Billionaire and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has a lofty and utopian design for all of mankind. The engineer inventor believes that humans need to merge with machines to become cyborgs. And if they don’t, according to Musk, humans will likely become irrelevant. They will succumb to the age of artificial intelligence as AI becomes more prominent.
Speaking at the World Government Summit yesterday, Musk stated, “Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.” My first problem with Musk’s sentiment is that he was speaking to ‘world government’ advocates. Secondly, Musk defines his vision of human relevance as “useless’ in the age of artificial intelligence.
Musk is not alone in his theory that man will necessarily have to succumb to the Singularity. Billionaire Ray Kurzweil also anticipates computers to be more intelligent than humans in the next few decades. Our minds, bodies, and civilization will be irreversibly transformed. Mankind will no longer be recognized as present day humanity.
Kurzweil is conservative with his estimate of the year 2045 which he alleges will be the end of human civilization as we know it. In reality, he suggests that the time frame for such an accomplishment is more likely themed to late 2020s. At this point the artificial intelligence revolution will create AI which is a billion times greater than the sum of all human intelligence which exists today.
Artificial intelligence is growing at an exponentially and amazing rate. Experts in AI predict that many people alive today will be functionally immortal. Old age and death will be concepts of another time as we transfer our minds to computers and robots.
The term “Singularity” is a point in space-time inside a black hole where the ordinary rules of physics don’t apply. Singularity is an idea that an ultraintelligent machine will be the last invention that man ever makes. No doubt, it is exciting. But it is also the end of human civilization.
We have reached that point in man’s development where we can take that next step which will strip us of our natural and spiritual selves and propel us into a world of science fiction. But the problem is that it will not be fiction. It will be our reality.
The most prodigious and miraculous discoveries of mankind are at our fingertips. Preventing all disease, reversing the aging process, and changing the mortal feature of man to the immortal future of man would be a wonderment. To never have to grieve for a loved one, to never experience unhappiness, to never feel that which we don’t want to feel, be it pain or a love lost; at first consideration appears to be a dream come true. Could it be we have mastered perfection?
No one can deny that modern technology is truly a gift from God in that He has allowed us to conquer so many of the obstacles which are life-changing. But will we take that gift only to throw God under the bus? Will we use the knowledge and skills that God bestowed upon us to change His plans for us, thus making Him an insignificant and ancient myth? Where does man draw the line between technological advancement and nihilism?
Regardless of the super speed which AI can exponentially accelerate progress, can we electronically duplicate our soul? Can the human conscious be scanned into a computer? And what about the biochemical development of the brain? I would wager that it is doubtful that a machine can replicate the complexity of an organic brain.
The marvels of science and the universe are awe-inspiring indeed. But the wondrous advancements of technology do not erase the horrors which come with this technological progress. Due to the flawed nature of man, it would be safe to allege that man is not ethically capable of safeguarding humanity while righteously blending artificial intelligence with organic intelligence.
The changes that men such Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil see for the world in Singularity, transhumanism, and artificial intelligence, may have many positive aspects, but for all of the good that may accompany the merger of man and machine in terms of health and longevity, we lose our souls, thus losing our faith in God.
Singularity by definition would necessarily negate a belief in the one true God and the afterlife. Why would a Christian want to remain on this earth for eternity if he or she believes in a heavenly reward?
Is the ultimate machine programmed to accommodate a spirit with feelings and a unique character? Do we want sameness or uniqueness? Do we want to be individuals or cyborgs, half man and half machine?
Cheating death may be enticing. But living forever may be a hell we did not anticipate. Because if we trick death, we will lose our humanity.
Elon Musk is warning that we merge with machines or become forever irrelevant. I’ll keep my humanity, thank you very much. I will choose to remain irrelevant.