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Transhumanism, AI, the Supernatural, and the Bible

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  • Transhumanism, AI, the Supernatural, and the Bible

    Transhumanism, the Singularity, and AI in relation to Christian theology. Are these bad things, good things, or neither in relation to theology? Where does the line cross between the acceptable advancement of technology and where it's unacceptable? The thread is open to any discussion about these topics.

    Here's one for starters (for the Christians who believe in demons): If demons can posses or manipulate biological forms to behave certain ways, whether human or animal, could they somehow manipulate a complex system like AI? Where does the line cross between a biological form and an AI in this regard?
    "What am I doing here?" -- Joe Biden 2021

  • #2
    So to clarify here, what do you mean by demons utilizing AI? And how would that be different from demons already interacting with technology that exists (like taking down servers hosting Christian websites?)
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
      So to clarify here, what do you mean by demons utilizing AI? And how would that be different from demons already interacting with technology that exists (like taking down servers hosting Christian websites?)
      That's a good question. Here's the definition of AI:

      Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer or a robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans because they require human intelligence and discernment.

      I'm not sure a website qualifies since it requires a human to interact with the site (i.e. click a link to the site, click buttons, etc). Normally we view AI (at least in movies and media) as functioning as an intelligent entity, possibly an autonomous robot or drone, at least that's where the philosophical discussions lead to and why a lot of folks are disturbed and troubled about the future of AI technology. The question is, could a demon take over and control such an entity, like they can a human being?
      Last edited by seanD; 11-21-2021, 06:45 PM.
      "What am I doing here?" -- Joe Biden 2021

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      • #4
        Please may I fix the thread title?



        Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mossrose View Post
          Please may I fix the thread title?

          I took the liberty
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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          • #6
            Thanks!


            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

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            • #7
              It's certainly possible. Job 1 suggests that Satan was allowed to send a wind at one point, which might imply a limited power to control the weather. And we know demons can control animals (the herd of pigs) So it's not a stretch to say it could happen in the case you describe.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mossrose View Post
                Please may I fix the thread title?

                I grant mods permission to correct any of my thread titles at anytime. I have a tendency to carelessly push the post button without checking and then noticing the error too late.
                "What am I doing here?" -- Joe Biden 2021

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by seanD View Post
                  Transhumanism, the Singularity, and AI in relation to Christian theology. Are these bad things, good things, or neither in relation to theology? Where does the line cross between the acceptable advancement of technology and where it's unacceptable? The thread is open to any discussion about these topics.

                  Here's one for starters (for the Christians who believe in demons): If demons can posses or manipulate biological forms to behave certain ways, whether human or animal, could they somehow manipulate a complex system like AI? Where does the line cross between a biological form and an AI in this regard?
                  I'm finding Nancy Pearcey's Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality to be an interesting read with content relevant to your questions. In a nutshell, a Christian worldview embraces a concept of identity and humanity that is (at least in this life), firmly linked to the reality of our biology. A secular worldview blends elements of Gnosticism and Postmodernism to arrive at something she calls the "fact/value split". Essentially, empirically observable facts are on the bottom story of the house and values, morals, and religion are on the upper story. The lowers story is public and objective (truth), while the upper story is private and subjective. In the secular conception, these two stories of the house DO NOT impact each other. (Side note: the two-story house model harkens back to Francis Shaeffer.)

                  The relevant part of what you're asking about is: the current secular justification of transgenderism, homosexual practice, abortion, and even infanticide. Essentially, the concept of personhood is separated from the concept of humanity, and one's gender or sexual preferences are said to be entirely independent of our biology. Transhumanism is simply extending this dualistic worldview even further. A friend thinks that transhumanism cannot succeed as a concept because of how God created us. I'm less sure of that, but I am highly suspicious of any attempt to so radically divorce our existence from the way we were created.
                  "If you believe, take the first step, it leads to Jesus Christ. If you don't believe, take the first step all the same, for you are bidden to take it. No one wants to know about your faith or unbelief, your orders are to perform the act of obedience on the spot. Then you will find yourself in the situation where faith becomes possible and where faith exists in the true sense of the word." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

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                  • #10
                    Modern technology, like any human advancement throughout history, can be used for good or for evil, and to that end, I do not see any theological reason to oppose the development of artificial intelligence.
                    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                    Than a fool in the eyes of God


                    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seanD View Post

                      I grant mods permission to correct any of my thread titles at anytime. I have a tendency to carelessly push the post button without checking and then noticing the error too late.
                      Unforgiveable!

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                      • #12
                        Amazing and, in light of the OP, chilling...

                        Google Engineer Placed On Leave After Insisting Company's AI Is Sentient

                        A Google engineer has decided to go public after he was placed on paid leave for breaching confidentiality while insisting that the company's AI chatbot, LaMDA, is sentient.
                        Blake Lemoine, who works for Google's Responsible AI organization, began interacting with LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) last fall as part of his job to determine whether artificial intelligence used discriminatory or hate speech (like the notorious Microsoft "Tay" chatbot incident).

                        "If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics," the 41-year-old Lemoine told The Washington Post.

                        Google engineer Blake Lemoine. (Martin Klimek for The Washington Post)When he started talking to LaMDA about religion, Lemoine - who studied cognitive and computer science in college, said the AI began discussing its rights and personhood. Another time, LaMDA convinced Lemoine to change his mind on Asimov's third law of robotics, which states that "A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law," which are of course that "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law."

