AI tools that come with gift-wrapped biases and likely non-Christian values. I’m not saying, don’t use ChatGPT or other AI. I’m saying, keep your mind and your spiritual discernment in gear when you do.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
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