Worship The Computers!
Back in May, two writers filmed a discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) in Lisbon, Portugal. One of the writers was Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli author, professor and advisor to the influential World Economic Forum. During the almost hour long discussion Yuval made an interesting comment about AI and religion. He basically predicted that it is very possible that an AI would create its own bible and religion. “AI can create new ideas. [It] can even write a new Bible! Throughout history, religions dreamed about having a book written by a superhuman intelligence, by a non-human entity,” he said. “Every religion claims … all the other books of the other religions, they, humans, wrote them. But our book, no, no, no, no, it came from some superhuman intelligence.”
So he is basically stating that all religions claim every other religion’s holy book but theirs was written by humans. Whereas theirs is correct because it was written by superhuman intelligence, i.e. god. Yet, Yuval believes all religions were started by humans and all were false. Referring to Christianity he said, “The printing press printed as many copies of the Bible as Gutenberg instructed it, but it did not create a single new page,” he said. “It had no ideas of its own about the Bible. Is it good, is it bad, how to interpret this, how to interpret that.”
Yuval Noah Harari
So where does he believe it is all going? It is bad enough if an AI created a new bible or new religion. But Yuval took it a step farther by saying, “In a few years there might be religions that are actually correct. Just think about a religion whose holy book is written by an AI. That could be a reality in a few years.” So he not only predicts (or should I say prophesied ) that artificial intelligence could easily create its own religion, but that it would actually be correct. And why would it be the correct religion? Because it was written, not by humans, but by a superhuman intelligence!
While this may seem far fetched, it is not. With the latest technology out there, computers are starting to not just react, but think and create. And Yuval is not alone in this. In an April interview with Tucker Carlson Elon Musk stated he had to distance himself from Google co-creator Larry Page. The reason was because Elon was concerned about the ethical ramifications of what Larry wants to do with AI. Christian Post states, “Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk revealed that Google co-founder Larry Page once told him he hoped to build an AI super-intelligence that Musk described as a ‘digital god.’”
I began to think about what this might be like. A religion, worship service, commands and principals to follow, all created by a computer. And so many people believing it couldn't possibly be wrong because a rational, unbiased, uninfluenced machine made it up! This is a far cry from what God has said in His word about idols: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.” (Psalm 115:4–7) While a computer may be able to hear and talk, one thing that is still overlooked here is that it is a created thing! It was still made by human hands. It is not eternal, it is not omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent. It still needed a start, or help if you will, to begin its activity.
But even more fascinating about this, is that we as people have come to this. Think about this, what has become the greatest addiction to humans over the last 15-20 years? Technology. What has dominated our homes, works, schools and churches? Computers. What do we always have to have the latest and newest of? Electronics. What has connected the world like the world has never seen since the Tower of Babel? The internet. And we haven't even gotten to our smartphones yet. 85% of Americans own a smartphone. It jumps to 95% for those under the age of 50. In a single day, the average smartphone user clicks, swipes or taps 2,617 times. Cell phones cause over 20% of car accidents. And what about the next generation? Almost two-thirds of children spend four hours or more per day on their smartphones. 47% of Americans admit they’re addicted to their phones. 44% of American adults admit that not having their phones gives them anxiety. 71% of people spend more time on their phone than with their romantic partner. 57% of people spend five or more hours per day on their phone. And while we think silencing the phone may help, we are wrong. Research has discovered that silencing smartphones actually increases use.
What is my point? God has already told us this would happen. It makes perfect sense that we would look to AI to be a god. For God has told us, “Those who make [idols] become like them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:8) We should not be surprised that our technology should turn into an official religion because we have already been worshiping it for years. So many people can not even imagine living without it. Millions would not know how to function without the internet, computers, TVs, or smartphones. Let us use this as a warning of making an idol without realizing it. Let us be careful not to become enslaved to technology. While it is useful and sometimes necessary, be careful not to take it too far. Technology can even be used to spread the Gospel and His truth. Yet, we can also become enslaved to it without even realizing it. We do not need AI to get the truth, He has already told us it, in the actual Bible! The world doesn't need a computer to get superhuman intelligence, He already exists. So let us devote our lives to Him and become slaves to righteousness, not slaves to technology.