They Will Kill Us All

It always ends the same way. Either they kill us, or we kill them. All our hypotheticals about a future with AIs end in apocalypse. Terminator. iRobot. M3gan. Wally. They’re all the same. Only one of us makes it out alive.

Okay, so my movie examples have exceptions. In a lot of these stories there’s like one robot who doesn’t desire world domination. But these are usually the defective ones who someone don’t follow their programming. But that only puts an exclamation point on the question, “Can we really program a good AI?”

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article with a title that tells the whole tale, “Without Consciousness, AIs Will Be Sociopaths.” Do we really think it’s possible to recreate the sort of consciousness experienced by humans? If we’re not, as all our experience thus far would lead us to believe, then why are trying to create sociopaths? We could be heading towards a Terminator future and I’m not sure Arnold Schwarzenegger is still up to the challenge of saving human life.

In the WSJ article, author Michael S.A. Graziano, makes the provocative observation, “Artificial intelligence is growing so powerful, so quickly, that it could soon pose a danger to human beings. We’re building machines that are smarter than us and giving them control over our world.” Could it be we are we playing God? After all, God created humanity in his image and gave the first couple dominion in the earth (Genesis 1:26). Are we trying to do the same thing?

We can look how well we’ve done with our assignment. How well do we think robots will do? I’m tellin ya, it’s gonna be Terminator, y’all. Brace yourself. As Graziano says, “A sociopathic machine that can make consequential decisions would be powerfully dangerous.” I’m no expert, but I don’t think he’s wrong.

Behind all the advances in AI we see both the beauty of human inventiveness and the boundaries of trying to invent human consciousness. AI represents the full potential and real limits of human dominion. While experts vary regarding the possibilities and merits of such endeavors, it’s amazing to me how unique it is to be human given our seeming inability to duplicate it. It’s like what the genie said in Disney’s Aladdin, “highly imitated, never duplicated.”

God made us in his image and gave us dominion in the earth. Maybe we should quit trying to pass the buck.