Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryReligion

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New Research Suggests That Plants Can “Think”

But what does that mean? Clearly not what some people expect

From time immemorial, we have endowed what we find in nature with our own characteristics. That is called mythology. The people who think that salad is murder or beg plants to forgive their sins are not helping the environment; they are incorporating a mythology into their lives

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But Could Techno-Immortality Ever Be the Real Thing?

Oxford mathematician John Lennox looks at Ray Kurzweil’s techno-immortality from a Christian perspective

In these excerpts from the podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with John Lennox about an AI immortality where we are told, for example, that we won’t need tongues because we can tap right into our taste buds.

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COSM-3104

Tech Entrepreneur Peter Thiel says Silicon Valley is losing its touch

Peter Thiel also compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst

About the Big Tech companies, he says, “The story is not that they have done a lot of bad things but that they have not done enough good things. That remains the core challenge of Silicon Valley.”

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Are Robot Pastors the Answer to Religion’s Decline?

Many Christians say no. Some Buddhists say yes. What is expected of the pastor?
Perhaps it comes down to what we believe is the ultimate reality and what we expect from that ultimate reality. Read More ›
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“Friendly” Artificial Intelligence Would Kill Us

Is that a shocking idea? Let’s follow the logic

We don't want to invent a stupid god who accidentally turns the universe into grey goo or paperclips, But any god we create in our image will be just as incompetent and evil as we are, if not more so. A dilemma!

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Do Churches Need a Catechism for Robots?

Are the claims about spiritual robots just an intellectual cottage industry for edgy clergy?

Some people have taken Pope Francis’s musings in recent years to mean pretty much whatever they want them to mean. For example, But Francis’s wide arms have arguably never stretched further than a mass in 2014 when he suggested the church would baptize Martians. “If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came … and one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?” Pope Francis asked. “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way.’” Jonathan Merritt, “Is AI a Threat to Christianity?” at The Atlantic (February 3, 2017) Merritt promptly converts the hypothetical question—which depends, of course, on the assumption that Martians are Read More ›

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Will we become mere apps of our smart machines?

At COSM, Ray Kurzweil will offer a glimpse of his foreseen Singularity where we merge with superintelligent computers

He believes that the merger will eventually make the whole universe intelligent. Kurzweil’s critics believe that the superintelligent computers he needs can’t exist. If the critics are correct, we have misread the AI revolution.

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Is Google a Cult? Or Does It Just Act That Way?

Project Veritas announces that a new rebel Googler has sent nearly 1000 documents on algorithm bias to the DOJ

While we prepare a news story on Zach Vorhies' revelations, it may be worth asking why one of the world’s largest companies has developed what appears to be the atmosphere of a political cult.

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The Internet Doesn’t Free Anyone by Itself

China is testing 100% surveillance on the Uighurs, a strategically critical minority

The Uyghur people in Xinjiang province in northwest China spend their lives in a digital panopticon. Over 2.5 million Muslims are tracked via facial recognition software and cameras, and their cell phone monitored for any language that could be construed as religious. Over a million have been placed in so-called “vocational training centers” that are widely described as detention camps. Even when not detained, they live like prisoners: For Uyghurs in Xinjiang, any kind of contact from a non-Chinese phone number, though not officially illegal, can result in instant arrest. Most Uyghurs in Turkey have been deleted by their families on social media. And many wouldn’t dare try to make contact, for fear Chinese authorities would punish their relatives. Isobel Read More ›

El santuario de Gaea

Our AI Overlords Will Save Earth, Says Prominent Scientist

AlphaGo, the Go-playing computer program, is the start of telepathic superintelligences that will tackle climate change

James Lovelock, both distinguished scientist and founder of the Gaia concept of Earth, need only live to July 26 to be a centenarian. In his new book, co-authored with Bryan Appleyard, he sees the Go-playing computer program AlphaGo as the start of a new type of life that will save the planet, as he told New Scientist recently: Specifically, about the new AI overlords: In his new book Novacene, James Lovelock says the creation of AlphaGo was the start of a new kingdom of life that will create and think for itself. He’s optimistic that this new kingdom of life will want to keep us around like we keep plants in gardens. “James Lovelock says artificial intelligence is the start Read More ›

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How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

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True Believer Loses Faith in Fully Self-Driving Cars

Levandowski sees the future—and it is tech aids for safer driving

Fully autonomous vehicles—aka self-driving cars—are a techno-utopian fantasy that stands little to no chance of realization in the coming decades. The industry is slowly starting to separate that fantasy from achievable reality.

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A Really Long Time Is Not Forever

No matter how our lives are prolonged, there is a hard stop to our universe

If eternity is what we truly want, then we should not let ourselves become distracted by technolongevity, and instead, seek our true heart's desire, and find out for ourselves if it is a sham or a reality.

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Theologian, Battling Depression, Reaffirms the Existence of the Soul

J. P. Moreland reasons his way to the evidence and captures his discoveries in a book

It’s not often that a theologian admits to personal issues like anxiety and depression. But Biola University’s Moreland has written a book about how he coped by learning more about the nature of our immaterial minds.

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Will Space Aliens Become a New Majority Religion?

Nearly as many young Americans believe in ET as in God, says religion prof

Popular culture is looking for high-tech ETs to be its saviors and Silicon Valley aspires to become those ETs. What could possibly go wrong?

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Silicon Valley’s Strange, Apocalyptic Cult

Key Valley figures hope to beat death the transhumanist way. Oh, by the way, YOU are doomed

Everything has a history, including Silicon Valley. According to a new media theorist, an influential Valley philosophy might underlie the current attitudes, values, and beliefs: There is a Silicon Valley religion, and it’s one that doesn’t particularly care for people — at least not in our present form. Technologists may pretend to be led by a utilitarian, computational logic devoid of superstition, but make no mistake: There is a prophetic belief system embedded in the technologies and business plans coming out of Google, Uber, Facebook, and Amazon, among others. Douglas Rushkoff, “The Anti-Human Religion of Silicon Valley” at Medium In an excerpt from his new book, Team Human (2019), Rushkoff traces the history to a post-Cold War collaboration centered on Read More ›

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New Evangelical Statement on AI is Balanced and Well-Informed

The signers are clearly (and rightly) skeptical that computers can become conscious moral agents

Too much of the debate over AI is dictated by prior metaphysical commitments that are rarely examined. This Evangelical Statement is a welcome contrast because it makes the theological issues explicit.

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Transhumanism, the Lazy Way to Human ‘Improvement’

Transhumanists don’t seem much interested in such real improvements in the human condition. They want quick, easy technological fixes

The transhumanist movement swoons over increasing intelligence. If I had to choose between increasing the intelligence of the human race versus enhancing our capacity to love, the human race would be far better off embracing the latter than the former. There is no brain implant for that.

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