July 29th - Monday

As reported previously, the topics for Sundays over the summer are the choice of the congregation.  Today we thought about Artificial Intelligence and Super-intelligence.  The person who suggested it was invited to introduce the topic, there was a little discussion and then the topic was linked into faith.  

I’d mind-mapped out, roughly, a who, what, were, why / purpose and when and added in headings of ‘Playing God’ and ‘Biblical responses’.  

Starting with why / purpose we thought about some of the good and of the bad applications of AI - eg was use of technology and AI in diagnosing someone in need of rehydration and getting the correct balance of chemicals and medication into them, and another example of good was how a phone app allows people to record locally where flooding is happening and the information being fed to a flood management centre.  Both those could easily be used for bad - eg the medical example could be dependant on affordability and create social division.

The Bible application was varied - Genesis tells the story of how ancient peoples understood the advent of the knowledge of good and bad - however that understanding came about, it is God given and humanity does understand good and bad - we have responsibility that goes with the knowledge and can choose to use AI for our own benefit or for individual benefit of the wider community.  In the New Testament the emphasis is firmly on attitudes and values; how do these inform the AI generated decision making process (define decision!).

Elon Musk was mentioned and his new project to use tiny electrodes placed in (at the moment monkey’s) brains to generate text messages!  Mind control!

The most interesting point to come out of the talk was the vital importance of discussion around the ethicals of Artificial Intelligence and how that will develop.  It’s not binary ie black and white!

There was so much we didn’t talk about - bio-hacking; stewardship of resources; self-driving cars; social impact of AI; how we are made in God’s image and, as such, created to be creative; the Matrix, War Games, 2001 and Hal, Terminator, Futurama and the talking heads …. 

How do we follow that!   Well, one of the children would like to talk about ‘Bread and Wine’.  The child is already working on their introduction.

Do come along to Acharacle Parish Church at 11am on Sunday 4th.