In 1950 Alan Turing proposed a test to decide whether or not a machine can act as intelligently as a human being.
Meanwhile AI has make it possible for a software to pass the Turing test: testees believe they are talking to a human and not to a computer. Will therefore human intelligence be superseded by AI?Interestingly, full artificial intelligence is being increasingly perceived as a big threat to civilization.
Stephen Hawking has even warned that artificial intelligence could end mankind:“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will 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 Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.” (BBC, on December 2, 2014). But why to fear about the end of mankind? Wouldn’t it be good that evolution takes a step forward and humans are superseded by a “superior” species, as transhumanism dreams? If we worry, it means we believe that mankind has a dignity robots and animals don’t. But why should we keep to this belief? Where does the human dignity come from? This is a key question, which inspires all contributions in this thread on “Artificial Intelligence”.
Some introductory thoughts:
Independently of whether or not one accepts the Bible as God’s revelation, we find in it statements that clearly answer the question about the dignity of mankind.
A key statement is Genesis 9:3-6. Here is stated that God made mankind in the image of God. For this reason, we are accountable to God and humanity for the life of other humans, but we can use animals for food. In other words, mankind has a dignity that no other species has.
Another important statement is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The fact God became human is a strong reason to acknowledge that we should not try to supersede mankind by “another superior species”. Indeed, both statements “God made mankind in the image of God” and “the Word became flesh” complete each other.This does not mean that to believe in human dignity one has “to read the Bible”: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, who were supposed to acknowledge the principle of Genesis 9:36, have certainly not read the Bible. In fact, the principle of Genesis 9:3-6 can be considered a universal moral archetype, which is part of the collective subconscious of mankind, sort of natural revelation enlightening everyone coming into existence. On the other hand, God has created the universe so that it is intelligible to human beings. That is why we can abstract information, process it and use it to shape it further. We call this ability “intelligence”. (Intelligence is actually more than just that. It is, above all, an awareness of what is being done. There exist in us also non-intelligent processes, such as digestion or deep dreams). In order for man to keep in touch with reality, God has given us, as innate habits, the first principles. In this sense it is interesting to see that Genesis 9:3-6 intimately unites the knowledge of the world (distinction between humans and animals) (Genesis 2:19-20), “the knowledge of good and evil” ruling human behavior (Genesis 2:17), and the “creation of mankind in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). With the initial endowment of first principles and intelligence, we formalize our observations of the universe (knowledge by cause) in what we call science. We may apply this knowledge to ordinary life through what we call art and technique. With the invention of the motor – the first attempt to achieve automation – technique has become technology. But we want to do more, because we are more: God has made each human being in his image, after his likeness (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2-4; 9:3-6). That is why it is not enough for us to transform (art, technique), nor to build (technique, technology). We seek to realize (make real) something “in our image and likeness”: the intelligent automaton, moved by more or less abstract decisional sequences (action and reaction), which we call programs. The machines that function like intelligent automata are called computers, robots, etc. Just as man is not God, the automaton is not a human being. But by imitating human beings automata can help us to know ourselves better. Among other things, in order to be integrated into the universe, intelligent automata participate from the four causes that make up the universe: software (formal cause), hardware (material cause), programmer (final cause) and processor (efficient cause). In the last few years we have launched a digital revolution in which, through the programming of intelligent automata, we look forward to reach a new dimension of the existence, a new kind of harmony with the universe (a new way of living, moving and existing). At the same time, because we can misuse our freedom, this digital revolution might put in great danger the future of mankind. To “avoid misusing our freedom” God engraved in our heart (the collective subconscious of mankind) the universal archetype enounced in Genesis 9:3-6. If we behave accordingly and don’t destroy mankind trying to “supersede” it by robots or cyborgs, we will be able to implement AI in highly beneficial ways for mankind and the whole biosphere.
Here are some examples, which we aim to discuss in this thread:
- medical advances (e.g. MRI, robotic surgeons [e.g. to operate on tumors of the brain]);
- healthcare (virtual doctors who will be on a smart bracelet, …);
- academic advances: virtual scientific research (e.g. a virtual chemistry laboratory); explore virtual geography or past civilizations (e.g. the Roman empire ); simulators (to train people);
- social advances: e.g. improving care for the elderly, exoskeletons for paraplegics;
- security (automatic trains, advanced security systems), fight against terrorism;
- process optimization (e.g. food production and transportation, traffic in the city);
- interpersonal communication (intelligent video conferences, translations, online assistants…);
- space exploration (there are places that man will not be able to explore, e.g. the planet Jupiter; but there are an automaton);
- environmental optimization;
- finance (e.g. expert systems) and economics (e.g. augmented reality for marketing purposes).
- 2022: Artificial Intelligence, Humanity, and the Image of God.
Video recording of the Online-event IIS-2022-1, Friday 7th January, 2022
- 2021: Artificial Intelligence and the Evolutionary Explanation of Religion:
Video recording of the Online-event IIS-2021-3, September 4th, 2021
Video recording of the Online-event IIS-2021-2, May 1st, 2021
Article by Joseph Evans: The faith-science dialogue: it just got harder
Video recording of the Online-event IIS-2021-1, January 2nd, 2021.
- 2020: Machine Intelligence, “the Turing test in tatters”
Ilyas Khan, Inaugural Chairman of the Stephen Hawking Foundation and CEO of
Cambridge Quantum Computing
Presentation at IIS2020
- 2019: Can computers replace teachers?
Cesare Miglioli and Ignacio Monge, Slideshare.
The presentation has two parts. In the first one, we review a series of studies that compare the efficacy of learning with “digital teachers” as opposed to learning with normal teachers. In the second part, we make several considerations from different points of view that may be helpful to answer the question.
- 2018: On simulating human intelligence by means of computers
G. Napoli, P. Iaccarino and A. Schiano di Colella, Slideshare.
Technological advancement, as inexorable and as rapid as it has been in the last half century, provided us with means of great computational power; could it be possible to reproduce human intelligence by employing such machines? Whether this endeavour is met with success or unsuccess, the implications will have an impact of near indeniable magnitude on, amongst other things, the way we think about our mind. Are the recent developments in what is called “machine learning”, algorithms that attempt to simulate those abstractions typical of our intellect, the way forward in this regard? Can the development of quantum computing offer a new way of exploring this most complex of problems? Our group’s aim is to discuss this very actual topic and to attempt to offer answers to these and other questions.
- 2018: Transhumanism and brain
This presentation lists some brain-computer interface technologies that exist today and that could be attainable in future. At the end, philosophical comments about this kind of technology and transhumanism are purposed, in order to reveal the key difference between a humain brain and artificial intelligence.
- 2018: Sequential processing in nature
Dominic Jones, Slideshare.
- 2018: Infinite Chess: winning and draw
Marco Natale, Slideshare.
A presentation about Infinite Chess and the difference between man and machines, from works by C.D.A. Evans and J.D. Hamkins.