Will Hi-Tech Machines Create Heaven on Earth?

It’s not easy to make accurate predictions about the future of technology. One of the world’s most famous prognostic fumbles regarding technology was an internal Western Union memothat stated, “The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” An engineer once said that “there will never be a bigger plane built” about the Boeing 247, which carried a whopping ten people. And Oxford Professor Erasmus Wilson projected that “when the Paris Exhibition [in 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.”

What’s fun, too, is seeing how the science fiction of yesteryear wrongly predicted what their future—our present—would be like. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) envisioned a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019 that had, besides flying cars, robots so humanlike that it was almost impossible to distinguish them from real humans. And Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) predicted manned flight to Jupiter, with some astronauts in suspended animation while the ship was being run by an onboard computer, HAL 9000, who rebels against his human creators.


An Immortal Dictator?

However wrong science fiction’s predictions of the future have been, there’s no denying just how incredible technology has become. Today we take for granted tech products that would have seemed like science fiction or even magic 25 years ago. Who back then could imagine that, if you heard music playing in public, you could pull out a handheld device, hold it up to the sound, and in just a few seconds be told by artificial intelligence (AI) the name of the music?

The question that worries some, however, is How far will this technology go? What some people are particularly worried about is AI. Could we one day create computers, like HAL 9000, who, having minds of their own, rebel against us?

Technology guru Elon Musk—whose company develops, among other futuristic advances, self-driving cars—has sounded the alarm, calling AI humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” even “more dangerous than nukes.” Musk has cited Google’s DeepMind program as an example of the development of superintelligent AI that he sees as a threat. In 2016, AlphaGo, also developed by Google, beat champion Lee Se-dol at the board game Go. This event was hailed as a major AI advancement.

Musk’s fears, however, go deeper than board games. Suppose we create a superintelligence that turns against us—and is one that we can’t stop? “At least when there’s an evil dictator,” Musk warned, “that human is going to die. But for an AI, there will be no death—it would live forever. And then you would have an immortal dictator from which we could never escape.”


Technofascism

While those pursuing AI technology downplay the dangers, others do see reasons for concern. Among other luminaries sounding the alarm are Bill Gates and the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking. 

How many people will lose their jobs to robots? In Las Vegas, Uber is already using self-driving cars. Or as AI advances, and things like facial recognition, data collecting, and online surveillance get more efficient, how much easier for technofascist states to repress their citizens?

But at a deeper level, suppose AI technology, advancing at an incredible rate, ended up creating superintelligent machines, much faster and much smarter than we are? Could they have minds of their own? If so, what kind of thoughts would they have? Moral? Immoral? Amoral—which is not thinking about morality at all?

It’s bad enough to envision humans with their fingers on a nuclear button. At least they would know what pushing it would mean for themselves and their families. But what if a cold, emotionless machine was asked to control the button instead?


Free Will and Jesus

Though AI, like all technology, can be used for good or evil, some think such fears are greatly exaggerated. There is a vast divide between what a machine could ever do and what humans—flesh-and-blood, living creatures made in the image of God can do (Genesis 1:27). Indeed, the human brain is still the most sophisticated technology ever discovered in the universe. Despite all the advancements, computers can no more think than rocks can.

God created humanity with free will, a necessity if one is to ever be able to genuinely love God and others. In stark contrast, no hint of genuine will exists in a machine. No machine could ever have free will because it’s a machine that’s been programmed what to think. Humans are a different order of creation, designed to be free moral agents. Computers will never be anything but the creations of created beings; humans, in contrast, are the creations of the Creator Himself.

It is precisely because God did not want to create us as mere calculating machines, but as free people who could love, that He created us. Indeed, so sacred, so fundamental, was the concept of freedom, the freedom inherent in love, that Jesus Christ went to the cross for us rather than deny us freedom, the freedom that we needed in order to enjoy the happiness that can be found only in love. 

Visit here to learn more about the cross and why Jesus died for us. 

Richard Young
Richard Young is a writer for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
Comments

When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.

If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.