Does God want us to create computers with artificial intelligence even though God gave us perfectly good brains to do the work ourselves?
Throughout history, our God-given brains have been used to create a host of things that allow humans to do much more than one body alone could do. I think God is honored by our creativity and innovation. Artificial intelligence is just one more thing that right now might seem incomprehensible but in another five or 10 years will be commonplace.
But first, what is artificial intelligence (sometimes mistakenly called machine learning)? The definitions keep changing, but AI is really neither intelligent nor able to learn—not in the typical sense, anyway. AI is the ability of computers to be programmed to come to mathematical conclusions with incredible speed. Think of it this way: What if your car had the ability to remember everything—where you’re going, the traffic patterns, the weather, and so on—as you drive it around town? In time, it’d pick up your habits and preferences and could drive itself.
Whether you know it or not, you’re probably already using AI. How does your phone’s email or texting often know what you were about to type? How do “smart” audio applications like Siri or Alexa figure out what you want it to do with just the little bit of information you gave it? How does your bank know to notify you when they think your credit card has been compromised? AI is helping humans already.
But our world is clearly broken, and the same efforts that result in good things can also wreak havoc. “Unsinkable” ships sink, electricity kills, and social media created to connect us breaks us apart. AI is no different, and we need to pay attention to the power we hand over to it.
AI-powered facial recognition is one example. It recognizes me, so I don’t have to enter a password when logging into my computer. But people could also use it to systematically discriminate.
Think of any bad things humans have a propensity for—lying, cheating, abusing, stealing, discriminating—and add a little AI. What was bad is now much worse—and a faster worse. And if it works one time, the machine will repeat it at an even faster pace.
Stay diligent, humans!