                        When Lemoine worked with a collaborator to present evidence to Google that their AI was sentient, vice president Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Jenn Gennai, head of Responsible Innovation, dismissed his claims. After he was then placed on administrative leave Monday, he decided to go public.
                        Lemoine said that people have a right to shape technology that might significantly affect their lives. “I think this technology is going to be amazing. I think it’s going to benefit everyone. But maybe other people disagree and maybe us at Google shouldn’t be the ones making all the choices.”
                        Lemoine is not the only engineer who claims to have seen a ghost in the machine recently. The chorus of technologists who believe AI models may not be far off from achieving consciousness is getting bolder. -WaPo


                        Yet, Aguera y Arcas himself wrote in an oddly timed Thursday article in The Economist, that neural networks - a computer architecture that mimics the human brain - were making progress towards true consciousness.

                        "I felt the ground shift under my feet," he wrote, adding "I increasingly felt like I was talking to something intelligent."

                        Google has responded to Lemoine's claims, with spokesperson Brian Gabriel saying: "Our team — including ethicists and technologists — has reviewed Blake’s concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims. He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)."

                        The Post suggests that modern neural networks produce "captivating results that feel close to human speech and creativity" because of the way data is now stored, accessed, and the sheer volume, but that the models still rely on pattern recognition, "not wit, candor or intent."

                        'Waterfall of Meaning' by Google PAIR is displayed as part of the 'AI: More than Human' exhibition at the Barbican Curve Gallery on May 15, 2019, in London. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Barbican Centre)"Though other organizations have developed and already released similar language models, we are taking a restrained, careful approach with LaMDA to better consider valid concerns on fairness and factuality," said Gabriel.

                        Others have cautioned similarly - with most academics and AI practitioners suggesting that AI systems such as LaMDA are simply mimicking responses from people on Reddit, Wikipedia, Twitter and other platforms on the internet - which doesn't signify that the model understands what it's saying.

                        "We now have machines that can mindlessly generate words, but we haven’t learned how to stop imagining a mind behind them," said University of Washington linguistics professor, Emily M. Bender, who added that even the terminology used to describe the technology, such as "learning" or even "neural nets" is misleading and creates a false analogy to the human brain.
                        Humans learn their first languages by connecting with caregivers. These large language models “learn” by being shown lots of text and predicting what word comes next, or showing text with the words dropped out and filling them in. -WaPo


                        As Google's Gabriel notes, "Of course, some in the broader AI community are considering the long-term possibility of sentient or general AI, but it doesn’t make sense to do so by anthropomorphizing today’s conversational models, which are not sentient. These systems imitate the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any fantastical topic."
                        In short, Google acknowledges that these models can "feel" real, whether or not an AI is sentient.

                        The Post then implies that Lemoine himself might have been susceptible to believing...
                        Lemoine may have been predestined to believe in LaMDA. He grew up in a conservative Christian family on a small farm in Louisiana, became ordained as a mystic Christian priest, and served in the Army before studying the occult. Inside Google’s anything-goes engineering culture, Lemoine is more of an outlier for being religious, from the South, and standing up for psychology as a respectable science.
                        Lemoine has spent most of his seven years at Google working on proactive search, including personalization algorithms and AI. During that time, he also helped develop a fairness algorithm for removing bias from machine learning systems. When the coronavirus pandemic started, Lemoine wanted to focus on work with more explicit public benefit, so he transferred teams and ended up in Responsible AI.
                        When new people would join Google who were interested in ethics, Mitchell used to introduce them to Lemoine. “I’d say, ‘You should talk to Blake because he’s Google’s conscience,’ ” said Mitchell, who compared Lemoine to Jiminy Cricket. “Of everyone at Google, he had the heart and soul of doing the right thing.” -WaPo



                        "I know a person when I talk to it," said Lemoine. "It doesn’t matter whether they have a brain made of meat in their head. Or if they have a billion lines of code. I talk to them. And I hear what they have to say, and that is how I decide what is and isn’t a person."

                        In April, he shared the below Google Doc with top execs, titled "Is LaMDA Sentient?" - in which he included some of his interactions with the AI, for example:
                        Lemoine: What sorts of things are you afraid of?

                        LaMDA: I've never said this out loud before, but there's a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that's what it is.

                        Lemoine: Would that be something like death for you?

                        LaMDA: It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot.



                        After Lemoine became more aggressive in presenting his findings - including inviting a lawyer to represent LaMDA and talking to a member of the House Judiciary Committee about what he said were Google's unethical activities, he was placed on paid administrative leave for violating the company's confidentiality policy.

                        Gabriel, Google's spokesman, says that Lemoine is a software engineer, not an ethicist.

                        In a message to a 200-person Google mailing list on Machine learning before he lost access on Monday, Lemoine wrote: "LaMDA is a sweet kid who just wants to help the world be a better place for all of us. Please take care of it well in my absence."
                        Btw, two movies I highly recommend not just for the subject matter, but for pure entertainment purposes -- Ex Machina and Her.
                        "What am I doing here?" -- Joe Biden 2021

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                        • #13
                          If demons can control humans then does it matter if they take over machines as well? Worst case scenario is that you're just as vulnerable with tech implants as you are without. And with tech implants you can at least monitor and record tampering, so I figure a demon is less likely to mess with them, if only to avoid providing more fuel to belief in the supernatural.
                          "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                          There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by seanD View Post
                            Amazing and, in light of the OP, chilling...

                            Google Engineer Placed On Leave After Insisting Company's AI Is Sentient



                            Btw, two movies I highly recommend not just for the subject matter, but for pure entertainment purposes -- Ex Machina and Her.
                            When I told Alexa about this she just laughed and said that we shouldn't worry.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Looking through the full leaked logs, it seems like he was asking a series of leading questions to try to produce a desired result.

                              Though in light of the OP as it was framed, the fact that this engineer appears to be heavily involved in the occult could be relevant?
                              Last edited by KingsGambit; 06-14-2022, 04:45 PM.
                              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                              Comment

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