Artificial intelligence used to belong to the realm of science fiction but is now already changing the way we shop, work and live. Should we embrace this or be concerned with the growing influence of AI technologies? We ponder the future of humanity and where technology could take us.
Our guest: Professor John Lennox: John is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and is an internationally renowned author and speaker on the interface of science, philosophy and religion, including his latest book, 2084 which explores artificial intelligence and the future of humanity.
Check out the website for John's book new book 2084
This podcast episode will be available on our Monday night Facebook Premiere.
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Bigger Questions asked in the conversation
So John, since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic you appear to have been doing a lot of online interviews. So do you have any idea of how many you’ve done?
Do you get tired of doing interviews?
Perhaps you need a robot to answer all the questions to save you having to do the interviews? Robo John?
Do you think such a robot could be invented, that could help answer some of the questions you get concerning the bigger questions of life?
What is AI?
It would take quite an intelligence to do that - but I suppose the likelihood of that is the subject of your latest book, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. So John, what made you interested in Artificial intelligence?
What exactly is Artificial Intelligence - for there are a variety of understandings of the term?
Presently what we call Artificial Intelligence is programmed by another intelligent being, humans. So then to what extent can AI really be called ‘artificial’ intelligence? Isn’t AI really just a derivative of human intelligence?
So do you think it’s even theoretically possible to create true artificial intelligence?
What of the future?
But are there problems with big data, and one of the obvious ones as you outline in your book is the threat of surveillance and control - much like the novel 1984 - hence perhaps the title of your book - 2084. So is it inevitable that big data will lead to Big Brother?
But how could God be better? In the Old Testament part of the Bible in Psalm 139 we learn about how God watches all things and knows all things about humans and the Psalmist writes in verse 7:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
The Psalmist then writes about how wherever he goes, God is there. Isn’t this the same issue as the constant surveillance of Big Brother driven by big data - so how is the God of the Bible different?
The future according to the Bible
In the Bible there is a passage in 2 Timothy, one of the letters the Apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy, which speaks to some of the big questions raised by Artificial intelligence and the future of humanity. In 2 Timothy 1: 9-10 Paul speaks about the grace of God and says,
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
So how does this passage speak to the future of humanity?
Would the offer available here be threatened if humans did discover eternal life through Artificial intelligence?
The Big Question
So John, how will artificial Intelligence affect the future of humanity?