Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryReligion

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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 ›

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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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A Mind Matters Review: Travelers Portrays AI As A Benevolent God

AI can even heal miraculously, but there is a price to be paid…

Season 3 seems like a good time to weigh in on the show’s overall audience appeal, level of materialist dogmatism, and vision of the future of AI.

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The Idol with Feet of Silicon

Religions based on artificial intelligence (AI) cannot transcend the limits of computers

Those proclaiming that exclusive truth lives totally in naturalism are constrained to a sadly narrow view of the world. Some naturalists have put their faith in AI and have founded the AI Church. They may think they are doing something new and cutting edge, but as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun (1:9).

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Tales of an Invented God

The most important characteristic of an AI cult is that its gods (Godbots?) will be created by the AI developers and not the other way around

A book on the new pop science religion might well be titled “Tales of the Invented God.” Its author would likely be challenged to keep up with all the non-events breathlessly documented. After all, the technocrats who invent their future gods can change, re-envision, replace, upgrade, eliminate them at any time.

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AI as an Emergent Religion

Science philosopher Mike Keas’s new book discusses how AI and ET are merging, to create a religion of futurist magic

Many Singulatarians hold that their soon-to-be-realized technology will be indistinguishable by the rest of us from magic.   Are they serious? Well, in 2005, Kurzweil said that the magical Harry Potter stories “are not unreasonable visions of our world as it will exist only a few decades from now.” when, due to AI, “the entire universe will become saturated with our intelligence.”  Keas warns that this type of thing encourages people “to expect the experiential equivalent of occult phenomena.”

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Facial Recognition Aids Persecution of Chinese Christians, Muslims

Western companies still seek business ties with an increasingly authoritarian regime

The crackdown on religion is said to stem from Xi Jinping, who became President in 2012. After he got term limits removed in March 2018, some have begun to privately call him “Emperor Xi.”

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