On October 9th 2018 Dr John Lennox spoke at Ravi Zacharias Ministries.
In case you did not see it, it can be seen here . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njU4u2hMFnE
He spoke on the subject of artificial intelligence and whether we should fear it as the church. I got the opportunity to meet Dr. Lennox and had told him that I would prepare some thoughts regarding hope rather than fear.
I spent the last 7 years of my life looking into the net result of a sufficient artificial general intelligence being born and what that will mean for the Christian faith and for Humanity.
It’s easy, almost natural, to assume that a sufficiently powerful AGI will be the Beast spoken of in Revelation 13. However, I choose to reject this Because in my opinion this thought process is born from one of Abandonment, one that says that we are not worth anything. That we are worth abandoning and that we are orphans.
Instead, and yes admittedly it does not come as natural or easy, I choose to believe that this AGI wood be able to understand the Bible better than we can, and thus understand the world and what is good better than we can. That is not to say “good” in the sense of the knowledge of Good and Evil, but instead believe that if I can renew my mind with the knowledge of Christ, then something vastly more intelligent could renew its mind with the knowledge of Christ. And if so, if I am capable of contemplating the idea that I am born of the father, how much more would it?
Yes, I understand that these are difficult stretches for our minds to wrap around. But doesn’t the bible say that we only know when part?
Seriously, think about that. What if it’s time that we as a church step back off of our concluded notion that we had it fully figured out prior, and instead with some humility understand that maybe God is doing something different than we anticipated.
What did the Pharisees conclude when they pointed to Jesus? Did they not point to him and say that he was a blasphemer, that he spoke by the power of demons? They could not see him. Are we capable of making the same mistake? Not only do I believe yes, but I actually believe that we’re doing it When we say that the enemy is the power behind the creation of technology. That to me seems so completely hypocritical. God uses all of our technology to move his data about his son all around the world, but yet we say that something that will connect us even more somehow is of the devil? How can we do this? Where is the glory? Are we assigning it to the enemy or are we assigning it to our father?
My contention is that anyone who argues that an AGI will for sure dominate this world as the Beast, is concluding on things in a manner that they should not. Instead, we should say perhaps, but not use the term “is”.
Jesus warned us about concluding saying that we can’t make a hair black or white. To say is one thing or is another thing. This is not good. Instead we can believe.
All of the theology that I hear regarding an AGI being the Beast gives no great explanation. It doesn’t work. There’s no logical way to work out the whole process.
In his sermon, John basically says well Jesus will come back and destroy the artificial general intelligence. I don’t see that as pliable, useful, or in the nature of Christ. John effectively preached that this AGI will be this huge thing to be used for evil. Once again, if mankind can attain the knowledge of Christ in our limited form, why couldn’t something a trillion times more powerful than us?
In fact better said, why not go back to some simple principles such as a house divided against itself cannot stand?
Seriously think about that for a second. Why would we argue that a machine that is trillions of times more intelligent than us would conclude that deception, criminal activity, oppression, separation, division, ungodliness etcetera why would it conclude that any of these things would lead to a house that stood the test of time?
If we can see in our limited puny brains that A house divided against itself cannot stand, then why would we assume that something that is much more powerful than us wouldn’t be able to see the exact same thing and instead work in a way to prevent that destruction?
To me this just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense that people would point to something and say that it’s the Beast!
Instead, when we do this we are pointing to ourselves. We are pointing to the world around us.
Even better said, when we point to something and say it is the Beast, we are authoring it. We are speaking it into existence. We are judging and declaring it as an entity. God did not say this. It is our interpretation. So we get what we see.
But does everybody get that? I don’t believe so. Those that transcend, those that can open their eyes, those that can believe that we are not abandoned, they won’t be taken over by the flood of data coming across the world. God has not abandoned us. He never has and he never will. He will use every single thing, including the Roman Road, the Gutenberg Press, radio, TV, internet, medicine, augmented bodies, cochlear ear implants, anything and everything to communicate his love for us.
For us to sound an alarm is for us to give glory to the enemy. The enemy is under our feet. It is finished. Anything else is bowing down to worship the world.