How AI Will Reveal Christian Truth
Posted For: MrRightWingDave
Would it surprise you to hear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could become an effective tool for evangelization? It shouldn’t. But the real surprise is that this is due mostly to its limitations rather than its capabilities.
AI recently gained widespread notoriety with ChatGPT last fall, and now, not even a year later, just about every software service is now advertising an AI feature.
My prior AI articles looked at neural networks. Neural networks are the computer programming architectures that are the “brain” of AI. They are intended to mimic the billions of interconnected neurons of the human mind.
The two main takeaways were, 1) no matter how “smart” AI may seem, it is nothing but a very large (and dumb) computer program; and 2) the main part of neural networks, where all the so-called thinking happens, is literally referred to as the “hidden layer.” In other words, the actual operations of the AI, why it produces the results it produces, are largely hidden even from its creators.
I also proposed that mainstream AI (like the GPT AI underlying Microsoft’s Copilot and Bing search engine) is essentially a virtual representation of the “spirit of the world” – one of the three classic enemies of humanity, along with Satan and his minions, and our fallen nature (the flesh). This is because the “hidden layer” of the AI is based on worldly data sets like Wikipedia and trained by a team of mostly secular users. In my opinion, this will have profound implications for the seductiveness of AI and its potential to carry out evil on a grand scale.
In this article, I contend that AI, as it expands and advances, will come to reveal what all of technology and human invention reveals – the reality of God as explained by the Christian faith.
A Thought Experiment – Giving AI a Reason to Live
Let’s say we could replace everyone in the world with a robot body and AI brain. You are no longer you. You are now Robot-You with an AI-brain. And the same for everyone else.
What would happen? Here’s what – the entire world would grind to a halt. All of us AI robots would just sit motionless, gazing at one another with dull, lifeless eyes.
None of the AI-robot denizens of starship Earth would know what to do. Why? Because our AI-powered brains would have no intrinsic goal or purpose in life to urge us into activity. Just think of the AI-powered search engines (like Microsoft’s Bing) that do nothing until they are prompted with a question from a human being.
AI cannot do anything until it is prompted. It must be given it a purpose by asking it questions, like, what is the capital of Oregon, or, what is the best carrot cake recipe, or, how do I defend myself against AI-controlled attack drones?
The AI creators will claim they can program the AI to become “self-prompting.” But they’re really just moving the goal post. “Self-prompting” (or auto-prompting) AI sill requires a human to supply an ultimate goal. Then the AI is programmed to figure out how to set intermediate goals to get to that final goal. One way or another, the AI creators will have to give their creation a purpose.
Our Purpose and Means to Achieve It
A large part of what makes us human is that we have a purpose (or a telos, in classical philosophy). The Baltimore Catechism affirms that we are created to know, love, and serve God in this life so that we can achieve our ultimate purpose (our telos), which is to spend eternity in Heaven glorifying God.
Not only that, but we have a means to achieve our purpose. The way that we get to Heaven is by God’s grace; sanctifying grace that washes away our original sin, and actual grace that washes away the actual sins we commit. We participate with that grace by loving God and neighbor, living a sacramental life, growing in virtue, and conquering vice.
If AI creators want to build a truly conscious AI, they will have to figure out how to endow it with a purpose and a means to achieve it. I think we can safely assume they will take a pass on the Christian model, not that God would ensoul a computer anyway. What, then, will they do?
AI’s Purpose and Means to Achieve It
Secular humanists say the Christian concept of telos is born of superstitious mumbo jumbo. In broad strokes, they claim that homo-sapiens received purpose from evolution. Our ancient ancestors had a survival instinct and so they figured out how to hunt and gather food. They soon realized hunting and gathering was easier if they worked as a community. Then they figured out that it was even better if they raised and cultivated their food. Soon after that, they invented game shows.
The point being the secular crowd who are doing most of the AI development don’t believe we humans have any grand, supernatural purpose. According to them, the things that motivate us are nothing more than what has been programmed into our brain by evolution, society, and our environment. Following that logic, if we’re nothing more than the programming of our brain, then they can find a way to instill similar programming into their AI.
But that won’t cut it. The first question to be asked is what (or Who) instilled in us a survival instinct in the first place? Most psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists realize that survival-instinct alone does not explain human motivation and activity.
What About Drive?
Humans, unlike other species, are never satisfied. This calls to mind Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – once we get one need satisfied, we move on to the next. We’re not like a dog that chases a squirrel, eats some food, and is happy. The dog doesn’t sit up at night pondering whether it is living up to its potential.
At some level, secular humanists sense that there is something different about humans. They sense that we’re more than just really advanced tree frogs. We have deeper desires that drive us. But they will never allow themselves to admit that deeper desire has anything to do with God.
This is why you hear slogans like “the journey is the destination.” That way our telos becomes nothing more than seeking happiness in the present moment. Carpe diem! Do what feels good!
What About the Means?
The Christian understands that the means to achieving our telos is to cooperate with God’s grace. This is what brings about living a moral life, aligned with the Natural Law.
Once again, the AI creators must seek a secular alternative and so they chatter endlessly about “ethical frameworks.” But their frameworks are built around such things as DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity) and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) – all of which are little more than buzzwords to advance the globalist transhumanist ideology that bundles together all the toxic “isms” – Marxism, relativism, scientism, radical environmentalism, transgenderism, and so on.
These so-called ethical frameworks will only lead to an increasingly erratic and unpredictable AI, because they are inherently contradictory. For example, our woke universities (producing hordes of future AI programmers and trainers) proclaim diversity and inclusivity as cardinal virtues, yet they are notoriously non-diverse and un-inclusive. That same cognitive dissonance will find its way into the AI they create, just as our Creator’s Natural Law is written on our hearts.
Out Pops God, Once Again
The experiment to create self-prompting AI will go the way of all technological undertakings – it will hit a wall (actually, it will run up against the Alpha and Omega). To wit:
- The Big Bang revealed the reality of a Creator.
- Fine tuning of the universe points to the Tuner.
- Biogenesis (the origin of life) points to Life itself.
- Consciousness speaks to Uncreated Wisdom.
- Even a simple pinecone, with woody scales patterned according to the Golden Ratio, reveals a Divine artist.
The deeper science delves in any field, any field, the more it reveals great mysteries explained only by God. I know the secularists will claim that all the above can be explained without God – but the longer they argue it, the further away they get from having even the faintest whisper of what that alternative explanation might be. This isn’t the “God of the gaps.” This is science utterly failing to answer any of the big questions of life and the universe.
And so it will go with AI.
Just the Tip of the “Not Human” Iceberg
There will be several other ways AI will reveal human consciousness is much more than just our physical brains and cannot be reproduced by silicon chips and computer programs.
So-called Generative AI (AI that creates “new” artwork and music) while powerful, will never create genuinely new art – it will always require authentic human inspiration (comes from inspirare – to breathe into).
In a related way, AI will disprove purely Darwinian theories of human creativity. These are attempts to pass off genuine human inspiration as nothing more than the generation of new ideas by blind variation followed by the “selection of the fittest.” This might explain much of what you’ll find on Tiktok, but it will never produce Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” let alone John’s Gospel.
But it all starts with the myth of self-prompting AI. AI will always need something greater than itself, something outside of it, to give it purpose and a means of achieving that purpose.
That might be the only way in which AI truly resembles humanity.