Monday, May 22, 2023

Why are we in love with AI

I hear all sorts of folks gushing about AI (Artificial Intelligence).  There are sermon writers and term paper authors who are using the programs now available to do the heavy lifting for their needs and they edit out the stuff when it sounds too intelligent or stilted.  And some folks think this is the most interesting thing to come along since sliced bread!  Have you read any of the stories about the success so far with self-driving cars?  As old-fashioned as it seems, I would rather have a human idiot behind the wheel than a robotic mechanism designed by a human idiot.  The truth is that many folks find this whole idea fascinating.  Not me.  I am still looking for signs of intelligent human life and have neither the time nor the inclination to cast my search elsewhere as long as this is still relevant.

Somewhere I read that there might only be a 10% chance that this AI business could go wrong.  10%?  A little low, I would guess, but we will stick with it.  So there is only a 10% chance the machines could turn on us and work for our mass destruction?  Well, that is comforting.  Even if there was no chance, wasn't the prescient thought process supposed to be that which was the mark of our humanity?  Self-awareness and autonomous thought might be a little further down the pike but at the rate of our technological progress we will probably get there sooner rather than later.  How is this different than the Tower of Babble?  Will the technology bubble burst on its own or will God come down to do it for us?  Or will He simply allow the tools of our own invention to cause our end?

The real problem seems to be less about AI than about the quest for human intelligence in the wake of some boneheaded decisions made by us or for us.  Here I am referring to the rapid changes that have brought us such egregious things as gender which conflicts with reproductive organs, DNA, and genes or the pills to kill the baby in the womb or pharmaceuticals that can help us check out of life painlessly but someone cannot be relied upon to do the same for those marked for capital punishment.  Where is the consistent intelligence there?  Or the string of missteps that fell under the COVID umbrella (from its source now thought to be a research facility to the treatments which did not treat or the vaccine which did not prevent getting the illness).  Or the idea that smoking tobacco is bad for your health but smoking marijuana is medicinal?  I think you get my drift.  We are still searching for signs of intelligent human life and maybe this ought to be a higher priority than the pursuit of artificial intelligence -- at least if we are willing to delay what can be done until we are sure it is what should be done.

Siri cannot figure out what I am saying into my phone and Alexa cannot even give me a good joke.  Do I really want more complex versions of these diagnosing what is wrong with my car or my body, making financial decisions on my behalf, or writing the words I read anywhere?  Do I want my pastor using AI to write his sermons or prepare his Bible studies?  Do I want AI to write my obituary or form the creed I confess on Sunday mornings?  I am over it before it even started.  What about you?

1 comment:

jdwalker said...

I wish I could be over it, but it is becoming an increasing clamor in the workplace to find more uses for it. The idol of productivity is colliding with the idol of technological progress to propel the love for AI. Even if AI is as benign as the internet (i.e., a useful tool of evil, but not inherently and actively seeking to destroy us itself) or completely fails at increasing the stagnating productivity of the workforce, it will still result in significant degradation of society. We must continue to toil to fight against that and bring people to the realization that God has created them to be more.