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A Physicist Weighs In on “A.I. Jesus” Sputtering from the Bible

Rob Sheldon explains why the prophecies sound bizarre rather than merely mundane

Last Sunday we reported on the computer program that inventor George Davila Durendal, hoped (or so he said) would—for millennia—be a sort of Scripture for robots and people. The program constructs “prophecies” from the text of the King James Version, a translation of the Bible into English completed in 1611, which has remained influential for centuries.

Will the A.I. Jesus version do so well? Not if you go by prophecies like this: “And he shall come against him, and said, As the LORD liveth, that he might be fulfilled which was spoken, he said, Thou are the spirit of your good works that ye have not seen, nor any thing of the service thereof, and a certain censer, and the sin offering, and the posts thereof were displeased with the dead of her father’s house.”

Examining such output from the program, physicist Rob Sheldon, who studies ancient languages, comments,

If this is the best AI can do in 2020, you do not need to fear the Omega Point in your generation! Clearly the AI separates the text into “chunks”, classifies them, and then constructs statistics of what chunks follow others. When constructing its “new” statement, it randomly picks a chunk, then draws on its “chunk” bank, based on the probabilities for chunks.

Now mind you, this works amazingly well for the Google neural net algorithm for transcribing speech into text, as long as there isn’t any “long-range” interactions. But this poor AI genius picked the Elizabethan English with its classic “long sentences” for his base. Then of course, we have St Paul with his one-page sentences. So the long-range correlations are enormous, but this AI approach completely fails to notice them. As a consequence, the sentence rambles on for the requisite number of “chunks”, but by the third chunk, it has lost track of what the first chunk was about. That’s why it babbles like an Elizabethan syphilis victim.

Not quite in the league of divine inspiration then.


You may also enjoy:

A.I. Jesus sputters from the King James Bible. The developer emphasizes that the program is a purely human creation. Possibly tongue-in-cheek, Durendal thinks his creation is the right sort of religion for humans and robots over the next few millennia.

Does AI challenge Biblical archeology? Many surviving documents are so damaged that they cannot be read using traditional methods. AI decipherment methods were able to identify a hopelessly charred scroll as the oldest surviving example of a portion of the Book of Leviticus.

and

Are robot pastors the answer to religion’s decline? Many Christians say no. Some Buddhists say yes. What is expected of the pastor?


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A Physicist Weighs In on “A.I. Jesus” Sputtering from the Bible