Truth Un-Dumbs both Human and Artificial Intelligence

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For more than a half-century now, this Sunday’s gospel reading has appeared in stadiums across the U.S. Posted on placards as simply, “John 3:16,”curious fans looked it up to discover:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Belief is a hard thing to instill, especially using something as simple as poster board. Anyone with a job in any organization knows how hard their leaders work to instill belief in THEM. It’s the key to protecting their professional futures—especially with technology threatening to replace humans.

The media are presenting artificial intelligence (AI) as the latest threat to life as we know it. Technology guru Elon Musk has been quoted saying that, unchecked, AI may eventually destroy humanity when it discovers it no longer needs us.

But technology has been prompting us humans to believe “God is Dead” for at least as long as contrarians have countered with their John 3:16 signs. Those stubborn card carriers know the secret ingredient AI hasn’t been able to master: Wisdom. Our Creator has hidden that rare commodity in a wide variety of unlikely but beautiful human containers around the world—like Easter eggs. AI can’t find wisdom in one place, and therefore, the more we humans keep asking OUR Creator for it, the harder it will be for AI to isolate it. But as Sunday’s first reading acknowledges (Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9), humanity’s greatest weakness is being dumb enough to think we can get by on intelligence without OUR God’s wisdom. Moses prayed about that:

“If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”

A friend of mine, Mike Kotecki, is a technology guru himself. He wrote a book titled “Leadership for Engineers,” and he wove enough wisdom throughout it to remind readers tempted to go it alone that “Learning from others is an endless exercise; good people always consider themselves works in progress.”

Based on the many letters Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he’d agree with Mike. In fact in Sunday’s (2 Cor 13:11-13) he advises:

“Rejoice! Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Now if we could just get this AI “Frankenstein” we created to think of its human creators the same way. Elon Musk thinks that’s our salvation:

“An AI which seeks truth is unlikely to kill us as it finds us interesting,he concluded.

Maybe humans seeking truth will ensure we won’t try killing off OUR God, either.

–Tom Andel

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