Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence


An article my friend Mary posted on her blog a few weeks ago, my review of Alpha Redemption, plus beta-reading a fellow author's manuscript, and I've got artificial intelligence on the brain (pun intended). ;) Here are a few of my (albeit slightly scattered) thoughts.

The biggest questions in my mind since reading Alpha Redemption are, could artificial intelligence come to believe in God? And, once that being believed in God, could it have a personal relationship with God and gain a soul?

I think that any being capable of thought and reason could decide to believe in God. In Alpha Redemption, Jay does it in his own way--he reads, researches, and finally concludes that it is quite reasonable to believe in God.

What I'm not sure about is whether or not Jay could have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and. As for gaining a soul, I think only God-created creatures could have a soul. But a personal relationship? My gut says probably not, though I'm still reasoning it out. That doesn't mean that I'm going to run from books that portray that. Such fiction often raises interesting questions and I enjoy the chance to ponder them. After all, isn't that what my favorite genre is all about--speculation?

Another question is one that Mary raised in her blog post. Can AI machines develop emotions?

As I pointed out on that comment thread, as long as it doesn't turn into an evolution thing, I think it's fine. In Star Trek, an AI named Data eventually gets an emotion chip that makes him about as emotional as a girl going through puberty. It's hysterical! And I think it's perfectly fine, if not exactly plausible (I mean, really, how in the world would anyone get emotions on a computer chip?) because he was built with the capabiltiy of developing emotions. The same for Jay in Alpha Redemption.

Where it gets problematic for me (though again, it still wouldn't make me run from a story) is when the AI evolves into something it wasn't programmed for--like Sonny from I, Robot, who developed emotions without aid from his programming.

So there you have it--disjointed and not-so-deep thoughts on AI. What do you think about the questions I raised?

2 responses:

Mary Ruth Pursselley said...

There's definitely a lot to think about when it comes to this topic. I think it will probably end up being for Christian sci-fi writers what magic is for Christian fantasy writers: a never-ending source of tough questions and blurry lines.

H. A. Titus said...

I think you're right Mary. It's going to boil down to what feels comfortable to a specific writer/reader.

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