Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Christianity?


theatlantic |  While most theologians aren’t paying it much attention, some technologists are convinced that artificial intelligence is on an inevitable path toward autonomy. How far away this may be depends on whom you ask, but the trajectory raises some fundamental questions for Christianity—as well as religion broadly conceived, though for this article I’m going to stick to the faith tradition I know best. In fact, AI may be the greatest threat to Christian theology since Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

For decades, artificial intelligence has been advancing at breakneck speed. Today, computers can fly planes, interpret X-rays, and sift through forensic evidence; algorithms can paint masterpiece artworks and compose symphonies in the style of Bach. Google is developing “artificial moral reasoning” so that its driverless cars can make decisions about potential accidents.

“AI is already here, it’s real, it’s quickening,” says Kevin Kelly, a co-founder of Wired magazine and the author of The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. “I think the formula for the next 10,000 start-ups is to take something that already exists and add AI to it.”