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Artificial intelligence, or AI, has taken center stage in cultural conversations. We were discussing AI during my classes in the 1990s. But in the 21st century, AI has taken on a life of its own – literally. Here is what I mean.
You may have heard of AI but the expanded idea from the 1990s to today is something called “transhumanism.” A transhumanist is a person who believes the human species can evolve past our physical and intellectual limitations through technological breakthroughs. Some actually believe transhumanism can lead humans to become God.
The following quotes come from the essay “Rage Against the Machine” at The Free Press, noted at the end of this Truth in Two. Transhumanist Martine Rothblatt says that by building AI systems, “we are making God.” Transhumanist Elise Bohan says, “we are building God.” Futurist Kevin Kelly believes that “we can see more of God in a cell phone than in a tree frog.” “Does God exist?” asks transhumanist and Google maven Ray Kurzweil. “I would say, ‘Not yet.’ ”
From a Hebraic-Christian standpoint, transhumanism is not new; humans have desired to be God since Genesis 3. “Being like God,” as our adversary says, strikes against both revelation and creation. God has revealed Himself in Scripture, an authoritative text that people want to reject because they want to be their own authority. And God has revealed Himself through His creation.
Attempts to change creation into our own image, whether by sexual identity or artificial intelligence, is the second way humans want to throw off Heaven’s authority. The Bible is an authoritative text given by God. If you jettison the Bible, you will need to put something in its place. If there is no supernatural source, no God who has made Himself known, then we are our own authority. Our culture is both anti-supernatural and anti-creational. For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking Truth and exposing untruth, wherever it’s found.
And it seems we are not alone. “Rage Against the Machine” (no, not the rock band) is a great essay about technology being a god. I wish you all would read it.
Paul Kingsnorth says he draws on the Christian tradition of ascesis, which means self-discipline or self-denial. Again, I would encourage everyone to think through the ten-minute-to-read essay. [I wrote chapter two in Science Fiction and the Abolition of Man titled, “The Monster in the Mirror: The Problem with Technology is the Problem with Us.” My perspective on any kind of evil, fault, or consequence is that whatever “it” is, we started it (Genesis 3). [If you live close enough to me – or even if you don’t – I’ll be glad to get you a signed copy at a discount from my stash. We can Venmo if you like! Write and let me know if you’re interested.]Published in